It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. –Mark Twain
Determining if there is actually a business opportunity for our company is the first step in business development (BD). The government competes thousands of procurements each day, and not all of them are suitable for our company to bid. Picking those that are a good fit—and turning down those that are not—is one of the most important decisions we can make in winning government contracts.
We can use multiple approaches to identify potential opportunities. Key parameters such as historic buying patterns, projected industry trends and demands, and revenue and market share can help shape our understanding of future opportunities. We can use personal relationships (current and former clients, retired agency personnel); hire marketing consultants; use agency forecasts or research services (e.g., Deltek); and conduct primary research (agency publications and websites, trade journals, Congressional budget review) to help form hypotheses about market trends and future demand.
Regardless of the approach used, we are always looking for an opportunity we can qualify.
The four major elements of qualified business opportunities comprise (1) a client, activity, or program with (2) sufficient funding and (3) intent to purchase a service/product/solution that (4) we are positioned to provide. Careful discrimination drives successful competitive selling. It is essential to pursue opportunities that are in our strike zone—focused on our company’s strengths—and we need to engage early enough in the procurement life cycle so we can shape our client’s thinking and procurement approach to our advantage.
By maintaining awareness of client issues, market conditions, and buying patterns, we can prepare and track a pipeline of targeted opportunities and gather information to determine which opportunities are real, which we’ve identified early enough to shape to our advantage, and which we should begin aligning our resources to pursue.
Lohfeld Consulting Group Team