The Changing Face of Business Capture for Companies Selling to the Federal Government

Contributed by Ed Abner

In the last few years, business capture has changed from a series of one on one meetings with user groups and those in authority to a well-organized stratagem implemented by multi-level professionals with the primary purpose of exchanging information, generating feedback and defining requirements. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the mission: to win.

Most significant in today’s capture process is the need to provide evidence of influence when the request for proposal (RFP) is released.  Somewhere in the document, you should be able to point out your phraseology or key descriptors.  It’s that evidence of influence that validates the capture process.

Steps you should take to ensure evidence of influence include:

  1. Word check your most relevant and timely corporate documentation to begin selecting your positioning statements.
  2. Build a representative Statement of Work (SOW) for this opportunity early on and modify it appropriately as new information is gathered.
  3. Complete a Black Hat Competitive Review that highlights your competition and their most likely themes.  Grade their perceived influence in Quality, Speed to Completion, Transparency, Familiarity, Cost, Risk Management and Compliance to form the foundation for a strategy designed to emphasize your strengths while neutralizing theirs.
  4. Regularly offer your perspective to gain valuable feedback to hone the solution and upgrade your representative SOW.
  5. Select your capture team wisely and include Business Development. Align the team with prospect counterparts and ensure their assignments and information exchange objectives are clear and concise.
  6. Begin the pricing review early and look at it from three different perspectives, using the representative SOW:
    a. Zero-Based pricing—price the effort as if you knew nothing else about the prospect
    b. Market-Based pricing—price the effort based on perceived budget restrictions and history of spending
    c. Bottoms-Up Pricing—price the effort based on hiring from scratch without regard to who is presently on board and may be utilized.

To capture the business, think of it as “Bringing Home the B.A.C.O.N”

B     Build a representative SOW to price and modify as information is gathered
A     Assign information exchange responsibilities aligned with the prospect
C     Communicate your positioning early and often to build your message
O     Offer your perspective on the solution to gain valuable feedback
N     Neutralize the competition’s strengths by knowing who they are, what they do and where they are in the prospect organization.


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