A strong business development process focuses on quality of outputs, not procedure
When organisations decide they need to formalise their business development process they usually start with governance – that is, the approvals framework they use to make decisions about what they bid for, how they price it and how they manage the risks of any submitted proposal.
Once the governance framework is in place, the organisation can rapidly see that it needs other processes to generate the information on which the leadership team bases its decisions – the same information required to create a winning offer and proposal document:
• what is the prospect trying to achieve?
• do they believe we can help them achieve it?
• how much are they prepared to pay?
• can we offer a great solution for that price?
• who are our competitors, and what does the customer think of them?
• what will it cost us to bid for this opportunity?
The point of defining the business development process is to identify when this information is required to inform both rational internal decision making and proactive positioning with the customer, and how to gather and validate it. Those are the steps. But with the steps agreed, a successful organisation will rapidly shift focus away from procedures and onto quality of outputs. If the information being provided to decision makers is inadequate, biased or “box-ticking”, they will not be empowered to make the right decisions, and the proposal team will not be empowered to win the business.
Article by Amanda Reid-Young, Senior Consultant and Director