Last time, we described the opportunities pipeline and why it doesn’t look like a straight pipe. It looks like a funnel with a series of progressively thinner pipes with increasingly finer filters in between them. Today, we will talk about another reason to have plenty of opportunities to identify and qualify monthly in order to keep your pipeline full.
Here is the tricky thing with planning your business development efforts: things rarely go in accordance with the plan. You may have the best time-phased pipeline in the world, with an evenly-spaced proposal load for each month. You may have enough opportunities in the hopper to keep your proposal team steadily working busy, bidding on an opportunity or two per month.
Then comes Murphy’s Law, something every seasoned business developer is familiar with: opportunities are delayed for months, and then they come out all at once so you must pick among all the ones that you wanted.
Additionally, you may land some of them, and if you are small, your entire team will be so tied up in launching and implementing one project, you might be forced to no-bid other projects you have been capturing.
There is no insurance against this, except for having good consultants on speed dial and having the budget to pay for subject matter experts who may moonlight for you, instead of using your own staff to write those proposals. You usually have more bid and proposal budget to outsource your proposals when you are winning more, so it’s a chicken and the egg kind of thing.
And then comes the drought again. Now that the glut of opportunities has passed, you need more opportunities to continue bidding. Except you didn’t have enough to start with, so you may find yourself with a bidder’s dry spell.
This is another reason why you need to have more opportunities than the number you plan to bid on monthly. Better to have more opportunities in the hopper so you can continue to submit well-prepared bids after the busy season is over.
So how many opportunities will get you to your desired growth numbers? Next time we are going to talk about a formula for filling your pipeline.