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Falling back in love with business development #LoveBDAgain

Last week’s American Institute of Architects (AIA) convention brought more than 18,000 attendees from around the globe to the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The three-day event featured more than 300 educational sessions/workshops and a massive expo with nearly 800 exhibitors.

As in years past, Deltek’s presence was in full force at this premier architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) event. In addition to showcasing Deltek solutions on the expo floor,  Senior Product Marketing Specialist Megan Miller led a seminar titled “Fall in Love with Business Development Again” to a packed crowd on Thursday afternoon.


Alongside Wallace Engineering’s Brad Thurman, PE, FSMPS, CPSM, Miller covered the common pain points identified by business developers and presented tips on how to reengage the industry and win more business.


A 2014 study by the Society for Marketing Professional Services Society (SMPS) – “The Seller-Doer Model: Is it Really Taking Hold – and Is It Working?” – revealed that 63 percent of firms surveyed reported an increase in the number of seller-doers in their company, where employees are not only responsible for business development (BD), but also sales, technical, marketing and client support. However, only 4 percent of companies considered their seller-doers as “highly effective.”


A major obstacle with this growing seller-doer model is the lack of time devoted to business development when having to wear multiple hats. Miller stressed that “business development is the lifeblood of your organization,” and Thurman reminded attendees that BD is not about sales, but about “nurturing relationships.”  


Many attendees reported they simply don’t have enough hours in the day to dedicate to BD, and they often find themselves doing tasks they don’t enjoy, such as cold calling, expense reports, and attending meetings. Thurman and Miller provided several practical tips for spending more time on the tasks you love and blocking time for business development.


Miller also touted the importance of being more selective in business development. Statistics show it takes 100 cold calls to get one lead; therefore, companies should narrow their prospect lists and truly nurture that network. Taking the time to learn about a potential client and their needs before approaching them goes a long way in distinguishing your organization from the rest. 

GovWin IQ offers several solutions to help business developers learn about potential clients and narrow their prospect list in the public sector. GovWin IQ’s Government Snapshots tool combines government data with Deltek’s expert analysis and forecasting tools to provide vendors with key information on spending, population, agency contacts, employment, bids, and more so that they can make informed business decisions in their target markets.


GovWin IQ Lead Alerts act as the first hint of a project for business developers. Our analysts are scouring government websites and reviewing state and local capital improvement plans (CIP) on a daily basis to identify new projects across all vertical markets and provide updates on past CIP initiatives. Lead Alerts help you identify projects planned years in advance so you can start building relationships with prospects early.


Further, GovWin IQ’s newly expanded contract awards database offers business developers deep insight into current contracts across the state and local market, expiring agreements that may be rebid, as well as bid tabulations/bidders lists offering strong competitive intelligence.


Learn more about GovWin IQ solutions with a free trial


Public-private partnerships may yield high-dollar contracts

Public-private partnerships, or P3s, have been around for decades, helping states with funding problems utilize a contract with a private company that, in turn, will run a large portion (or all) of a project. The number of states that use P3s has grown steadily over the years, with approximately 33 states and the District of Columbia having legislation to allow usage.

One of the major components of P3 legislation is the use of partnerships in development of transportation infrastructure such as bridges, roads, tunnels, etc. A state may not have the funding to develop a new bridge, but through a P3 agreement, the vendor foots most of the cost and collects tolls from the bridge in exchange. One major project that utilized this agreement was the Port of Miami tunnel. The $663 million project needed outside funding – in this case, from Bouygues Civil Works. Later, the state utilized another vendor, Transfield Services Infrastructure, to operate and maintain the tunnel.

Below is a glimpse of GovWin IQ’s snapshot of Miami-Dade County’s construction expenditures for fiscal year 2014. The chart shows that air transportation and transit-related projects top the list at more than $600 million.

Many high-dollar projects are available when looking at the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry as it relates to P3 transportation initiatives; however, with only 33 states having legislation and varying requirements, it becomes a difficult maze to navigate. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has a toolkit for legislators, which also provides insight on state laws and the differences among them.

P3 agreements are not solely tied to transportation projects. Prison facilities, primary and higher education facilities also require significant budget, especially for new construction or upgrades to existing infrastructure. AEC vendors will have many projects to bid on outside of P3 agreements, but these partnerships often allow more flexibility and opportunity to team with vendors as prime or subcontractors.

AEC vendors should not necessarily seek out P3 agreements, but being aware of their availability and what benefits they offer is essential in understanding the market. P3 projects can offer flexibility and options that aren’t typically available with a standard professional services contract. They can be larger in scope, size and contract value, and are worthy of special attention and consideration when examining your bottom line.

GovWin IQ’s government snapshot tool combines government data with Deltek’s expert analysis and forecasting tools. Our government snapshots provide vendors with key information on spending, population, agency contacts, employment, bids, and more so that they can make informed business decisions in their target markets. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial. 





Deltek pulse: General government technology August review

August proved to be a slow month for procurement as many state and local government officials took vacation and breathed a sigh of relief as they entered a new fiscal year. Only 1,371 IT-related general government solicitations were captured in August, which is a 6.4 percent decrease from July.

The major highlights under general government technology solicitation releases in August came from ERP/Human Resources/Financial Systems with a 137 percent increase in solicitation releases and Education Data/Learning Management/Student Info Systems, which saw a -24 percent decrease in solicitation releases from July. 

Below is a snapshot of August’s top 11 most common IT solicitation releases captured in the GovWin IQ state and local database: 

By State

State and local solicitations released out of Alabama (-85 percent), Pennsylvania (-59 percent), Oklahoma (-50 percent), and Massachusetts (-46 percent) saw the largest decreases in solicitation releases from July 2013. Solicitations released out of Wisconsin (52 percent), Missouri (67 percent), Virginia (130 percent), and the District of Columbia (975 percent) saw the largest increases in solicitation releases last month.

By Government Type

To provide more depth into the highlighted numbers, Alabama’s solicitations decreased primarily because state-level solicitations dropped 88.2 percent, while county/city-level solicitations plummeted by 100 percent and 85.7 percent, respectively, from July. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Virginia’s solicitations increased in large part because four out of the six levels of government saw an increase in solicitation releases from July to August: county level (87.5 percent), higher education institutions (500 percent), special districts (233.3 percent), and state level (700 percent). Overall levels of government, K-12 Education entities saw a -28.4 percent decrease in solicitation releases, while Special districts (e.g. - Mass Transit Authority, Municipal Utility District, etc.) saw a 9.8 percent increase.

By Requesting Agency Type

Though general government (24.1 percent), higher education (16.6 percent), and justice/public safety (21.1 percent) agencies have continuously represented the bulk of general government technologies and services solicitations, it was transportation agencies that saw the largest increase in solicitation releases in August, with a 14.8 percent increase. Health care (-37.3 percent) and public finance (-22.6 percent) agencies across all levels of government experienced a dip in solicitation releases.

Here is a look at current tracked general government IT opportunities:

The University of Cincinnati in Ohio released a request for proposals (RFP) for a student information system (SIS) on August 19. Project requirements include ongoing maintenance of an integrated SIS with vital ancillary products to replace the university’s current student information system. Proposals remain due by 5:00 p.m. EDT on September 20.

A city in Minnesota released a request for proposals (RFP) seeking consulting services for advanced program management of its upcoming replacement enterprise resource planning (ERP) systemThe city is looking to upgrade its Oracle PeopleSoft and IBM Cognos environments. The anticipated project timeline is September 2013 – February 28, 2015. The selected vendor for the project management RFP will be tasked with drafting a future RFP seeking IT services to upgrade the ERP system.

A large city in California is drafting an RFP for an HR/payroll solution to replace its existing Oracle/Peoplesoft system. The RFP is expected to be released in the coming weeks, and the city hopes to award a vendor by fall 2013 to implement the solution by spring 2014.  


GovWin IQ subscribers can read further about these projects in the provided links. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ  free trial.


Contractors Indicate that Relationships are Their Top Source for New Opportunities

Sources of opportunity identification and assembly of staff resources around opportunities play a critical role in the federal pipeline process. Federal services contractors must develop a system for generating a continuous stream of contracting opportunities to fill their pipeline in order to be successful. Likewise, they need a well honed process for assembling an internal team to vet and potentially bid on these opportunities.
As we continue to look at federal pipeline management processes as a way for contractors to develop a competitive advantage, one extremely important element of the process is opportunity identification. Deltek’s recent research into the opportunity and pipeline processes of federal contractors sheds light on the major opportunity sources used by contractors to fill their pipeline.  The chart below shows the top sources for new opportunities by Deltek’s 244 survey respondents:
Large and mid-sized contractors rely heavily on the relationships developed by both business development and project staff to identify new opportunities. This is augmented by third party research. However, small contractors rely more heavily on teaming relationships to identify new opportunities, than do large or mid-sized contractors. This could indicate that their relationships with fellow contractors and teaming partners are stronger than their customer relationships due to their small size and limited time in the marketplace. Large and mid-sized contractors, due to their size and longevity in the market, typically have more people interacting with government clients and have deeper client relationships.
Assembling an experienced and well-trained internal team to pursue business is also a critical factor to increasing win rates. 
The chart below shows the average mix of resources used to go after new business in the federal contracting companies that Deltek surveyed: 
For the most part, all contractors showed an equal likeliness to outsource market research and proposal writing, while business development is the area most likely to have dedicated resources. The majority of contractors realize how important the business development function is to gaining new business and a constant stream of revenue, and are consequently more likely to maintain those resources in-house and dedicating them to the function of generating business. 
Opportunity identification and assembly of staff resources are just two pieces of the pipeline management effort, but contribute to an overall solid process. As federal budgets contract and contracting opportunities become smaller in size, business development and pipeline processes need to adapt to provide a constant new stream of business and revenue.
About Deltek’s Survey:
In July 2012, Deltek conducted a web survey of 244 of business unit heads, CEOs, COOs, business development leaders, capture managers and proposal managers from 138 companies that provide information technology or professional services to the federal government, with annual revenues of $25 million or more. 



A Well-Orchestrated Pipeline Management Process Sets the Foundation for Contract Wins

In an era of contracting federal budgets, lengthening procurement timelines, heightened competition, and increasing client price sensitivity, federal contractors now more than ever need a well-honed pipeline management process to compete in today’s federal space. For those of us who have been in the contracting game for several decades, it’s easy to recognize that never before have we seen so many forces in play to make it difficult for even the most seasoned federal contractor to compete and gain business in the current environment.
Product and service differentiation no longer provide the only necessary leverage for winning contracts. Contractors must seek to improve upon operational processes to remain competitive. Fewer mega-awards, increasing task order use, modular contracting, and focus on small business contracting, just to name a few, test the temerity of contractors’ business development processes and make it more important than ever that they fine tune their pipeline practices.   Business development problems will only be made worse in the current environment, so identifying any kinks in the process can improve competitiveness and reduce costs.
Deltek’s recent research into the opportunity and pipeline processes of federal contractors sheds light on current business development challenges, pipeline management practices, and methods for monitoring pipeline health.   The chart below shows the major business development challenges cited by Deltek’s 244 survey respondents: 


By far the biggest business development challenge for survey respondents is the unpredictability of procurement/sales cycles. Coupled with the second ranked challenge of insufficient resources, contractors must have an agile and solid management system in place to provide stability in the pipeline process in order to remain competitive. Additionally, mid-sized contractors need to focus on developing teaming and sub/prime decisions earlier in their pipeline process. Scrambling to find a team or assemble a team late in the game will cause mid-sized companies to lose ground in the pipeline process, as well as their competitive positioning.
The chart below shows respondents’ desired changes to their current pipeline process: 


Most respondents would like to see their company’s business development and capture capabilities strengthened, especially mid-sized and large contractors. Additionally, mid-sized contractors would like to see more consistent implementation of pipeline processes. Training, solid processes, and executive level support can help contractors alleviate these pain points and strengthen the BD process and insure more consistent implementation of the pipeline practice across the company. 
Most respondents believe there is a correlation between effective pipeline management and corporate financial performance, such as increased revenue, profit, and/or stock price. Contractor business development and pipeline processes are the foundation for generating business. A well orchestrated and managed pipeline process, along with seasoned and well trained staff, can create a competitive advantage and a reliable vehicle for generating contract wins. A consistent, structured pipeline management process can help contractors navigate and weather the challenging federal market environment.
About Deltek’s Survey:
In July 2012, Deltek conducted a web survey of 244 of business unit heads, CEOs, COOs, business development leaders, capture managers and proposal managers from 138 companies that provide information technology or professional services to the federal government, with annual revenues of $25 million or more.