Frankie and Club Pipeline
Frankie is a central character in one of the stories I tell when leading our Ethical Stalking for Government Contractors® Bootcamps. In his role, Frankie maintains a list to verify everyone entering Club Pipeline, the fictional nightclub I purchased, to ensure revenue goals established by leadership, are being met. This article provides background as to how and why this is relevant to good Business Development practices in the federal sector.
Ethical Stalking for Government Contractors began as a way to help companies and their people, develop a better understanding of terminology and tools used in Government Contracting. The goal of our first program in 2009, Bootcamp, was guiding participants to a more clear view of the opportunity landscape to increase positive results while reducing the Cost of Acquiring Business, something we refer to as C.A.B. Fare™. Today, Bootcamp is a must-have for executives and professionals of every experience-level, and companies of every size and type of offering.
This is how we visualize the tool and process used by companies to track artifacts that lead to growth. During my story, Club Pipeline is presented as a building in New York City that once housed a 1970's disco. The original plan was turning it into a Government Contracting Accelerator, but I was convinced to reopen it as a nightclub. Which brings us to...
FRANKIE AND THE LIST
To better sell the concept of creating a methodology for what gets into a company's opportunity pipeline, Frankie is the doorman for my Club Pipeline and he's decked out with his black suit, dark shades, earpiece with mic and, of course, a clipboard. On the clipboard is the list he uses to determine who gains entry to Club Pipeline.
Frankie and his list is how we help Bootcamp participants understand and visualize the concept of challenge filters at the beginning of a pipeline. When used, these discriminators invoke a company's most current protocols for reducing clutter and avoiding shiny objects in the pipeline by ensuring only the leads and opportunities that matter, make it in.
Some of the items Bootcamp participants include in their versions of Frankie's list are:
• Legislative mandates such as Service Contract Act
• Award/IDV Type (i.e., standalone contract vs contract vehicle)
• Solicitations just found on Contract Opportunities
• Contract Type to be used (e.g., Firm Fixed Price, Cost Plus, Time & Materials, etc.)
• If a Facility Clearance is required at time of award
Information like this is easy to acquire and validate. By securing it during the earliest decision-gates, companies leverage lower cost resources during Business Development activities with a lower cost than others deeper into the process. The dollars and time saved might be the resources needed to stretch Bid and Proposal capabilities to include that next qualified opportunity, possibly raising the bar from achieving to exceeding goals.
GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT
If your market and competitive intelligence process resembles the previous statement, what goes in your opportunity pipeline will, too. If you lack the ability to discern relevant information from irrelevant, or validated intelligence from RUMINT (rumor intelligence), then your overall decision-making process for achieving federal sector business growth is suspect, at best.
When it comes to measuring performance in Business Development, Win Rate is a well-known method. It's how effectiveness is measured after a proposal has been submitted. Additionally, it can help identify other areas in need of improvement prior to Proposal Management.
Another metric that reveals the state of process performance in Business Development is Bid Rate. This measures the number of submitted bid responses as compared to the number of leads and opportunities permitted into a pipeline. A low conversion percentage speaks loudly to needed efficiency enhancements and refinement of the rules for what comes in (and stays) in a pipeline. The beauty of Bid Rate is it pinpoints factors causing less than optimal outcomes, making it easy to recognize where change is needed. Of course, someone must pay attention for this to be of value.
Please disregard this if factors like competition, bandwidth and budget are NOT obstacles to your organizational growth.
Are you ready to lower your C.A.B. Fare and improve your results in the New Year?
Peace, Health and Joy,