CPM© -The COMPETITIVE EDGE

Pipeline development, management, care and feeding is one of the most talked-about and misunderstood subjects in our industry. However misunderstood it might be, it’s the critical underpinning of any successful business development effort.

Although sales organizations use the same terminology, it’s important to understand that business development in the Federal services marketspace is NOT sales. Their numbers are legion, those commercial firms (especially consulting companies) who approach the Federal services marketspace believing that they can make make sales calls and sell services. In fact, they couldn’t be more wrong. The development of a new business pipeline is a specialty that requires significant effort to get it right.

So, How Do We Do It?

The crux of the process is backwards planning. Nothing fancy, no rocket science, and fancy calculators can be left in the briefcase. It’s all about determining where you want to be at the end of the year, and knowing two critical facts: First, what are the industry averages for win rates and step downs (and be careful, they’ve changed a lot lately) and second, what are YOUR firm’s averages. Put that data together, plug it into the chart, and the scale of the effort becomes immediately apparent.
So if it’s that easy, why can’t everyone do it? In our opinion, there are three critical factors that cause small and mid-tier firms to struggle in this process. The most important ? Commitment – the process of taking the first steps and staying the course for the full time required. It’s difficult to determine the full time, but there are indicators we can share with you, along with the other two critical factors.