How to keep your business moving in the face of organizational change and uncertainty
Whether it’s a Government shutdown, company re-structuring or consolidation through M&A, change can have a negative impact on your organization if the accompanying periods of uncertainty and downtime are not properly managed.
In business development, an environment filled with uncertainty can create a breeding ground for lost talent, new business and even a company’s core work – recompetes. Employees haunted by the thought of layoffs, loss of productivity due to unknown budget allocations and operational stand stills resulting from a lack of direction are just a few examples of how change can have an adverse effect on your business if not addressed.
Here are a few guidelines and tips to consider when managing change within Business Development:
Understand the past
It takes both time and money to prepare a proposal, which is why every bid – win or loss – deserves a thorough post-award analysis and lessons learned to carry forward.
To ensure maximum utility of B&P dollars spent, it is important to understand the who, what, when, where, why and how behind every award. A comprehensive look at the past will help build this story.
1. Prepare win/loss analysis for every competitive bid awarded over past three years
- Collect and document:
- Contract details (type, primary NAICS and major elements of cost)
- Basis of award (from Section M of the RFP to the customer award debrief)
- Customer (from the highest level of budget authority down to the end user)
- Competitors (from pre-submission assumptions to post-award knowns)
- Technical (non-cost) scores vs awardee
- Bid price vs award price
- Proposal strengths and weaknesses identified on customer award debrief
- Was the actual award outcome consistent with Section M of RFP?
- Did the customer award to the lowest price offer, highest technical rated offer or both – lowest price and highest technical offer?
- Did we win/lose on price, technical or both?
- How accurate was our pre-submission assessment of the competitive landscape? Did we model the competitors accurately? How competitive was our bid price?
Keep moving at present
Regardless of the circumstances, business development should never reach a dormant state. There is always work to be done.
To ensure maximum utility of future B&P spending, it is important to ensure that lessons learned from the past do not become lost in translation as an organization undergoes change. Understanding your past will help you thrive at present.
2. Complete deep dive assessment on past wins/losses
- Collect and document:
- All prior solicitation packages
- Technical and pricing requirements
- For losses, reverse price engineer average bid rates
- For wins, compare bid vs current FTE, personnel qualifications and salary
- For new business, can we compete against prior average bid rates?
- For recompetes, to what extent have we deviated from our prior bid? Does the customer intend to adopt this deviation on recompete solicitation?
Prepare for the future
In business development, your opportunity pipeline is your lifeline. While some aspects may become hazy in times of change, there should never be complete lack of certainty with regards to what opportunities your organization will pursue.
Protecting your core work is critical and recompete efforts should be considered automatic to your pipeline and preparation should never cease to exist.
Use present momentum to refine and shape your pipeline around opportunities with the highest pwin.
3. Solidify new business opportunity pipeline using past and present takeaways
- Use win/loss analysis to identify key customers, competitors, contract types and basis of award that proved most/least successful on past bids
- Use deep dive assessments to determine if position has improved or worsened since the last bid to determine classification on pipeline
While there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the specific actions an organization can take to effectively manage change, there is one overarching guideline that applies to all – keep moving.
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
– George Orwell, 1984