Three major problems with business development

Many of our clients shared with us their frustration with their current state of business development (BD). They either weren’t growing fast enough because they weren’t bidding on enough projects that were in their sweet spot, or they had wasted money going after poorly qualified opportunities that they had no chance of winning. All of these were symptoms of a broken BD process. To add an insult to an injury, majority of them had a bad experience with their business development service provider (either an employee or a consultant). It happened because of three main reasons:

  1. Most business developers get their jobs purely on the merit of their relationships – where the word “relationships” is akin to magic. The truth is that relationships are not enough. Federal Business Development is a profession that requires serious training (consider taking our upcoming workshop “Foundations of Federal Business Development” at https://ostglobalsolutions.com/event/foundation-of-federal-business-development-2/ to learn the ins and outs of the profession). Most business developers lack professional training and experience in business development, capture, and proposal management. As a result, it may take up to a year to find out, the hard way, that they don’t know what they are doing, when results are few and far between, and the company has risked its money and business future on this one business developer.
  2. Business developers tout their relationships to get hired, but the truth is that many of those relationships go stale within 2-3 years if not actively cultivated. Also, many of these relationships are not that strong to begin with. In reality, it takes a special kind of person to maintain ongoing relationships with current leaders: they have to have previously held a high position, be currently active (and successful) in the business arena, be the kind of a congenial person that people want to spend time with, and be someone who routinely does favors for people so that they are compelled to do the same in return. These individuals are few and far between, and if one is lucky to land a rainmaker of this caliber, they will cost upwards of $250,000 a year and incentives (even if they want to work for you full time, which many do not).
  3. With few exceptions, most companies don’t have a way to measure the effectiveness of the Business Developers’ work. At every check in, one is told that “Business Development is a long-term investment and one can’t expect to see results right away.” Although that is somewhat true, and one may see some results (a few meetings with potential customers and one or two opportunities that may surface), most companies don’t have a realistic way of measuring how effective their BD person is. Successful BD includes extensive metrics, documentation, and research results that will allow you more control and visibility into this vital part of the business.

The Foundations of Federal Business Development course will help develop professional skills important for business development success. You will gain understanding of the basics of Federal Business Development (BD) lifecycle, and learn how to navigate the U.S. Government market place, perform strategic BD planning, market analysis, federal marketing, pipeline development, opportunity qualification, and metrics to maximize your Pwin.

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