#2 Process Improvement Lesson Learned for BD - Research, Intel Gathering, and Relationship Building
(2) Recognize that consistently successful BD requires a combination of research, intelligence gathering, and relationship building.
For a small business, making the proper investment in BD staff, tools, and B&P resources to support Federal Government BD is the #1 hardest lesson to learn. Each business should designate or hire either a full-time or part-time BD Lead to apply a combination of research and interpersonal skills to identify opportunities.
That BD Lead should have a broad professional network so that he or she can leverage existing relationships and identify opportunities through networking. While having this network is critical, the BD Lead should know how to do his or her homework when engaging that network to identify and qualify opportunities. Being armed with the background information on a customer or an opportunity is essential to an effective engagement. Information on the customer environment (mission, vision, forecasts, budgets, key opportunity stakeholders, etc.) and opportunities of interest (contract history, acquisition strategy, incumbent performance, etc.) can be obtained through a variety of research tools.
To support research, a subscription to a bid search tool is essential – whether you utilize no-cost free State and Local Government offices to provide this service or purchase your own tool – this information is critical to getting forecasts of Requests for Proposals, or RFPs, that the Government is releasing for bid. Typically, a fully functional bid search tool, while requiring an investment for the annual cost of a subscription, is invaluable at providing a “one stop shop” for all of the required customer and opportunity information needed to obtain background on targeted markets and opportunities. However, there are other no-cost tools such as FPDS or Internet search engines that can be used to perform this research.
Identifying opportunities to bid on Federal Government contracts is a combination of performing research AND leveraging existing relationships to help you build new relationships. While networking and relationships are key, applying these interpersonal skills is not enough. A ‘Complete BD Lead’ puts the time in to do his or her homework and perform the required research to engage smartly with potential customers or teaming partners when identifying and qualifying opportunities to bid.