Honor the Go/No Go Process - Truths of Business Development

Posted by Megan Miller on February 11, 2019

UI for Professional Services Firms

It’s safe to assume that most of us hate having our time wasted, not just at work, but in every aspect of our lives. There are countless books on this very topic! The Art of Saying No, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, and many more. What does this have to do with business development? Everything! Think about the time you waste chasing opportunities you knew you were never going to win. Think of what you could have done with that time.

Often the hardest thing for a small firm or business development professional to do is walk away from an opportunity that’s right in front of them. But, looking back, I think about the opportunities I worked on in my past life that we should have just walked away from, when we wasted time going after projects we had no chance of winning. Every single firm has those stories. I know hindsight is 20/20, as we’ve all heard, but what if we applied the concepts from our earlier blog You Can’t Be All Things to All People, and truly evaluated the viability of opportunities before investing time so we’d know if we should just walk away or if it’s really worth the effort to pursue?


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How much time are you willing to spend on an opportunity even when you know the odds are not in your favor? Alternatively, how much time and money do you think you’d save if you walked away instead?

For example, if your firm can’t get access to the decision maker, you may need to move on to more promising opportunities. If you can’t get details on who the decision makers are or what their hot buttons are, is it worth investing a significant amount of time to find out? The answer sometimes is yes, but how can you better decide when it is yes and when you should walk away?

According to the 39th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, only 35% of firms have a formal go/no go strategy for all opportunities, and 24% for strategic opportunities. A go/no go process is a list of questions or evaluation criteria to determine if a firm should pursue a potential project or not. Some firms use clear scoring criteria and others use questions as a guide to determine the right decision. The strategy that many top performing firms follow is to have checklists and reports that will show success metrics and score the probability of winning the project and remaining profitable. For example, if you’ve identified a list of 10 criteria that make for a perfect opportunity to pursue, what if three of those items on the list aren’t met? By trying to create a standard evaluation method, even inexperienced business development professionals can leverage the firm’s experience, and not rely on learning lessons the hard way about which opportunities to let go. This also provides the leaders of the firm a great level of confidence in the value of the opportunities that they do end up pursuing.

By having go/no go process built into your CRM system, the checklist is filled out when the opportunity is created, and everyone involved has visibility into the risks and the odds of winning based on gathered intelligence and experience. It also provides easy access to critical business intelligence for the next opportunity to determine why you did or did not pursue the last project and include that information in your decision for the next pursuit. This prevents your firm from chasing a deal that past experience tells you isn’t worth the time, and allows your firm to spend its efforts where it really counts.


This blog is part of a series. If you want to learn more, download the eBook, "5 Truths of Successful Business Development" or check out these blogs:

To learn more about Deltek’s CRM solution, visit our CRM page.

For the latest in-depth look into A&E industry averages for business development, download the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study.

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About the Author

Megan Miller is a product marketing manager with Deltek and works with architecture & engineering firms around the world to help them improve their business processes through technology and thought leadership with resources like Deltek Clarity and Deltek’s leading project-based software solutions. Connect with Megan on LinkedIn.