Robert Davis


Winning is a team sport. Are you getting everyone to play?

Today's market demands all employees focus on BD, sales

Christian Gronroos said, “In a services business, all employees are salespeople.”  I have often heard executives say that they want all of their employees engaged in helping to grow the business.  How does this result actually happen?

There are employees who work on a project for years seemingly not concerned about how the contract was won.  Their employer has the contract and off to work they go.  One day when the work stops, they expect to be hired by the new prime contractor.  For some of these employees, the thought of helping their employer grow the business is not their responsibility.  I have heard project managers say, “BD is not my job.” Business development or BD people win the work; operations people deliver the work. This view has dominated our business and worked, more or less, for many years… until now.

We are in a bear market.  Winning work is a team sport; everyone must be engaged.

Recently while having breakfast at a local restaurant chain, the waitress mentioned that she had to attend training. I asked her the purpose of the training. She said that it was to review the company’s vision and mission statements, the way the company conducts business and details concerning their menu offerings. In fact, she had to take a test and pass it to make sure that she knew the information.  Only if it was such in our industry!

 How many companies ensure that all of their employees know the company’s vision and mission statements, code of ethics and their range of products and services?

I have never worked in a company where the mystical strategic plan, even in an abridged form without financial information, was shared with employees below the level of vice president. Employees were just expected to know stuff. How do you expect employees to realistically contribute to business growth? Are your employees being properly informed and trained? As a simple example, do they have a ‘wallet card’ that summarizes the company’s offerings and discriminators with them during the day?

Are they rewarded when they bring forward a new lead or timely bid information that is pertinent to the company? Do they even know who to call at headquarters when they encounter information that has value to the company? Are they treated as valued members of the team or as those “project people?”

A friend of mine who is a contractor oversees several key technology projects at the Defense Department, and his management has never asked him about the nature of his work in over five years.

 A company can have a great website, marketing collateral, reputation, thought leadership and more, but has the company mobilized its greatest asset – their employees?

If not, they do not have all cylinders firing!

About the Author

Robert Davis is a 35-year veteran of the government IT marketing and has held positions large and small firms in areas such as marketing and sales, program management, business development and market development. He is an expert in business development, marketing, and management.

Reader Comments

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 Moxie Mougul

Yes, the commenter named Bravura is right. It seems the preponderance of Fed contracting today is no-brain, no-supervision-lo-risk replacement of Fed workers, or, aimless crank-turning. Being "on the team" means bonding effectively w Fed task masters and not making any waves. The contractor's business thinking, objectives, machinations should all be absent from the optics of the scene, almost always in Federal facilities. The author of the column is just inviting really serious ethics violations, as well as riling contractor employees who just want to earn their pay and go home--rather like the govt people they work with and for. Yes, this is the new face of federal contracting, and it is ripe for massive cutting. The worm has turned.

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 Bravura

Your DoD contractor friend. Yeah, the contractor's mgt is dumb for not knowing what the employee works on, but this would only be true for butts-in-seats kinds of work. No particular risk if the contrctor does less than a good job. And the fear is that the clueless contractor mgt, once informed of what its own people do for customers, will try to exploit that knowledge, commit ethics violations, and get into a big mess. So, again, for butts-in-seats work, since all that is happening is body rental and no supervision, it is ok if that employee is not on the team.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013

Great summary of the state of the business we're in. The "That's BD's job: to bring in business" is one of the most ridiculous statements that I have heard. The best sales force is the one that sees the customer every day and listens for customer wishes, hopes, challenges, and needs. And as soon as he/she hears them, says, "We can do that!" Then runs back to the next up the chain to deliver the message.

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