Business development’s job is sales. Sounds simple enough, at least on paper. In reality, today’s government contractors are facing their share of uphill battles. Among them is an ad hoc definition of inherently governmental; shifting procurement guidelines and policies; as well as the need to maintain relevance amid a whole host of looming national priorities, from managing Afghanistan and homeland security, to environmental and healthcare initiatives. Rising to meet these kinds of challenges requires continual alignment with customer priorities, as well as strategy that sees more than a few steps ahead. As we gear up for 2010, ExecutiveBiz has tallied its annual list of Top 10 Business Development Executives to watch in government contracting. See how these executives have helped their government customers navigate the economy, budget constraints, and evolving aspirations of the Obama administration, and how you can do the same in the year ahead.
In a short three years, Lee Cooper has helped turn around a flagging organization. The proof is in the numbers. Since 2006, Raytheon Technical Services has grown more than 10 percent a year. A key to that growth has been Cooper's focus on training, logistics and engineering service business, both domestic and international. Another factor has been Cooper's steps to build a solid business development team to drive strong results: year-over-year growth of more than 10 percent since 2006.
- Overseen year-over-year growth of more than 10 percent since 2006
- Led a win rate on competitive bids this year of 79 percent “” a eight point increase over 2008
- Built a team of business development managers, capture managers, proposal managers, plus support personnel such as competitive intelligence marketing
Cooper’s market forecast:
On building the right team: “We've changed out more than 50 percent of the BD staff in the last couple years.“
On new markets: “We're focused on new adjacent markets including border and port security, homeland security, the nonproliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and international training.“
On industry trends: “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.“
Under Tom Davies' watch, ACS Government Solutions Group has seen record sales for the second consecutive year. The year has also ushered in the strongest sales pipeline yet for the government business. Plus, Davies' team has increased its win rates on new business and renewals. For Davies, senior vice president of the government group since May 2005, a big part of that success comes from a combination of strengthening the sales organization and a renewed client-centric focus to better understand “” and become more proactive in addressing “” client challenges.
- Led an expansion in sales and marketing capabilities across the organization's lines of business: healthcare, federal, state and local.
- Spearheaded a brand-building initiative to answer the question, “Who is ACS“?
- Brought in new leadership, plus repositioned the business to be more “client-centric.“
Davies’ market forecast:
On government marketplace: “Everything is on the table; customers are more open to ideas that in more “˜normal' times they may not entertain as readily.“
On managed services: “It's all about applied innovation. We're always looking for ways to increase the value of our services and enhance the benefits government is receiving.“
On new markets: “One is health information exchanges, a second is electronic payment services, a third is human resources and a fourth is document management.“
Mike Fox has been racking up a lot of frequent flyer miles lately. As senior vice president for corporate strategic development at SRA, Fox has been busy traveling to SRA offices here and abroad, offering a first-hand presentation of the company's new strategic plan. The culmination of a year's work by SRA, the plan showcases possible technology, market and industry trends under the new Obama administration. It also outlines ways SRA can grow over the next three to five years. Among Fox's areas of focus: cybersecurity, smart energy, performance based logistics and healthcare.
- Recently released SRA's fiscal year 2010 strategic plan; a culmination of a year’s worth of effort to spot key market and technology trends
- Expanded SRA's public safety, homeland security and cyber security work into the UK and Canadian market
Fox’s market forecast:
On OCI: “We double and triple check whether an upcoming bid opportunity has a potential OCI.“
On new markets: “I'm going to start by hitting the same ones that everybody else is talking about: cyber security, smart energy, and healthcare.“
On cloud computing: “You can't be absolutely sure [this] will take hold and become [a] real revenue generator. But you also don't want to miss the wave.“
As president of business development for CSC's North American Public Sector business unit, Mike Gaffney has snagged several big wins lately. Among them is a biometrics operations and support services contract, one of several key vehicles for Department of Defense to acquire biometrics technology and services. The win speaks to CSC's continued push into identity management. “We anticipate bidding on a number of task orders that will come out underneath it,“ says Gaffney.
- Expanded CSC's capabilities in logistics support to Department of Defense
- Won a Medicare/Medicaid Information System job with North Carolina this year “” a strategic win to help CSC move from the federal to the state level in support of U.S. healthcare
- Won Transportation Security Administration contract for IT infrastructure services
Gaffney’s market forecast:
On federal budget: “I think we're going to see a whole lot of disruption in the budget going forward, with programs like TARP, ARRA, and the refocusing of the defense mission.“
On gathering business intelligence: “What did Yogi Berra say? You can learn a lot just by watching.“
On potential market changers: “CSC has been working aggressively [to] offer solutions around cloud computing both in commercial as well as in the public sector.“
In the year since Beth Hardison was named senior vice president of business development of USIS, she's raised the bar on several key fronts: process, personnel, and incentives. Hardison instituted a process that takes opportunities through a “rigorous set of gates,“ as she puts it. “We wanted to increase the probability of our win in various niche markets, such as criminal justice Program support and entitlement fraud, as well as go after larger opportunities,“ says Hardison. She's accomplished that by weaving together a “stronger story“ of USIS’ discriminating solutions.
- Invested in business development, increasing personnel fourfold. “We've recruited very senior people who have proven success in their markets,“ says Hardison.
- Instituted a strong incentive program that goes beyond typical compensation plans found in many companies around the Beltway.
- Educated the USIS leadership team on “winning BD processes“ and instituted internal processes that foster a stronger focus on selecting growth opportunities, rigorous internal RFP processes, and improved contract win probability
Hardison’s market forecast:
On industry partnerships: “No company stands on its own; you can't deliver it all yourself.“
On building a strong team: “We recognize the importance of our people in selling solutions to the government; we have a set of incentive programs that recognize performance.“
On insourcing: “The reality is that no matter how things resolve themselves on the insourcing question, if you're a government contractor you have to focus on getting better every single day or you will end up losing your work to any of a variety of competitors.“
Andy McCann has been wrapping up a solid year of growth across federal, state, and local business for HP Enterprise Services, formally known as EDS. As vice president and geographic sales leader for the company, McCann has overseen an improved win rate increase since 2008. “Initiatives we put in place a year ago are taking shape,“ says McCann. “We've been able to build up our resources in key horizontal areas and practices such as cyber security and cloud computing.“
- Amid HP integration, McCann's team has been bringing to bear the full continuum of HP products and services as HP Enterprise Services goes to market.
- McCann has been successfully tracking and retaining talent.
- Implemented a win-loss program in July 2008 and executive focus deal review sessions that have resulted in a more efficient and effective sales and business development team
McCann’s market forecast:
On an increased win rate increase: “Risk and innovation are in our corporate DNA. With this focus, we are able to help talented government leaders appropriately balance risk to gain innovation for the public good.“
On client relationships: “Keep doing what you say you're going to do. As simple as that may sound it's key to building trust-based relationships with your clients.“
On what's next: “Bringing to government the end-to-end capability of HP that offers innovation all along the technology continuum.
Thought leadership, line of sight, and innovation “” all are essential for successful business development, says Gregg Mossburg, head of CGI Federal Solution and Business Development. “You've got to be agile to help agencies achieve their mission,” says Mossburg. That focus on mission is creating far-reaching opportunity. Through partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, nearly 300 jobs have been created in Russell County, Va., in southwest Virginia. “We're growing, we're helping federal agencies, and we're helping bring jobs to other areas of Virginia,“ says Mossburg.
- Through partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, rural areas have become benefactor of CGI Federal's work with government customers
- Under Mossburg's watch, CGI Federal has teamed with George Mason University and other universities to host thought leadership programs
- Mossburg has helped recruit “more focused“ leadership in the senior executive ranks: Molly O'Neill, vice president at CGI Federal, and Dr. John Loonsk, vice president and chief medical officer.
Mossburg’s market forecast:
On thought leadership: “Forums help agencies better understand the commercial perspective, and they help us better understand the federal perspective.“
On generating a network of allies: “Forums that aren't specifically targeted at closing a sale allow you to get the real idea of what's going on.“
On promoting transparency: “You've got to [have] the ability to make course-correcting moves within a fiscal year, not at the end of it.“
With over 25 years' experience in government contracting, Gio Patterson can say this with confidence: the key to any company's success is its people. So when Patterson was named senior vice president of corporate development for Vangent in May 2008, she began assembling a world-class team. That team has since grown by 50 percent. “Our aspiration is to be over $1 billion in revenue, that requires this army of business developers executing on the pipeline,“ she says. “We hire people with passion,“ she adds. “If you can get all that working, you'll have extraordinary results.“
- Assembled a corporate development team focused on key vertical markets: federal, state, and local health; military health, as well as civilian national security.
- Built a GWAC Center of Excellence; also implemented a small business program.
- Won over a billion dollars in new business and contract extensions; in addition, secured over a $4 billion pipeline for fiscal year 2010 and beyond.
Patterson’s market forecast:
On navigating competition: “We've stuck to our discipline capture process that requires making tough no bid/bid decisions as early as possible.“
On fostering ties with government customers: “To me, a best practice is to develop white papers that provide the government ideas and alternatives on any given challenge.“
On promising markets: “We just won another contract (in military health) to do single sign-on and context management across a wide spectrum of military health applications.“
This isn't your father's DynCorp. Ever since the defense contractor was acquired by Veritas in 2005, change has been underway. Helping to keep the momentum going is Craig Reed, who came on board in December 2008 to fill a newly-created role as senior vice president of strategy and corporate development. Combining strategy development with legacy corporate development functions, Reed has helped the company develop a capable market intelligence function, a structured strategic planning process, and position itself for more active involvement in mergers and acquisitions.
- Since coming on board in December 2008, Reed has moved DynCorp International to take a more strategic view of key markets.
- Emphasis has been on identifying opportunities for growth within current markets, and developing strategies to serve new customers in adjacent markets and provide new value-added service offerings.
- DynCorp International recently announced agreement to acquire Phoenix Consulting Group, a provider of specialized and proprietary training courses within the intelligence community.
Reed’s market forecast:
On current markets: “We have a substantial presence in Iraq and Afghanistan “¦ we expect to see that continue to grow over the next two to three years but will also be looking to expand our geographic footprint.“
On insourcing: “We've been actively working with industry associations and the government to encourage a rational discussion.“
On supporting the US government: “DI's employees stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our customers supporting their mission, and living our purpose: “˜We serve today for a safer tomorrow.'“
Last March, David Ryan was named vice president of business development for Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector. Ryan has since been securing new opportunities across defense, intelligence, civil, and advisory services markets. Areas of focus are cybersecurity; command and control; battlefield management; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and IT infrastructure support and maintenance for federal agencies. “Our challenge is to work closely with customers amid tight, sometimes declining, budgets to find the most efficient way to meet their needs,“ he says.
- The company's primary focus is to provide the best technical solutions and cultivate customer relationships, especially in today's cost-sensitive environment, says Ryan.
- Northrop Grumman Information Systems is a $10 billion business that has brought together solutions for customers' requirements in a more agile and responsible way, says Ryan.
- “We try to attract the best and brightest talent across all business areas and consistently focus on career development as a path to growing our business,” he adds.
Ryan’s market forecast:
On gathering business intelligence: “The key thing is to continue to build relationships not only with customers but peers in this industry.“
On insourcing: “I do not see us changing our strategy very much at all based on some of these issues that our government customers are working through.“