Six Keys to Winning in the #1 Capture Management Process Improvement Lesson Learned
(1) Know the six keys to winning, and continuously assess your Probability of winning (Pwin).
Capture Management (aka Capture Planning) is the process of qualifying opportunities, assessing the environment, and implementing winning strategies oriented toward capture a specific business opportunity or winning a specific contract award. Consistently successful capture planning requires a written, action-oriented capture plan and win strategy. This Capture Plan / Strategy should be focused on the following six keys to winning:
1. Knowledge of the Customer Environment
This environment encompasses the customer mission and vision, requirements, pain points, hot buttons, acquisition processes, and current contractors.
2. Key Personnel
These are the lead contractor personnel, typically those performing contract management or senior technical lead functions. They must have a stellar reputation – preferably well-known and respected by the customer – and be able to meet all education and experience qualifications specified as personnel requirements in the solicitation.
3. Past Performance
More than what recent and relevant work you have performed that is similar to the work you are pursuing (your corporate experience) – how well have you performed that work? Ratings by your current and past customers are critical to providing your targeted customer with a high level of confidence that you can successfully perform the same work for them.
Your company may not have all of the capabilities and experience that you need to provide solutions meeting the customer’s requirements, and you may not have much experience / past performance supporting that customer. By identifying, vetting, and selecting the right teaming partners, who have the qualifications to help you fill those capability / experience gaps (or other attributes such as corporate certifications, knowledge of the customer, unique facilities or products, past performance, etc.), you can strengthen your bid/offer and improve your probability of winning.
If the customer is looking for a change, then there is an opportunity to offer innovative products or processes to implement improvements that meet Government requirements. Innovation is especially important to winning if there is an incumbent contractor who has a bad case of “incumbent-itis” and new blood is needed.
Developing a price-to-win strategy is critical in today’s Government contracting environment. A pricing strategist who is familiar with the targeted market & place of performance can help you obtain an indication of required level of competitive pricing. In addition, your competitors’ pricing approach WRT pricing factors such as Margins, Overhead / Burdens, Escalation Rates, Salaries, and Cost Pools are critical to determining price-to-win strategy.
These six keys to winning are factored into one approach for calculating your “Pwin,” or the probability that the company will win a particular opportunity. Using these six keys to winning as your evaluation criteria, and scoring your company and your competition against the competition is a simple approach to determine Pwin. Pwin should be calculated throughout the qualification and proposal planning phases to guide capture management and planning activities.
As with BD (opportunity identification), Capture Management requires an investment in time and resources, and involves a combination of research, intelligence gathering, and relationship building skills. Capture planning should be managed as a project, with schedule, cost, and performance of capture activities monitored and controlled to ensure accountability. These activities should be focused on winning, with every decision made based on impact to Pwin. These activities are performed iteratively, with results of research and analysis driving refinement of capture plan, win strategy, and proposal by-products. While Capture Management is more of an art than a science, when performed effectively, it is essential to making smart bid strategy decisions and positioning your company to win and capture new Federal Government Contract work.