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  • Writer's pictureDeb Yeagle

#4 Process Improvement Lesson Learned for BD

(4) Know your capabilities / experience, and perform Pursuit / No Pursuit Analysis to make smart bid decisions.

As opportunities are identified early in the BD process, every potential bid must be carefully examined through pursuit / no pursuit analysis. This analysis drives a decision process that includes asking the right questions about an opportunity, starting with “Should we bid?” and “Can we win?”

These fundamental questions can best be answered by looking in the mirror. By honestly asking yourself if your company truly has a solution that meets the Government’s requirements, you can make smarter bid decisions. If the requirements include information technology (IT) services, and your company’s core competencies are program management support and strategic communications, then it may be best to pass on the opportunity. While that example may demonstrate an obvious no pursuit decision, these choices are often clouded by hasty opportunity reviews and the shiny penny syndrome.

A quick review of new business opportunities often leads to poor pursuit decision making (resulting in wasted time and resources) – it’s not enough to simply scan the titles of new opportunities, as they are often misleading and do not represent the actual work to be performed. It pays to invest the 15 minutes or so required to look at the specific and detailed requirements that must be met to successfully submit a bid and perform the necessary tasks for the customer.

Chasing shiny pennies is tempting, especially if you are a visionary and tend to get distracted by new shiny opportunities that are less “boring” with your current product / service offerings. While innovation and strategic growth to support new work is important, it’s also critical to stay grounded and invest your limited resources wisely (time, money, and people). If you decide to pursue new work through new opportunities, keep in mind that the Government requires proof of your past performance in performing work similar to the requirements of each procurement. You must demonstrate low risk, and without having performed similar work for the Government, your probability of winning a bid is very low. To innovate and grow in new areas, consider subcontracting opportunities or demonstrating new work to your core customers as two ways to gain experience in delivering these new capabilities.

Some final thoughts to help you keep you focused and engaged in your core business when performing pursuit / no pursuit analysis and making smart bid decisions:

• The guiding philosophy for the pursuit / no pursuit decision making process is “bid less, win more.”

• “You will always be remembered for the deals you win, not the deals you chased…Bid to win!” – Bob Lohfeld

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