A cycle is a progression through a series of stages leading to a desired result. In business development, the lifecycle is about winning business. You’re not winning just any business, but business that is sustainable and profitable that helps the organization meet its objectives.
Successful organizations of all sizes and in all markets manage with discipline and proven leadership principles. Few organizations succeed on luck alone. At the core of most organizations is business development—the ability to generate revenue that sustains the business or organization.
The goal of any business development team is to advance an opportunity and move toward being in a favored position from the perspective of the customer. Increasing your Pwin (Probability of Winning) is the driver of a business development lifecycle. Ignoring key phases, milestones, and decision gates in the process is a recipe for disaster and waste.
The typical phases of the business development lifecycle are:
- Market Identification—Knowing which markets provide the most opportunity
- Long-Term Positioning—Preparing account plans and other strategies early
- Opportunity Assessment (Identification and Qualification)—Choosing only the best opportunities that align with your strategic plan
- Opportunity/Capture Planning—Assessing your competitive position and defining a win strategy
- Proposal Planning—Preparing a proposal management plan
- Proposal Development—Developing content, visuals, and messaging focused on the customer’s buying vision
- Negotiation and Post-Submittal Activity—Securing the contract award
- Delivery and Ongoing Customer Relationships—Executing with excellence to prepare for the next opportunity
Each phase has key inputs and outputs, including important milestones and decision gates that support previous pursuit decisions or create pause to re-evaluate the probability of winning.
Regardless of the market, it is critical that organizations establish and adhere to a repeatable process that allows them to compete and win business in an efficient and effective way. The process must fit the organization’s size and competitive environment.
Remember, a business development lifecycle is much more than a “proposal process” because it involves all phases of business development based on the strategic vision of the organization. Try adding the steps above to your business development process.