Bill Scheessele


Are you ready for the bitter truth about BD today?

Unfortunately, it’s true. If you are a business development professional or in a BD Leadership role, your world is analogous to a three-ring circus. Your reality is a world of constant churn and change, but you’re still expected to deliver revenue growth.

The challenges you deal with internally on a daily basis, involve major and minor issues, external uncertainty and change -- be they with differing acquisition strategies (LPTA) or customer personnel. When you look at what’s happened in the White House over the past 6 months, you either empathize or sympathize. The world of the government contracting BD professional was never easy, but it’s now become more difficult from election cycle to election cycle.

BD professionals who have lived through this for several decades and have seen it before can step back and smile. If you’re relatively new in full time BD or charged with it as a partial responsibility, it’s almost impossible to be effective and efficient under these circumstances. Government folks come and go, and it’s difficult to identify what you can count on and build on with any predictability.

You quickly realize that the only predictability is unpredictability.

On a daily basis, it’s tough to stay focused and be effective. And it’s certainly not the best time to put your company through an internal reorganization. This situation can be even worse if your organization is conducting a turnaround, and this is being led by someone who isn’t an experienced turnaround leader.

In 38 years of coaching and mentoring professionals in this environment, there are several early symptoms that one needs to recognize to get out in front of the current situation.

External Symptoms indicating revenue growth problems:

  • Poor intel, or no intel gathered early in the opportunity identification and qualification phase
  • Lack of consistent client engagement; typically, only done on a reactive basis
  • Lack of consistent follow up with prospects and customers
  • Frequent turnover of key client contacts
  • Delays or unpredicted changes in the procurement process
  • Predictions, assumptions and ascribing intent or probability on opportunities for business

Internal Symptoms indicating revenue growth problems:

  • Inability to proactively produce capture plans, account plans, intel plans, and call plans
  • Lack of resources dedicated to Business Development and BD organization
  • New sources of distraction taking time away from BD activities
  • Leadership providing inconsistent messages or direction to personnel
  • Constant realignment of account management responsibility
  • Lack of robust institutional internal and external BD processes
  • An impending company sale fostering uncertainty and anxiety within an organization
  • Internal restructuring causing chaos and confusion
  • Lingering questions about your specific division being spun off or being sold.

Given the reality of this situation and even with the existence of some of these symptoms pertaining to everyone in their world, there are positive steps you can take.

First, top flight, experienced business development leadership is critical. Leadership know-how from past experiences doesn’t necessarily translate to leadership for the present and future situations.

Every symptom is indicative of a systemic problem. Recognizing early symptoms, determining root cause, identifying what you can or can’t control, and assessing the problem in light of resources and opportunities you have available are all critical to BD leadership. Finally, ensuring you’re providing clear objectives and plans to solve the problem is a fundamental leadership responsibility.

In addition to this recommendation, if you suffer from any of the above symptoms and need additional insight, access this short survey and contact us for a confidential consultation.

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.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above.

WT Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.