Whether it’s a Government shutdown, company re-structuring, or consolidation through M&A, change can have a negative impact on your organization if the accompanying periods of uncertainty and downtime are not properly managed.

In business development, an environment filled with uncertainty can create a breeding ground for lost talent, new business, and even a company’s core work – recompetes.  Employees haunted by the thought of layoffs, loss of productivity due to unknown budget allocations, and operational standstills resulting from a lack of direction are just a few examples of how change can have an adverse effect on your business if not addressed.

Here are a few guidelines and tips to consider when managing change within Business Development:

Understand the Past

It takes both time and money to prepare a proposal, which is why every bid – win or loss – deserves a thorough post-award analysis and lessons learned to carry forward. To ensure maximum utility of B&P dollars spent, it is important to understand the who, what, when, where, why, and how behind every award. A comprehensive look at the past will help to build this story.

  • Prepare win/loss analysis for every competitive bid awarded over the past three years
    • Collect and document
      • Contract details (type, primary NAICS, and major elements of cost)
      • Basis of award (from Section M of the RFP to the customer award debrief)
      • Customer (from the highest level of budget authority down to the end user)
      • Competitors (from pre-submission assumptions to post-award knowns)
    • Analyze
      • Technical (non-cost) scores vs. awardee
      • Bid price vs. award price
      • Proposal strengths and weaknesses identified on customer award debrief
    • Ask
      • Was the actual award outcome consistent with Section M of the RFP?
      • Did the customer award to the lowest price offer, highest technical rated offer, or both – lowest price and highest technical offer?
      • Did we win/lose on price, technical, or both?
      • How accurate was our pre-submission assessment of the competitive landscape? Did we model the competitors accurately? How competitive was our bid price?

Keep Moving at Present

In business development, your opportunity pipeline is your lifeline.

Regardless of the circumstances, business development should never reach a dormant state. There is always work to be done. To realize maximum utility of future B&P spending, it is important to ensure that lessons learned from the past do not become lost in translation as an organization undergoes change. Understanding your past will help you to thrive at present.

  • Complete deep dive assessment on past wins/losses
    • Collect and document
      • All prior solicitation packages
      • Technical and pricing requirements
    • Analyze
      • For losses, reverse price engineer average bid rates
      • For wins, compare bid vs. current FTE, personnel qualifications, and salary
    • Ask
      • For new business, can we compete against prior average bid rates?
      • For recompetes, to what extent have we deviated from our prior bid? Does the customer intend to adopt this deviation on recompete solicitation?

Prepare for the Future

In business development, your opportunity pipeline is your lifeline. While some aspects may become hazy in times of change, there should never be complete lack of certainty with regards to what opportunities your organization will pursue.

Protecting your core work is critical; recompete efforts should be considered automatic to your pipeline, and preparation should never cease to exist. Use present momentum to refine and shape your pipeline around opportunities with the highest PWin.

  • Solidify new business opportunity pipeline using past and present takeaways
    • Use win/loss analysis to identify key customers, competitors, contract types, and basis of award that proved most/least successful on past bids
    • Use deep dive assessments to determine whether position has improved or worsened since the last bid to determine classification on the pipeline


While there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the specific actions an organization can take to effectively manage change, there is one overarching guideline that applies to all – keep moving.

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell, 1984


  • Christine Campbell

    Christine Campbell is an executive consultant at Richter & Company, a consulting firm providing actionable intelligence and pricing solutions that help clients better understand its customer and competitive landscape, define counter-strategies, strengthen its bid, and improve win probability. Christine leverages over a decade of federal contracting experience in business capture and pricing and program finance to develop credible and relatable price to win strategies that consider real-world operating outcomes for clients facing complex captures.