Company employees should report a potential lead to their Project Lead (PL) or Program/Project Managers (PM), in particular, within existing client organizations (cross-sell).
Company executives and BD are responsible for identifying new leads in new agencies. For the purpose of this discussion, the term Opportunity Lead (OL) is used to describe the individual responsible for the initial identification and qualification of opportunities regardless of their organizational affiliation. The Market Research Analyst, BD staff and Project Leads should support lead identification by regularly monitoring the company’s research tool (e.g.., FEDMINE), SAM/FEDBIZOPPS, agency forecasts, other market research databases and assigned agency web sites for new opportunities.
The Step 1 review is an informational briefing presented by the OL. The purpose of this review is to inform management that the opportunity is on the radar screen and that the OL (and the corresponding next level manager) believes it would be a good fit for the company.
New leads can be categorized by the designations presented in the following table based on strategic significance and potential contribution to company revenue.
The following table presents an example of a company’s BD process compliance requirements.
Note: GM = General Manager (or Business Unit Executive)
While category C leads do not need to go through all of the detailed step reviews described in a company’s process, they do need to be tracked in the lead tracking system (LTS). It is the responsibility of each OL and CM to communicate and coordinate BD status updates and activities with other impacted business units and corporate support groups.
Here is an example of a LTS in spreadsheet form:
Lead Tracking Spreadsheet (Excel spreadsheet)
The OL is responsible for entering an opportunity into the LTS. For each opportunity, a filled out Lead Pursuit Matrix (see following table) should be attached to the opportunity listing in the LTS by the OL. At a Step 1 Review, this matrix is used to support the decision whether to commit resources to qualifying the opportunity.
The time and money so many government contractors and sales professionals waste qualifying and chasing new business opportunities could, with a little honest introspection, be eliminated. Companies should employ a pursuit decision-making process – a simple matrix comprised of a set of key questions that, if not answered in the affirmative, result in the decision not to continue. The use of such a decision tool also tends to objectify decisions — taking unnecessary emotions out of the equation.
Here is an example of a typical set of pursuit decision questions from one small government contractor’s matrix:
- Is a significant part of this work consistent with one of our four core competencies?
- Will we be perceived as a credible prime contractor? Or, if a sub, will a prime need our competencies or experience with this client to win?
- Is it in a target location and/or with a target client?
- If there is a major incumbent, are they vulnerable and are we (our team) potentially strong/big enough to unseat them?
- Is there a reasonable chance of it being a funded project?
- If a very small task (<$##), is it of strategic importance (also see #1 above)? Could it result in more substantial business?
- Is there enough time to adequately market the client prior to an RFP being released?
Opportunity Pursuit Decision Matrix (Word document)
The vehicle for presenting the Step 1 review for a Cat. A or B opportunity is a free-flow PowerPoint presentation that leads discussion on the actual opportunity. The BDC then makes a Step 1 decision whether to expend resources to qualify the opportunity or not after carefully considering the questions in the Lead Pursuit Matrix.
It is important to consider the probability of winning the bid both for the purpose of maintaining a balanced bid portfolio and understanding the risks associated with bidding a specific opportunity. General win probability % company guidelines are used to assign a win probability. It is important to estimate conservative win probabilities so new business revenue projections are not inflated.
Approved opportunities are assigned to an OL for qualification.
– M. Lisagor