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People Buy From People: Navigating The Federal Highway

By Bob Lam

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People Buy From People, Navigating The Federal Highway, is a novel of fiction based on the reality of federal government acquisitions in the information technology arena. Clark Sebastian, senior business development director for the multi-billion dollar conglomerate Global Exchange, explores the world of federal government acquisitions. Clark employs highly successful business development tools, techniques and practices used by industry leading contractors to identify, capture and bid the multi-billion dollar SEC MAGNET program. Clark uses his experience, skills and insight to look deep into the program, identifying stakeholders, challenges and expected outcomes. He uses his persona to bond with program executives, building relationships that transcend business. The journey takes many twists and turns as Clark and others jockey for position on this coveted program with Clark all the while telling how and why he performs various activities, sharing many secrets of the trade. While executing his trade admirably, a final twist brings to the forefront a BD Law: Always Expect the Unexpected.

Clark’s journey begins in the halls of Global Exchange Federal, continuing at conferences, dinners, cocktail lounges and never-ending corporate meetings. Events and activities are laid out in detail, an education in itself for the BD-Wannabe and the enterprising entrepreneur seeking to do business with the world’s largest buyer, as well as the government analyst, manager and executive sitting on the other side of the table from those seeking to do business with them. Much is to be learned by all parties. After all, people buy from people.

There are no instructions, guides or maps guiding Clark on his journey. He has painstakingly learned the trade of this most coveted position where the primary job is making friends. He has learned over many years watching those with the business development swagger, suffering through the pursuits of wins and loses, developing a tool bag that enables him to multi-task, look around technology corners, think out-of-the-box, look beyond the client to the client’s client, and go beyond hearing to listening.

his is the biggest bet of the year for Global Exchange where even the CEO is watching over Clark’s shoulder. The risk is significant given the multi-million dollar investment and thousands of jobs at stake. But isn’t this the ultimate quest, where all is put on the line, all that you have worked for over a career of many years, building to this climax?

Clark brings to life the $80 billion US government-focused information technology industry as never before. Federal acquisition regulations are explored as used both as a shield and an enabler. Acquisition actions are questioned and issues raised. Inept practices are examined. Waste of scarce government funds is highlighted. And the all-important issue of integrity is brought to life, on both sides of the street.

This excerpt was cut from the book PBFP FAR but offers some very important information when contracting with the Federal Government.

About the author

Bob Lam is founder and principal of Bob Lam Solutions, a firm dedicated to providing highly appropriate consulting services to unite contractors and vendors with the US federal government in the pursuit of new and continued business in the areas of systems integration, management consulting and outsourcing. Bob has over 30 years experience in international, federal, and state and local government organizations, managing activities in business development, sales, marketing, systems engineering and line operations.

Prior to founding Bob Lam Solutions, Bob was a partner in Accenture’s Worldwide Public Services business practice, an executive at Planning Research Corporation (acquired by Northrop Grumman), management consultant at Price Waterhouse and systems engineer at Electronic Data Systems (acquired by Hewlett Packard).

Bob lives in Northern Virginia.