Tuesday, December 02, 2010
Dan Callahan

If you’re like me, after the activity from this fall, you need a few days away from the usually grind to refocus your planning.  I did this in August and it was amazingly refreshing. (Actually, I need a six month sabbatical but that will have to wait!)  Over the holidays (or in January) is a great time to relax and consider your business development activities since Labor Day.  Here are some focal points to get you started as you continue selling to the Military and the Intelligence Community agencies:


  • Do I need to update my target list of individuals to whom I am selling – or with whom I need to meet?

  • Has a recent win indicated a new capability that should be supported or grown?

  • Has a recent loss exposed a vulnerability or weakness that requires corrective action?

  • Did I reach my BD goals for the fall season (contacts, networking, penetration, revenue)?

  • What are my goals and objectives for the winter quarter?

If you find this process too easy, then you are probably not doing it well.  If it takes too little time, you may not have done it thoroughly.  I recommend that you select your target account (or two target agencies—but not more than three) and develop a plan of attack for the winter.  This will help you re-energize your attitude and make sure you hit the ground sprinting in January.  Consider this as a starting outline and get help if you need it.


    1. If you’re still in a learning mode, compile a descriptive profile of the target agency, focusing only on information related to how it has changed since 9/11/01?  This should be at least several pages with lot of links, tables, names, charts-if available, and useful information.

    2. List the names or the titles of a named individuals (who can be identified later) with whom you will speak (i.e., a sales call, at a conference, etc.) before 15 April 2010.

    3. Exactly which question do you want answered by this person and how will you engage them when they answer?

    4. Exactly how can you help his agency reach their mission goals (given what you know at this time)?

    5. What enablers will help you get this business development job accomplished?  The answer could include teammates, industry partners, meetings, conferences, strategic hires, selected reading of specific news, trips, etc.

    6. Which conferences or table top shows, or other outreach venues make sense for you?

    7. Is my value propositioning and messaging on target?  Am I pleased with the responses that I’m getting?  Do I need to adjust?

    Ask yourself: Are my goals too weak?  Are they reasonable?  Should they be more audacious? I have generally favored “going for it” (i.e., make huge goals!) because it’s amazing what can often be achieved when you are reaching for the sky.  Stay positive:  the federal government is still one of the largest spenders in the world!  And they have more challenges than we could solve in a lifetime!  Be the solution!