by Sid Jaffe, SJ&A
We are frequently told by clients that their firms have not been successful in finding experienced Business Developers who will have an immediate impact on the business. “Immediate impact” seems to mean bringing in new business to cover themselves within six months of starting with the company.
Experienced people in government contracting realize that the new business acquisition cycle is longer than six months and a Business Developer starting with a minimal “pipeline” will not show significant results for more than a year. A company needs to decide what they want the BD resources focused on and prepare to fund the effort required to obtain the results. At the same time, management needs to have a BD Plan of Action for the new BDer that establishes an agreed-upon a set of tactics and, more specifically, a list of people and positions to access for establishing, building and maintaining value-based business relationships.
New business, especially for major programs, are multi-year efforts that begins with obtaining access to the right persons. Business Developers worth their salt are good at getting that access. Initial access is a beginning. Nurturing the relationship, educating the customer, and molding the procurement to align with your firms capabilities, solutions and services mix requires time and effort. It won’t happen in six or nine months; plan on more than a year.
As new business efforts move forward, work on your task order marketing and expand existing contracts and opportunities (we call this “Nibbling”). Task order marketing is business development using your project managers, task managers and senior staff. Contribution to revenue and margin should be a part of every manager’s performance review and compensation. Companies need to have excellent BD resources as a corporate resource and use programmatic staff on the team at the customer site for both long- and short-term results.
For more information on organizing, training and measuring the effectiveness of your BD plan and team, contact Sid Jaffe at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 703-855-3160.