Meet the Springboard Team – Don Goff, Ph.D.

Don has recently joined the Springboard team and we’d like to welcome him and share with you are excitement – Don brings amazing capabilities to our clients looking to expand in the Intelligence Community.

Dr. Goff has over forty years experience in business, education and the military. Nationally recognized for superior, innovative, and profitable approaches in cyber security, he built the first remote access laboratories for network security, intrusion detection, and forensics, and developed curriculum for Information Assurance and Homeland Security masters degrees which were designated a National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. He has successfully developed profitable marketing programs for small businesses and has served as a Proxy Director for a foreign-owned cyber security company that grew its EBITDA from negative 1% to positive 10% in 5 quarters.

As a practitioner, he has experience in Information Assurance, Computer Network Operations, Certification & Accreditation, FISMA, NIST-800 series, DoD Instruction 8570.1 and other federal standards. He has written agency-level security policies and plans and provided written reports and chaired or participated in blue ribbon studies.

Dr. Goff works with his clients to identify and develop markets for its cyber security services, including SharePoint development and maintenance. He understands his client’s goals and works to build on current service offerings in the Department of Defense and other sectors including but not limited to healthcare and financial,as identified.  Dr. Goff will advise on federal and commercial market potential and access beyond his client’s current customer base; identify and evaluate potential markets and new customers; provide consulting services to interact with potential customers and clients to identify their needs; review technical and pricing volumes; assist in drafting technical and pricing volumes; introduce clients to potential additional target-specific marketers, as desired; and secure meetings with potential customers.

In addition, Dr Goff will provide subject matter expertise in cyber security and critical information protection in developing a strategic marketing plan for Springboard clients.  Actions may include identifying specific target clients from government agencies.  Deliverables will include developing a meeting and presentation schedule within the designated agencies and assisting in the preparation and development of meeting-specific marketing collateral.

Dr. Goff is a well know expert in and around the Intelligence Community, his expertise and ability to communicate with prospects is a true asset to Springboard clients.  If you’re looking to increase your opportunities at Fort Meade, NSA, the Intelligence Community or in the Department of Defense, Don may be an excellent fit to help you win business.  Call 410-832-7560 and ask for Karin.

Prospect Rant #6 My BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT person is NEVER in the OFFICE


Time spent in the office – now this one cracks me up.  “I never see them; they only stop in the office for a few minutes at a time then head right back out the door.”  If you’d like your BD person to sit in the office and play spider solitaire then you are wasting a lot of money, they are supposed to be out – meeting new people, holding meetings, creating partners, etc.  The last thing you want them to do is sit IN the office.  That being said if you have not created some type of communication system or accountability system then you may have a problem on your hands.  We’ve created a communication structure with our clients that allows them to be kept up to date and keeps us from having to fill out huge spreadsheets or databases.

Asking a Business Developer to spend time filling out spreadsheets is a colossal waste of time and most of them won’t do it anyway – it really goes against their core nature.  You do however need to be kept up to date in a reasonable fashion to ensure the pipeline is moving forward.  I would suggest an easy to manage CRM or communication structure.

The bigger issue is if your BD person IS ALWAYS IN THE OFFICE – then they have nothing to do …and that’s a real problem.  I find that most CEO’s struggle with the concept that this person should be out all day and yet when they are in the office, because they are usually a lot of fun no one notices that maybe they aren’t doing what they should be doing.  This BD role can also create challenges within the office – some employees may get upset that this person “gets paid for eating lunch and going to happy hour” so be mindful of the internal sabotage.  Part of this person’s role is to create relationships and that typically requires lunches and happy hours to network, with prospects or with clients.

Prospect Rant #5 – They said they had connections

Rant #5 – They TOLD ME they had great connections

It’s now 6 months later and we have no meetings scheduled.  I have to admit I love this one because it can happen across the board.  It can be your $225k hire, the retired military leader, the retired Agency head, the “commercial expert” or the newbie, etc.  You’re paying for action not cards in a rolodex.  How many former executives do you know that actually handled the sales process?  Not too many – so why would you expect them to do it for you?  You hired them for one reason and one reason only – to make introductions for you and now in order to see your investment flourish you need to pair them with someone who can communicate the opportunity and move the opportunity forward.

It can also happen with your in-house Business Development person, anyone can say they know people and how many CRM’s are filled with names and numbers that represent a person they met once at an event 5 years ago?  Again Business Development is about connections, strategy and execution.  You’re looking for someone who can figure out the puzzle, methodically go about meeting and meeting with your desired prospects, communicate in the most effective way the value that prospect would receive in working with you and moving that prospect along the pipeline IF they are the right fit.  The last thing you want is someone trying to cram a square peg into a round hole.  You want right fit clients and you need the person who is willing to walk away from a deal if in the short or long run they know it’s not going to work.  The frustration and potential damage to your reputation just isn’t worth a few months of revenue.

Let’s be honest, sales is a crap shoot.  There really is no way to tell if someone you interview really has strong connections or not (unless of course you’ve seen this person in action over a long period of time).  There’s also no way you can identify their strategic capabilities or their desire to execute.  What does work is communication and accountability.  This in no way implies you should be a micro-manager however there does need to be a standard for how information is delivered to you and vice versa.

Rant #4 What’s with all these expenses?

As you know from reading out last couple of blog posts we’re listing all of our prospect rants – what brings them to us initially.  Today’s is all about expenses and unfortunately most business owners don’t take into account the expenses associated with business development which ultimately leads to a much higher budget item then originally planned.  Keep reading to get a greater understanding of the full budget challenges:


Rant #4 – what’s with all these expenses?


What’s with all this expense reimbursement?  So Business Development is not just salary, commission, benefits and taxes…it’s also expense reimbursement and you should plan for a minimum of $30,000 if you hire someone full time.  Here’s what we typically see:

  • Mileage – at or near the IRS reimbursement rate, you should expect 800-1500 miles on average per month
  • Memberships – some groups are $35 a year while others are $30,000, you’ll need to determine a budget and which groups fit your target profile
  • Event fees – typically range from $30-400, including fees for appropriate trade shows which could be upwards of $2500
  • Phone reimbursement – typically capped at a monthly number or fully paid for by the company and may be company equipment
  • Parking and tolls
  • Taking clients/prospects/partners out to breakfast/lunch/dinner/drinks


When I was employed in a BD role years ago, my monthly expenses averaged $1200-2000 and that didn’t include the memberships…this was also over 5 years ago.  If you decide to hire full time you should plan for expenses and budget, be sure to discuss this budget with your BD staff.  I’ve had corporate credit cards and I’ve had to deliver expense reports biweekly.  For those that travel outside of the region you should expect flights, trains, rental cars, hotels, per diem as well.  This would also be the case if you need to attend a conference out of the area.

I’ve found that most BD outsourcing firms cover their expenses in house with the exception of out of the area travel which is typically only if requested and approved by the client ahead of time.  So typically if you use an outsourcing firm for business development its one flat rate monthly plus commissions.  We have seen some outsourced firms bill for expenses so if you’re in conversations it’s important that you know what you will and will not be responsible for and for how long.


Springboard Prospect Rant #2 – I Can’t Keep a Sales Person

Continuation of the Bob London of London, Ink “Customer Rant” posts, see previous posts for more information and the slide share of the presentation.

Springboard Prospect Rant #2– I can’t keep a SALES Person

Typically when a prospect finds us it’s because they’ve tried the traditional route and it just isn’t working for them.  They’ve hired 2-3 sales people over the last couple of years and they have either left or failed.  The issue may be the hire, or it may be in the process, the management of the sales person or in management altogether.   Here’s what we typically see:


  • They hire the person based off how they interview and their resume, not qualifications or references – interviews and resumes aren’t always 100% accurate
  • They hire the person who has spent their entire career doing something other than sales and yet expects them to be closing deals in 2 months – this is a person who requires training and mentoring
  • They hire family or friends where the challenge becomes accountability, how do you tell your child, your friend that they aren’t living up to expectations?  This can be an excellent idea but it can also have damaging consequences.
  • They hire without plans for tools, expenses or process of accountability.  Tools – tracking, Customer Relationship Management, communication.  Expenses:  mileage, phone, lunches, events, memberships, etc.  Accountability – who, what, when, how?
  • They want the professional who comes with a rolodex, who is on a first name basis with decision makers, who can shorten the time it takes to get in the door, who can frame them as experts in their field, who has a process for management and follow up and who can ask and have answered some challenging questions.   This can be an excellent hire and it can also backfire.   Former executive levels at times can fall into the trap of schmoozing with little follow up and execution – if you think about it, it makes perfect sense; they always had someone else to do it for them.  This would be a great person to partner with an in house program manager or business development manager.


Essentially what we end up seeing is the person who should be producing but isn’t getting a very long leash costing the company far more than it should or the newer professional who needs in depth training, mentoring and time expected to perform like a pro immediately.  Sometimes it’s the hire, sometimes it’s the training, sometimes it’s the expectations.