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Winning strategies | How to build your business development team

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To contact Bill Scheessele, e-mail bill.scheessele@mbdi.com.

Whether it is the integration of a recent acquisition or
the new economic and political climate, change is
in the wind, and business development (BD) professionals
have to deal with it.

With the coming elections and a new
administration in early 2009, there will be
a realignment of budgets
favoring nondefense
spending regardless of
who wins in November.
Companies are tracking
these changes because
they will feed new
opportunities.

With an acquisition,
the pressure is on to make good on all of
the promised synergies.

With both of these two scenarios, there
can be culture clashes to address. Both circumstances
involve new leaders, objectives,
reports, teams, structures, activities, compensation
concepts and other wrinkles that
affect BD.

But there is a methodology to ensuring
revenue results in the BD game.

Assessment. Evaluate all components of
BD in the corporation to uncover the challenges
and find the problems.

Delivery. Address the BD challenges and
fix the problems at an operational and tactical
level.

This seems simple enough, but there's
more to it. The BD assessment and delivery
methodology is further broken down into
several areas.

THE PLAN

With mergers and acquisitions or repositioning,
a lot of time and effort is
invested in the overall business planning
process. But in the end, it's all about producing
revenue. It's at the strategic and tactical
BD planning level that this is mapped
out, forcing the breakdown of silos, merging
the collective vision and crafting the
corporate BD culture.

PEOPLE: THE MOST IMPORTANT ASSET

Evaluate and determine the BD capabilities
of executives, managers, team leaders
and other key personnel. It's appropriate to
analyze, review and revise BD positions and
job descriptions. Take a hard look at the
current strategic BD leaders and support
teams, and decide on the best operational
group. This analysis may also require augmenting
the team and recruiting new talent.
With the stakes this high, it's not business
as usual.

DEFINE THE PROCESS

With M&A or repositioning, BD planning
without attacking
process realignment
to support the
plan is a recipe for
disaster. During an
analysis, it's not
unusual to find BD
processes that are
unused, unmonitored, unmeasured and, in
some cases, nonexistent. Too often, haphazard
activity is mistaken for process.

When merging organizations or developing
a new team to go after emerging
opportunities, you can also have tensions
involving whose process to use. It makes
sense to start from scratch and invest the
time to design the right, robust process.

DELIVER THE GOODS

It's also important to identify education
needs and develop a corporate BD
curriculum.

The best planning, personnel and process
efforts are not going to make the numbers
by themselves. After a BD process is clearly
designed and developed, the process must
be skillfully integrated and implemented to
fully maximize revenue results, often
involving cross-functional areas within an
organization. Designing and developing a
BD curriculum and delivering it to all BD
stakeholders will maximize the investment
and produce revenue results faster and with
more predictability.

Here are the first five of the 30 ways to
lead your strategic BD leader that were
promised last month. Make it a New Year's
resolution to provide:
    1. A current state assessment of BD in
    the corporation.

    2. A solid strategic and tactical BD plan
    to agree to.

    3. A tight and focused professional BD
    team of hunters, gatherers
    and support
    personnel.

    4. A robust and
    doable BD process
    that the team will use
    and which supports
    the plan.

    5. A BD curriculum delivered to fill in the
    gaps and elevate team thinking and skills.

The question remains: Are you ready?

Bill Scheessele (bill.scheessele@mbdi.com) is
chairman and chief executive officer at MBDi, an
international business development and professional
services firm.

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