Much has been made over the years of the importance of formal processes and methods in software development. Less attention has been focused on the importance of a formal approach to business development. That’s ironic because for most companies there is no need to do the first without succeeding at the second.
Yet many companies in the federal marketplace find themselves lacking a mature much less masterful approach in this important area. Perhaps they have won a contract or two and simply lost focus on winning contracts three, four and five. Perhaps they viewed the investment of time, people and other resources in creating a formalized approach to business development a wasteful or unnecessary overhead. Perhaps they like to operate on gut instinct and too much caffeine.
Whatever the reason, govcons and govtechs who strive to build enterprise equity and a richer upside realize these goals can only be achieved through growth. Growth means winning business on a consistent basis. And win rate consistency takes a disciplined process, formal methods and real accountability.
Growth oriented firms may also realize that from scouting federal agency directions to attending post award reviews, there is a business development lifecycle. Performing well in every phase of that lifecycle is a management imperative—and, if anywhere lacking, it is a regime that must be learned. In fact, the savviest and most aggressive govcons and govtechs will see that best of breed business development processes and methods can be practiced by any firm willing to do so, regardless of size, status or past history.
The business development lifecycle begins with company baselining and valuation and continues to include pipeline development and optimization, bid and proposal best practices, building high performance sales teams, teaming best practices, and merger and acquisition strategies.
Achieving rigor and operational discipline in each of these areas helps assure that:
- A company’s strengths are leveraged and weaknesses addressed;
- The government customer’s goals and objectives in letting a particular contract are well understood–well ahead of time;
- Business development pipelines come out of dusty bookshelf binders and become a dynamic tool for allocating resources appropriately and assuring business growth and continuity well into the future;
- When opportunities do meet strenuous internal review, proposals in response are well priced and that solutions addressing government requirements are both compelling and clearly communicated;
- Companies don’t chase suboptimal opportunities like blue birds, wasting precious B&P resources in the process.
We created ACEL360 to help companies in the federal marketplace who are ready to achieve dramatic growth and a far brighter upside to do so. Working with experts from market leader Wolf Den and other sources, we will work with companies across the technology spectrum to become far more agile and adept practitioners of the business development lifecycle.
Our cohort participants enter with doubts and concerns about future growth; they will walk away from the ACEL360 program knowing how to effectively manage sales teams, build more focused pipelines, create better, harder hitting proposals, create strategic partnering plans and relationships, recruit high value technical talent, and assess value added acquisition opportunities. In short, they will exit with far greater confidence in their future success—and we are confident that their results will prove it.
In this space, we will continue to talk about the business development lifecycle, including the themes it raises directly (like capture, bid and proposal, and re-competing) as well as issues and trends that shape its directions. We think this is a conversation that any govcon or govtech firm interested in raising its game will wish to join. So welcome. And let us hear from you.