Business as usual isn't an option

Winning strategies | How to build your business development team

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To contact Bill Scheessele, e-mail

Contractors doing business with
the federal government will find
a tough business climate for
organic growth starting in 2009. The
catalyst is not just a change in presidential
administrations. For the first time
in nearly 80 years, there is not an
incumbent president or vice president
running for president with an attendant
legacy of priorities to maintain. No matter
who becomes commander in chief,
there will be a change in spending priorities,
which will cause a proliferation
of projections and predictions about
where the emphasis will be placed.

The growth in the government services
industry is also affecting the business
climate. As a result, competitors
are vying for limited opportunities in
some critical defense areas and fighting
for projected opportunities in the
domestic spending arena.

Average performers will not survive.
Over the years, we have found there's
one approach that can bring about positive
revenue growth regardless of the
business or economic climate. The key
is to shift the organization's culture to
one with an active focus on business
development via three critical components:
planning, people and process.


Planning is the first step in any effort
to meet change head on. Be careful not
to confuse a laundry list of revenue
objectives with well-developed operational
and tactical business development
plans. You must start with a singular,
cohesive and unified business
development planning process tied
directly to the corporate strategic plan
and focused on both organic and
strategic business development to generate


A strong business development culture
fosters an active process that drives
thinking and behavior. That stance is
180 degrees from simply reacting to
requests for proposals. Without a principle-
driven, integrated business development
process that an entire organization
adheres to and uses, a company
might as well set growth objectives for
the stagnation level or worse.

It is also important that the business
development process focus on identifying
and qualifying opportunities that
are linked to a capture process. An
audit or step-by-step review process
will show whether your company identifies
and qualifies opportunities
through intelligence gathering and
then positions them to feed into the
business development, capture and
proposal processes.


Companies must instill sustainable revenue
generation as a bottom-up process
that stimulates growth across the
organization. All employees who interact
with potential or existing clients
must understand that they are also in a
business development role, regardless
of their operational responsibilities.

Companies must institute that ideology
to ensure that the right individuals
are identified and trained in
the thinking and behaviors necessary
to be successful in executing
their roles from a hunting, farming
or capture-management perspective.

Professional education also
instills a common language, process
and culture among business development,
capture, proposal and
operations teams.

Without a business development
plan and clear direction and leadership
about how to execute the plan, the road
ahead will be full of potholes.
An objective understanding of your
organization's current state can help you
spot the challenges, address the shortcomings
and strategically align business
development plans, processes and personnel
to proactively tackle the changes
ahead in the government arena.

Bill Scheessele (
is president and chief executive officer at
MBDi, a business development professional
services firm.

About the Author

Bill Scheessele is the CEO of MBDi, a global business development services firm providing expertise in Business Development best practices in the national security, defense, scientific, energy and engineering industries. The firm offers BD consulting services in addition to education workshops to help BD professionals and teams identify hidden strengths, barriers to progress and opportunities for improvement. Learn more about MBDi, their revenue growth resources and their new virtual training options at or 704.553.0000.

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