Turbocharge BD Part 2

In blog post Turbocharge BD Part 1 I said that your business developers could rapidly become Trusted Advisors — even in government agencies where they know no one — using insight-conveying stories.  I promised to provide an example of one of those stories.  Here it is:

Picture illustrating the idea that there is a hard way and a better way to do business development. The idea is conveyed by one man struggling to push a block and another more easily rolling a ball.

We helped a client company develop this story about their Agile Software Development product / process.  This story helped them start a conversation at a government agency. The insight conveyed here is about the schedule risks you can encounter in agile development, and what to do about them.

Manas was the CTO of an IT company that sold a web-based photo-sharing and photo-printing service.  One Christmas shopping season, he was on the line to deliver enhanced features to enable their product to compete favorably.

He failed.  He had 17 agile development teams struggling to make the deadline. They delivered some, but not all of the features on time.  Sales & Marketing got very sad.  Things looked bad for Manas.  

So Manas’s team figured out that their scheduling was too optimistic.  There was lots of pressure to deliver for Christmas. The team members knew in their guts that the deadline might not be met, but that information did not make it into the schedule.  The schedule provided a fixed-point estimate, and it was wrong.  

They decided they needed scheduling that conveyed the range of possibilities and the uncertainty in the schedule.  

And that’s what they came up with.  The new approach enabled them to tell Sales & Marketing, for example, that they could reliably deliver 20 features by November 1, and that an additional 5 features might be possible in that timeframe, but more certainly by February.

They used this new approach going forward.  With each successive month the schedule became more and more precise, which made planning easier.

So for the following Christmas season, Manas’ team committed to deliver an impressive set of new features, and they fulfilled that commitment.  Sales and Marketing was thrilled.

The company was also very pleased. They made Manas the CEO shortly thereafter.

The method they used is now embedded in a product that enables Agile program leaders to deliver more reliably and keep stakeholders informed about schedule risks.

To enable your business developers to more easily gain the customer understanding needed to win, equip them with insight-conveying stories for engaging customers in deep conversations.  Every GovCon company should develop an Insight Creation Process for creating stories like these because ‒

  • The key to winning government business is to become a Trusted Advisor to government executives.  This gives you access to the understanding you need to win.
  • To become a Trusted Advisor, you need insights to offer to customers.  The most appreciated insights are about risks unknown to the customer.
  • Insights are hard to develop. But the GovCon Rainmaker Insight Creation Process makes it easy.
  • If customers think you are telling them how to run their businesses, however, they might not appreciate your insights.
  • But customers would NOT mind hearing about how other executives have solved similar problems.
  • So package your insights into stories about other executives.
  • These stories will enable your business developers to rapidly become Trusted Advisors in agencies where they have no contacts.

Most GovCon companies do not realize that they have the means to create a Trusted Advisor brigade.  But by extracting insights from their own results they can empower their business developers to engage customers, build trust, and gain the customer understanding needed to win.

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