Organizations with effective business development processes gain the following benefits:
• Reduced costs and risks of capturing business
• Increased productivity and staff morale
• Improved sales forecasting
• Increased management visibility and control
• More competitive solutions and proposals
The most successful organizations in any market or selling environment innovate and improve framework processes based upon fundamental principles. Less effective organizations follow tightly defined processes, but limited understanding of the fundamental principles reduces their flexibility to adapt to market and customer shifts. The least effective organizations lack consistent processes and fail to understand fundamental principles.
Help senior managers design a single, flexible, and scalable business development process based on industry best practices.
Organizations with a single business development process eliminate confusion about which process applies. If you have multiple processes, individuals will repeatedly rationalize why the more disciplined process does not apply to a given opportunity. Business development managers that permit ad hoc processes and rely on heroes for success are consistently less successful.
A flexible process can be adapted to different types of selling environments, markets, opportunities, and customer requirements.
A scalable process can be adapted to differing sizes of opportunities, schedules, resources, and budgets.
As with our Proposal Guide and Capture Guide, these guidelines are based upon fundamental principles of our consulting practice:
• Align your process to the customer’s process.
• Use a disciplined business development process that emphasizes planning.
• Schedule to the process and maintain schedule discipline.
• Base your strategy and tactics on the customer’s perspective.
• Maintain customer focus through every step.
• Use Decision Gate reviews to prompt senior management to decide whether to advance the opportunity to the next phase or end the pursuit.
• Use Color Team reviews to improve the quality of the business development work product, whether an account plan, pursuit plan, capture plan, strategy, solution, or proposal.
Help individuals understand the business development process.
Whether highly experienced or new to business development, individuals must use common vocabularies and definitions to work effectively and efficiently as a team. Likewise, winning complex, competitive opportunities requires a cohesive, coordinated business development team working with a common understanding of the work
process, individual roles, and required tasks.
This Business Development Lifecycle Guide is designed to help individuals on your marketing, capture, and proposal teams reach a common understanding of business development process best practices and terms. These fundamental best practices are readily applicable and adaptable when selling to governments and businesses in
domestic, international, and export markets; when selling services and products; and in situations requiring security clearances.
Individuals often use common terms with different implicit meanings. Common terms are defined to support cohesive, effective business development teams.
Record best practices in a clear, linear order.
At Shipley Associates, we have observed, studied, and recommended business development best practices since 1972. We endeavor to follow these principles in our consulting practice, teach them in our training practice, apply them in our business development process re-engineering practice, and share them in our series of Guides.
This Business Development Lifecycle Guide describes a business development process comprising 96 steps divided into seven phases. We urge business development professionals to adapt, scale, and tailor this 96-step process to the types and sizes of business opportunities encountered by their organizations.