Bob Davis is a smart as a whip, old-school IT business development executive with over thirty years in government contracting for large and small companies. Many of them have benefited from his savvy insights.
Did I mention he was smart?
No, I don't have a man crush on him, I just happen to know him. I met him years ago through my friend Mark Amtower and had a chance to bear witness to a comprehensive discussion about business development, the state of it in the current government contracting environment, and what companies are doing right, but mostly wrong in this area. It was riveting and I was the lucky student that day.
Well, Bob is at it again, this time by way of an op-ed in Washington Technology. The piece is called "Never stop your market research or risk the consequences" and it focuses on systems integrators losing sight of their customers and losing recompetes because they were in a long-term relationship and took the situation for granted.
The lesson should not stop there as it most definitely applies across the board to every company pursuing government contracts, large or small.
For example, Bob makes the point that " ...most companies are looking at the same market data from the same sources." In the article, he also states "Today, in our industry, it [market research] is usually performed on a part-time, ad hoc basis."
So, if most companies are looking at the same data from the same sources but are not taking it any more serious than a knee-jerk reaction, how does one rise above the fray? How about putting a process in place to manage information. After all, there is a boatload of information to be had and heck, some of it is even useful. Without a process, however, you'll never know what could have been.
"Beware - market research is an overhead function..." says Bob. It is, but think of it as an investment that is as important as the most important thing you'll ever pay for as a company. You really can't live without it. In fact, without it, the level of benefit you'll derive from other business activities becomes, well, a moot point.
A lot of folks have heard me invoke the Lois Horowitz "Information is King" saying while driving the point home about the need for an understanding of and a process for market research in every company (my take on FDR's two chickens in every pot). Bottom line, how do you make good decisions with bad information, or worse, with no information? It's not recompetes you'll lose because you will have never won any meaningful business to lose during a recompete.
Here's the deal. You can keep flailing in the wind trying to throw minimally qualified or non-qualified responses at the wall to see what sticks, or you can be proactive and go get the information that will help you establish a plan and process, for getting information.
It's not that hard and the benefits present themselves fairly quickly. Ask the folks participating in our "Ethical Stalking for Government Contractors™" user group.
Peace.The Chief Visionary
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."