Federal business development veterans know all too well about the importance of a solid business development process. We’ve endured the countless classes, seminars, Kumbaya sessions heralding the necessity for 100+ steps from the time an opportunity is a twinkling in your eye until you get a confirmation of a win or the agonizing notice of a loss. No matter what you’ve experienced, most people recognize a few simple truths.
- You need an organized process – This to ensure that all of the essential actions to ensure you’ve truly qualified an opportunity. Above all considerations, this helps you on the path to a win.
- You cannot be a slave to an onerous process – When we delve into the depths of process purgatory, are we really being effective to qualify and win? Probably not. Who in their right mind loves filling out slides? The process is supposed to drive better decisions and results. Make these reviews of an opportunity into a conversation, not a presentation. Don’t let the tail wag the dog.
- Use the process to enhance your probability to win – This is not just a process to keep you on track. Are you measuring progress towards a win or at least a smart no bid decision? You have metrics to indicate when projects are performing or not. Why not do the same for business development?
What does a simple business development process look like?
What is the essence of each stage?
Identify – Qualify or disqualify a lead. Resolve basic questions such as:
- Is this lead something that fits your business strategy?
- Can you define the basic technical requirements of the opportunity?
- Do you have even a basic understanding of the customer?
- Is there any evidence of funding for the potential project?
Pursue – You’re in the chase! What basic actions are you taking?
- Better understand the customer’s needs
- Assess your competition
- Verify that you understand the needs
- Create your solution to include teaming strategies
- What risks might occur and how do you mitigate them?
Bid – You’ve got a RFP coming or it is in your possession. What basic actions are you taking?
- Execute a review of the RFP…are there any showstoppers or surprises?
- What unmitigated risks still exist?
- Do you bid or no bid?
- Break down the RFP in order to organize your writing efforts
Submit – The proposal is in, but now what do you need to do?
- Have you captured lessons learned from the entire identify/pursue/bid process?
- What went wrong and what went well during the process?
- What customer notices have come to you to clarify aspects of your proposal?
Yes, this is a very simplified process. Some will read this with a derisive snicker about its brevity. That is fine with us. When we lose sight of the point and we get wrapped up in the minutia, then the process built to make things better is pointless.
Please don’t turn your workforce into Power Point Rangers. Use your business development process to enhance performance. This process should drive smart decisions through dialogue and effective homework.
If you have any questions about this process or you just want to talk a bit about a problem, feel free to contact us to setup a time. Dial 1.301.760.8977. We’re friendly and we don’t judge!
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