Best business development articles of 2013

In 2013 we split our newsletter into two tracks and in most issues published two articles, one on business development and one on proposals. As a result, we hit our goal of publishing more than 100 new items and greatly expanded the PropLIBRARY Knowledgebase with more checklists and detail. To celebrate the end of the year, while we plan more goodies for next year, here's a list of our Top 20 articles on business development. Hopefully they will help you have a more prosperous new year!

Note: It's not in any particular order, so make sure you read all the way down so you don't miss something good.

  1. How your pipeline can help you reliably predict the future of your business
    Will your business grow, shrink, or stay the same next year? Are you chasing enough leads? Should you focus on finding more leads or on winning the ones you have? How many people will you need to chase your leads and prepare proposals? Will your win rate go up or down? How many leads can you “no bid” and still hit your numbers?
  2. The right way to fill your BD pipeline
    If you think that filling your pipeline should start by identifying leads, you’re wrong. There are things you need to do long before you start looking for RFPs or mining databases to identify leads.
  3. BD pipeline metrics tell you what resources you need
    With the right approach, your BD pipeline can be far more than just a lead tracking tool. It can answer questions like: How many people do I need for BD? How many do I need in my proposal department? Should I insource or outsource? How many project managers and other operations staff will I need? Can I afford to hire the staff I need?
  4. Should you purchase a database for business development?
    Which is better: hiring someone for lead identification or purchasing a BD database? How do you calculate your return on investment? How do you pick the right one? Is it worth the cost?
  5. Why don't business development and technical staff get along?
    The staff that do business development and the operational business units that serve your customers often don't get along. It's not surprising, given that they've been set up to fail and organized to be in direct opposition.
  6. 11 Ways to get ahead of the RFP and gain customer insight
    Getting ahead of the RFP is critical for relationship marketing and obtaining an information advantage. Getting ahead of the RFP is either really difficult or really easy but takes a long time. Most people give up on even trying. That creates an opportunity for the rest of us, who can develop a competitive advantage with a little creativity and some perseverance.
  7. A better way to find your competitive advantage
    When most people think about what their competitive advantages might be, they tend to focus on themselves and ask the wrong questions. Here's an article we wrote about how changing your perspective can help you find better competitive advantages.
  8. 82 Topics to discuss with your customers
    This list will inspire you and help you collect better customer intelligence. It will also help you create a contact plan, gain an information advantage, and give you things to follow up on. It will give you plenty of ideas for things to discuss with your customers.
  9. People are not enough for business development
    Is your company’s ability to develop business based on people or processes? Over the years we've seen many companies act like all they need to do is hire the right salesperson and then wait for the money to start pouring in. We've also seen a lot of companies that say they have a process, but really what they have are smart people who make it up as they go along. It's worth exploring the difference between people and process, because you need both.
  10. 5 Perspectives that connect business development and proposals with winning
    Being able to see things from different perspectives can help you see what to do in order to win. Here are five different ways of looking at your pursuits and how they impact your ability to win.
  11. You just found a lead. Now what?
    When most companies get a lead, they ask themselves what they can find out about it. Sometimes they discover good information and are quite pleased with themselves. But usually, when the RFP is released and they start trying to put things in writing, they start asking the real questions and often find that they are unprepared.
  12. 6 Approaches to Bid/No Bid Decisions and 10 Things They Must Get Right
    Very few companies make effective bid/no bid decisions. It's something that's really hard to get right. Here are six different ways that companies approach bid/no bid decisions, followed by 10 things that a good bid/no bid process should do.
  13. 9 Ways to tell if your bid process needs improvement
    If we had to pick one thing to change that would have the most impact on an organization’s ability to win, it would be how they approach bid/no bid decisions. If you think of them as just being about deciding whether to bid, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity. Here's an article from our library that provides you with 9 ways to tell if your bid/no bid process needs improvement.
  14. Creating a bid strategy re-use library
    When most people think of a proposal re-use library, they think of pre-written proposal sections. We've invented a new kind that can have a far greater impact on your win rates. Instead of trying to capture all of your proposal text and recycle it, which turns out to have a negative impact on your win rate, try focusing on your bid strategies instead.
  15. 4 Ways to Determine What it Will Take to Win
    The reason we collect intelligence about the customer, opportunity, and competitive environment is to determine what it will take to win. But what intel should you target, and how should you assess it? Here is an article we wrote to expand the portion of our process that helps people figure out what it will take to win. It presents four key areas to target and approaches to take in assessing them.
  16. How do you win before the RFP is even released?
    People always say how important it is to get into position to win before the RFP is released. What they don't talk a lot about is how to achieve that. How do you create an information advantage? What kind of intelligence should you collect, and what should you do with it? How can you influence the RFP? What do you need to do to be ready to win when the RFP is released? In this article we share some of the things we do.
  17. Bad business development habits of B2B and B2G companies
    Even though the bad business development habits of B2B and B2G companies are different, in many cases the cure is the same. Here is an article we wrote describing four bad habits for each of them, the common cause, and most importantly how to cure a company that has them.
  18. 10 Winning Habits Your Company Needs to Develop
    The habits that companies need to develop are different from th personal habits. Companies focus on things like policies and procedures, but not on habits. As a result, the habits they develop are usually the bad kind — the ones you fall into when you don't intentionally develop good habits. So we thought we’d take a look at what the good habits should be for developing business, and ended up writing this article.


Access to premium content items is limited to PropLIBRARY Subscribers

A subscription to PropLIBRARY unlocks hundreds of premium content items including recipes, forms, checklists, and more to make it easy to turn our recommendations into winning proposals. Subscribers can also use MustWin Now, our online proposal content planning tool.


Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing. The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

Proposal Help Desk
Contact us for assistance
In addition to PropLIBRARY's online resources, we also provide full-service consulting for when you're ready to engage one of our experts.

It all starts with a conversation. You can contact us by clicking the button to send us a message, or by calling 1-800-848-1563.