Lee Cooper is vice president of business development for Raytheon Technical Services Company. Here's his take on today's business development environment for government contractors:
ExecutiveBiz: You've seen year-over-year growth since 2006. What changes have you made in your business development team to ensure that growth?
Lee Cooper: The actual number of the business development team is about the same since 2006; about 85 people. But we've changed out more than 50 percent of the staff in the last couple years. It's about getting the right organizational structure and skills aligned against the right customers and markets to ensure we maximize our probability of win in chasing competitive procurements.
ExecutiveBiz: What steps are your team taking to ensure continual growth?
Lee Cooper: Over last year, we've continued to mature our team through additional training in capture management, critical thinking, and how to do a better job of understanding the customer's requirements and providing the best value solution to the customer. We spend a lot of time making sure we understand the customer's requirements and then working with a solution architect and the engineering team, our partners and our technology providers to make sure we don't over-engineer the solution but rather meet the customer's requirements in the most cost-effective way possible.
ExecutiveBiz: What markets are you looking to expand into?
Lee Cooper: We're expanding our border and port security, homeland security, and training business ““ both domestic and internationally. The nonproliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons market continues to expand into Africa and other parts of the world. We all have concern about the spread of those weapons, so there is a continuation of a market to provide support to prevent the proliferation of those weapons. The largest adjacent market was international training. We are having significant success in training, not only in Iraq, and Afghanistan, but in other parts of the world “” lots of international opportunities in training.
ExecutiveBiz: What international markets are you reaching?
Lee Cooper: We have 17 percent of our business internationally and are targeted to grow it to 25 percent of our total revenue by 2011. This growth will be achieved by expanding our current international training and logistics business in Europe, Southwest Asia, and the Middle East.
ExecutiveBiz: What are some of the biggest trends that may impact your future business development efforts?'
Lee Cooper: The biggest trend we see is the drive toward lowest-qualified offer type of evaluation criteria and as a result the drive away from best value. The customers in this economic climate are trying to maximize their mission accomplishment while at the same time they are trying to minimize the cost of their outsourced services.
ExecutiveBiz: How do you navigate the drive toward lowest qualified offer?
Lee Cooper: We try to understand in more detail the customer's requirements, concerns and constraints. Once we understand those we again work closely with our engineering team and program managers to ensure that we meet the customer's requirements and minimize the cost in every way possible. We then try to justify, based on our proposed innovations and past performance, why our solution is the best price.
ExecutiveBiz: How do you push innovation?
Lee Cooper: Innovation is not limited to technology; it's about all aspects of business development. It is a holistic approach; we say we have to “out-innovate“ our competitors. You have to use innovation everyday in your solutioning, whether it be in management approach, technology, services delivery model, whether it is centralized or decentralized, whether you're doing a joint venture or you're doing a prime/sub relationship.
ExecutiveBiz: What would you like to accomplish next?
Lee Cooper: Continue to achieve the growth rates that we've established over the last couple of years while becoming more efficient in the pursuit of new business, at the same time continuing to refine our solutions and core competencies as they relate to the specific markets that we have targeted.