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Setting Up Your Business Development Organization for Success. Presenters: Olessia Smotrova-Taylor, CF.APMP, Fellow David Huff Paul Johnson Challenges in Creating Business Development Success. Standing Up a BD Organization.

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Setting Up Your Business Development Organization for Success

Presenters: Olessia Smotrova-Taylor, CF.APMP, Fellow

David Huff

Paul Johnson

challenges in creating business development success
Challenges in Creating Business Development Success

Standing Up a BD Organization

Optimizing an Existing BD Organization

All the pieces there, but they don’t work together efficiently or effectively

Low number of bids or low win rates

No proposal optimization tools such as a library of reusable materials or collaboration portal

Difficulty transitioning from subbing to priming

Poorly qualified bids

Inefficient use of resources

Lack of cross-training; single points of failure


Low-quality or recycled proposals

Not using MACs to full extent or at all

String of poor BD hires

  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of bandwidth because most personnel are billable
  • Lack of know-how in pipeline development, capture, and proposal writing
  • Lack of strategic direction
  • Not having the right processes and tools implemented
  • Substandard marketing collateral
  • String of poor BD hires
  • Only leveraging handful of staff for BD instead of the whole company
  • Lack of knowledge of the right sequence of steps to grow your BD organization
steps to business development success
Steps to Business Development Success

Set Up the Company to Do Business with the Government

Conduct Strategic Business Development Planning Session

Perform Market Research

Begin Business Development Process




Stand up Your Marketing Campaign to the Feds & Partners

End Business Development Process

Enough Info to Make Decisions?





Perform Business Development During Project Execution

Build the Opportunities Pipeline

Check for Strategic Fit



Prepare Proposal

Conduct Capture

Qualify Each Individual Opportunity




identify target agencies
Identify Target Agencies
  • Check on (free) or other intelligence sources what is being procured in your area of expertise and who buys it
  • Study agency websites: links
    • Agency mission (check for fit)
    • Spending forecasts
  • Research on and to see what the agency has procured using your NAICS or search terms, and who are the top companies winning – or –
  • Narrow down the list of agencies and research (agency websites, GovWin IQ Agency Profiles, BGovSpending -> Agencies) to understand what the agency spends on and via what contract vehicles
how to identify the buyers
How to Identify the Buyers
  • Identify and attend Vendor Outreach events
  • Visit OSDBU ( provides a listing of the contacts) and ask for key contacts for specific contracts in your area of expertise or an agency org chart
    • You need at least Contracting Officer AND the Program Manager
  • Start identifying specific buyers’ contact information: BGov (Calendar & Directories -> Agency Contacts); GovSearchCaroll Publishing directory and org charts, GovWin IQ org charts (not as detailed)
what collateral you need for effective business development
What Collateral You Need For Effective Business Development
  • Corporate profile
    • D&B and NAICS info
    • Your core areas of expertise
    • A slide on growth and stability
    • Mission, vision, and value statement
    • Commendations and awards
  • Your company’s differentiator – what makes you different
  • People
    • Organizational structure
    • Workforce skills, education, and certifications
    • Clearances
    • Employee retention program and statistics (if they look good)
  • Infrastructure
    • Program management processes (PMI PMBOK practices)
    • Quality program (ISO, CMMI, other – even if you are earning them)
    • Recruitment engine and your ability to scale up
    • Risk management
    • Contract vehicles
    • Facilities
    • Partners
    • Enterprise systems and tools
  • Capabilities
    • Diverse customer base snapshot
    • Details on major lines of business, including examples of experience (use very specific buzz words for that area of expertise)
    • Strong financial foundation slide (credit, D&B paydex score and risk level)
  • Summary statement
  • Your contact information

What to include in the Capabilities Statement

  • Website
  • One-page capability statement
  • Expanded capability statement (PowerPoint)
  • Case studies and white papers
capability statement before and after
Capability Statement Before and After

Updated clear value proposition

Original slide with a confusing message

explosive growth starts with quality pipeline
Explosive Growth Starts with Quality Pipeline

No matter whether in an Excel spreadsheet or a custom CRM tool, the pipeline has to be updated weekly with quality opportunities custom-fit for your company

  • Pipelines are the engine of business growth
  • Lack of a pipeline equals sluggish performance and high risk of extinction
  • But Too Many Companies…
  • Operate in a reactive mode
  • Get opportunities on FBO, pay occasional customer visits, and pray for a BD Fairy
goals of business development and capture
Goals of Business Development and Capture

One of the many modules from the Foundations of Federal Business Development Course

  • Identify opportunities and customers
  • Avoid competition altogether by adding scope to an existing vehicle, or getting a sole source award
  • Reduce competitor pool by:
    • Type of competition - 8(a)
    • Invoking NAICS small business size limits
    • Driving an opportunity to a specific MAC vehicle or Federal Supply Schedule
  • Get the customer EXCITED, looking forward to receive your proposal and award the contract to you
  • Make EVERY preparation step serve the purpose of writing a highly compelling proposal



use an integrated multifaceted approach
Use an Integrated, Multifaceted Approach

ABB = Always Be Bidding!

  • Use more than 2-3 methods to find early opportunities
  • Leverage “rolodex gurus” in conjunction with a trained Business Developer
  • If you are not bidding monthly on at least two projects that are perfect for you, you are not growing fast enough
  • Commit to a “blitz” campaign to build or revamp your pipeline
technique 1 research in an online database
Technique 1 – Research in an Online Database

Use a combination of databases and dedicated researcher time instead of only passive automatic keyword searches

  • Learn about opportunities from online sources and databases
  • Do it early to leave time for Capture
    • GovWin IQ
    • Bloomberg Government
    • Onvia
    • ePipeline
    • Govini
    • Small Business Set Aside Alert
    • FedBizOpps*
  • Each database is known for different things

*FBO is good only if you catch it early and combine it with other methods

technique 2 register where your customers post opportunities
Technique 2 – Register Where Your Customers Post Opportunities

Examine Federal Acquisition Jumpstation to find out about your prospective customers:

  • Register with Customer Procurement Websites
  • Many agencies lag posting on FBO
    • Example: Army Single Face to Industry (ASFI)
  • Some never post on FBO
    • Example: NSA – ARC
  • Sandia National Laboratories
technique 3 get face time with the customer
Technique 3 – Get Face Time with the Customer

The “legwork” part of business development simply has to take place in order for you to be successful; but research comes first for it to be meaningful

  • Pay regular visits to the customer
  • Build a trusted advisor relationship
  • Leverage the relationship to find out:
    • Problem areas
    • Hot buttons
    • True care-abouts
  • Shape requirements
  • Vet your solutions
technique 4 leverage your workforce and partners
Technique 4 – Leverage Your Workforce and Partners
  • Train your workforce to become your sales force
  • Establish a procedure to notify BD when an opportunity emerges
    • Onsite personnel notifies BD organization
    • BD meets customer together with technical personnel to discuss problem and solution
    • BD identifies a contract with similar tasks where the scope could be added
    • A contract is modified to add scope and funding
    • An unsolicited proposal may be submitted
    • An 8(a) sole source procedure is initiated

Helpful Resource: OST’s course – Business Development for Project Personnel

technique 5 get sole source awards
Technique 5 – Get Sole Source Awards
  • Sole Source eliminates time consuming process of RFP development, waiting for contractor responses, evaluating all submissions; it also mitigates potential protests

Minimum J&A requirements for contracts over $20 million:

(1) A description of the needs of the agency concerned for the matters covered by the contract

(2) A specification of the statutory provision providing the exception from the requirement to use competitive procedures in entering into the contract (see 19.805-1)

(3) A determination that the use of a sole-source contract is in the best interest of the agency concerned

(4) A determination that the anticipated cost of the contract will be fair and reasonable

(5) Such other matters as the head of the agency concerned shall specify for purposes of this section

  • Sole source award up to $4 Million in Services
    • Up to $6.5 Million in Manufacturing
  • Super 8(a)s
    • An 8(a) Alaskan Native firm, an 8(a) tribally-owned Native American firm, or an 8(a) firm owned by a Native Hawaiian Organization
    • Unlimited contract value, no protests allowed [13 CFR 124.506(b)]
    • Written J&A required for awards over $20 Million by the Section 811 of the fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act; must be approved by an appropriate official and made public after award
    • Some agencies require J&A for anything over $4 Million (incorrectly)
    • Don’t have to justify your uniqueness, but have to document why sole source
8 a sole source process
8(a) Sole Source Process

1. The Government ID’s requirements, decides to sole source, develops a SOW, prepares a government estimate, and obtains funding

BDer helps develop the SOW and provide inputs (LOE, time frame, requirements) to develop an estimate

BDer helps prepare package with requirements description, estimated period of performance, applicable NAICS code, anticipated dollar value, etc. IAW FAR19.804-2 “Agency Offering”

2. The Government program manager or interested party chooses your 8(a) business to perform the work and submits a procurement request to the agency contracting officer

3. The agency contracting officer prepares and submits an “Offer Letter” to your designated SBA Business Development Specialist

4. SBA processes the Offer Letter and returns it to the agency contracting officer who submits the SOW and RFP or RFQ to your company

Your company submits the proposal (tech and cost) or quote (cost only below SAT)

5. Negotiate and plan the project scope with your company

The entire process takes less than 2 weeks

Contract Award

technique 6 create opportunities
Technique 6 – Create Opportunities
  • This is the longest-lead technique for the pipeline creation – but it makes it easier to win the game if you had created the rules
  • Find out who has discretional funding (hard in current economic reality and requires high-level contacts)
  • Present solutions to customer’s problems
  • Write white papers about innovative and unique products or services
  • Write unsolicited proposals
  • Leverage congressional earmarks when they are allowed again
  • Beware of creating opportunities for competitors
technique 7 target a hunting prime
Technique 7 – Target a Hunting Prime
  • Effectively, this is pipeline creation for potential primes where you conduct competitive analysis, bring up an opportunity, and create a pitch to get on the team
  • Find a prime that’s going after a contract you couldn’t prime yet but could execute some part of
  • Create a value proposition to them:
    • Showcase your customer relationship
    • Show why you want to team with them
    • Advertise what you could bring to the table
      • Your 8(a) status and associated abilities
      • Ability to write proposals well or pay for proposal development
      • A quid-pro-quo
  • Negotiate an iron-clad teaming agreement
technique 8 find a hurting prime
Technique 8 – Find a Hurting Prime
  • Numerous companies get in trouble by bidding the rates they cannot support, and fail to retain staff; you could save the day with your lower rates and better recruiting abilities
  • Find a prime within the agency that’s performing a large services contract and is advertising for positions
  • Determine pain points
    • Review FOIA’ed contract (check GovWin IQ) for performance metrics for staffing personnel
    • Are they at 80% when they should be at a 95%?
    • Did they under-bid salaries?
  • Place your FTEs on their workforce
  • Expand your footprint in the agency and build relationships with the customer
technique 9 maintain pipeline subsections for multiple award contracts
Technique 9 – Maintain Pipeline Subsections for Multiple Award Contracts
  • More than 25% of all contracting dollars (and growing) are awarded under MACs; they deserve their own systematic pipeline treatment
  • Each IDIQ should have its own pipeline
  • Create a Task Order Manual for each IDIQ, including the rules of who will be able to ID opportunities and how, and vehicle’s patterns
  • Establish separate business development procedures for each vehicle
  • Set up your GSA schedule search procedures (who checks the eBuy?)

Helpful Resource: OST’s IDIQ Task Order Manual Template

technique 10 register with large primes
Technique 10 – Register with Large Primes
  • Although by itself a registration is not enough, you should take care of the mechanism to engage you, and then focus on business-to-business marketing
  • If you are a small business:
    • Register with large government primes in their website procurement sections
    • Follow up with the procurement person
    • Get BD personnel names from FBO or GovWin IQ and schedule appointments
    • Actively pursue being added to the team on opportunities that they chase
    • Don’t forget to create value proposition
  • If you are a large business:
    • Find out if you have this website section – and if not, add
    • Actively build relationships with small businesses
technique 11 attract customers and partners
Technique 11 – Attract Customers and Partners

Get passive marketing working for you and make yourself easy to find so that partners and customers bring opportunities to you

  • 95% of all adults with Internet check the web first when they need a solution, while most websites are impossible to find
  • Post collateral, perform SEO
  • Drive government, partner, and talent traffic through social networks and blogs
  • Make sure your data accurately reflects who you are
  • Update your D&B information
  • Update your data with GovWinIQ
  • Write RFI responses even if only able to sub
  • Join professional associations
technique 12 network
Technique 12 – Network
  • Attend trade shows and schedule a number of appointments with customers and partners
    • Good source:
    • Search Small Business Events and Vendor Collaboration buttons on FBO
  • Attend networking breakfasts, roundtables, conferences, and other formal and informal events and social clubs with target customers
    • Check what events your customer attends and follow them
  • AFCEA, Chambers of Commerce, SECAF, ACT-IAC, APMP, NCMA, NDIA, the Coalition for Government Procurement, military organizations, and others are good to join
  • Secret is to target specific attendees and follow up relentlessly
  • Participate in LinkedIn Groups
smart growth approaches
Smart Growth Approaches
  • Train operations personnel in business development
  • Staff BD organization at 75 % of throughput to avoid resource waste
  • Cross-train your personnel in pipeline development, capture, proposal management, and writing
    • People can still specialize but they become better in their field of focus
    • Burn-out is reduced
    • Fewer single points of failure
  • Invest in obtaining capital for growth
business development knowledge management
Business Development Knowledge Management

Networking, Lead Generation, & Opportunity Identification

  • Networking, Lead Generation & Opportunity Identification
  • Marketing & Advertising Strategy Development & Implementation
  • Coordinating and Formalizing Business Intelligence
  • Proposal Development
  • Meeting Facilitations


  • Federal, Tribal, State & Municipal contracting & procurement officials
  • Key Business-To-Business events, trade shows, conferences, & events
  • Membership to key organizations which promote & facilitate business with 8(a), HUBZone and DBE companies
  • Key subcontractors, vendors, project owners and industry participants
  • Key political, economic and business leaders.
  • Local presence where Federal contract dollars are spent.
networking lead generation opportunity identification
Networking, Lead Generation & Opportunity Identification

Lead generation & opportunity identification is important to take it from the “meet & greet” to actual tangible opportunities and ultimately a contract:

How it is currently done:

  • Searches are performed on project boards (business intelligence websites) to scan for work utilizing NAICS codes.
  • Identification of key organizations and events which should be met or attended.
  • Face-to-Face discussions, follow-ups and maintaining contacts to track opportunities.
  • Scope is limited to limitation of personnel and focus of current companies represented
  • Only attending one event at a time – can be “hit or miss”.
key knowledge management components for business development
Key Knowledge Management Components for Business Development

Contact Management:

  • Customer Resource Management (CRM)
  • Contact Capture (Card Scanning)

Business Intelligence:

  • Dynamic Search Engines – subscription services
  • B2G/B2B Conferences & Networking

Capture Management

  • Pipeline Management
  • Collaborative Workspaces

Collateral Management Systems

  • Statement of Qualifications (SOQ)/Line cards
  • Proposals and previous responses
  • Resumes (individual & corporate)
keys to a successful contact management system crm program
Keys to a Successful Contact Management System (CRM) Program


  • Is your CRM compatible with your e-mail client?
  • Do you have a central repository of corporate contacts?
  • Is there a written policy regarding contact retention?
  • Pros/Cons of not providing company e-mails/cell phones
  • Does your IT staff have a clear understanding of your intended use, output and the basic compatibilities of the program?

Popular Commercial Options

  • Salesforce
  • SugarCRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics
keys to a successful contact management system crm program1
Keys to a Successful Contact Management System (CRM) Program

Contact Capture

  • Is your CRM compatible with your card scanning application?
  • Does your card scanning application allow you to make notes?
  • Does your card scanning application allow you to connect with your e-mail client?
  • Does your card scanning application allow you to connect social media applications such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter?
  • Does your card scanning application have an “enterprise” offering?

Popular Commercial Options

  • CardMunch
  • PowerContacts - ScanBizCard
  • Neat
keys to a successful business intelligence bi program
Keys to a Successful Business Intelligence (BI) Program

Strategic Capabilities

  • Can research buying habits of your or see agency forecasts?
  • Can you identify the contract vehicles utilized by buyers?
  • Does it have micro & macro research capabilities?
  • Does it provide the necessary level of detail to develop an effective pipeline management program within your organization?
  • Does it allow for key contact export and is that format compatible with your CRM?
  • Does it allow for dynamic updates to key contacts, opportunity and award statuses?
  • Build in a method and approach to tie in B2G/B2B conference & networking contacts.

Popular Commercial Options

  • GovWinIQ
  • EZGovOpps
  • BidSpeed
keys to a successful capture management program
Keys to a Successful Capture Management Program

Strategic Capabilities

  • Does your capture management strategy balance risk/reward and reflect your corporate risk tolerance?
  • Have you identified your “Go/No-Go” strategies?
  • Are you too reliant upon a single capture management approach or do you blend both human intelligence with business intelligence from subscriptions services?
  • Have you identified a corporate strategy towards balancing your marketing strategies?
  • Have you put your organization in the strongest and strategically advantageous position?
  • Do you have a “lessons learned “ methodology and approach for evaluating both wins and losses?
  • Does your system allow for collaborative workspaces in a corporate intranet space?

Popular Commercial Options

  • GovWinIQ
  • EZGovOpps
  • Domo
keys to a successful collateral management system
Keys to a Successful Collateral Management System

Strategic Capabilities

  • Is your collateral management system dynamic? Does it allow search ability?
  • Does your collateral management system have version control?
  • Does your collateral management system allow for collaboration?
  • Is your collateral readily available?
  • Do you have an internal process to create buyer specific collateral?
  • What do you consider collateral? (SOQs, proposals, resumes, graphics, etc.)
  • Is your collateral management system compatible with your capture management , business intelligence and contact management systems?

Popular Commercial Options (mobile portability)

  • Knowledge Tree
  • Box
  • DropBox
networking lead generation opportunity identification1
Networking, Lead Generation & Opportunity Identification

What a Knowledge Management System will do:

  • Expand the scope of identifying key organizations and events which should be met or attended and provide enough man-power to effectively track each event.
  • Enhance Face-to-Face discussions by knowing your customer, follow-ups and maintaining contacts to track opportunities – incorporate current
  • Properly record, track and sort “leads vs. opportunities” and build in a effective “lessons learned” method and approach.
  • Broaden the scope for all federal and tribal contracting opportunities and knowwhere the federal and tribal dollars are being spent.
coordinating and formalizing business intelligence
Coordinating and Formalizing Business Intelligence

Companies typically pay considerable membership fees for business intelligence tools, but most don’t know how to get the full benefits of the system. In addition, there are several sources (which are free) which provide additional information on “What is out there and what is coming up?” but lack forecasting ability, as well as contact and collateral management capabilities.

What a Knowledge Management System will do:

  • A coordinated effort to effectively track all opportunities and develop “Opportunity Lists” and hold bi-weekly or monthly Go/No-Go meetings
  • Develop a system to effectively document, organize/sort and direct key contacts, opportunities, and establish effective “follow-up” procedures.
  • Develop a running “Key Contact List” of all business contacts/opportunities for all subsidiaries and not rely to heavily upon “personal relationships” of individuals.
  • Utilize a CRM toolto allow you track ROI and build a contact database.
contact information
Contact Information

Thank you for attending!

Olessia Smotrova-Taylor, CF.APMP, Fellow

President & CEO, OST Global Solutions, Inc.

Office 301.384.3350

Cell 240.246.5305

Paul Johnson


Highliner Consulting Group, LLC

Office:  206.388.2300 Ext. 501

Cell:  907.440.7285

David Huff

BD and Operations Manager, OST Global Solutions, Inc.

Office 301.384.3350

Cell 513.216.0993