“Have we done a competitive analysis yet?”
“What does the competitive analysis look like?”
You can expect to hear some form of these questions from your Chief Operating Officer (COO) during a gate review. Proposals, and the capture process in general cost time and money. No one wants to expend them without having the opportunity centric intelligence necessary to justify the effort. So, what is opportunity centric intelligence? It is everything you can find out about an opportunity to do a competitive analysis. Everything, even if it’s that the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) likes her/his coffee black with two sugars. Here are some examples of opportunity centric intelligence that will provide value to your competitive analysis:
- Documents issued by customer agency. Though this obviously includes the current Government RFP, it also includes the previous solicitation documents. Changes in acquisition strategy cause the Contracting Office extra work. There had to be a reason, so do some digging and make it part of your competitive analysis.
- Information gleaned from meeting with the customer. A common mistake during a customer meeting is giving a rapid-fire capabilities brief. Design your brief to solicit input about the following:
- Hot button topics
- Issues with incumbent
- Their vision of what they want to accomplish
- Timelines for RFP release
- When you identify teammates, find out (without violating an existing NDA) if your potential subcontractors have been approached by other potential primes. You may find out who else is in the game.
- Analyze the spending on the current contract and where the work was done. Also, research whether it was by the prime or a subcontractor. You will need to know the incumbent funding as part of your price to win strategy.
- Submit any Freedom of Information Act requests as early in the capture process as possible – it can take a while to get a response.
- Have capture planning sessions with your exclusive subcontractors. This is a great opportunity to find out any street talk they may have heard.
- Your competitive analysis should be reflected in your PWin – this is how you quantify your competitive position.
What Data is Needed for the Competitive Analysis?
Capture2Proposal allows you to view both the prime and the subcontractor analytics for opportunities. This is intelligence that can make or break your effort during the proposal evaluation. All of us are familiar with that Section M evaluation criteria statement, “…the importance of total evaluated price as an evaluation factor will increase with the degree of equality in overall technical merit of competing proposals.” If you’re bidding Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA), you have to know how much to bid without leaving money on the table. In fact, the same holds true with Best Value since you have to assume that one or more proposals will equal yours for the technical evaluation. You have to perform a competitive analysis for your Price-to Win strategy if you want to submit a winning proposal.
Capture2Proposal (C2P) provides powerful tools for performing your competitive analysis. With very little effort, you can view Contractor Analytics:
- Contract award ceiling value
- Spending by year
- Contract Modifications
- Modification Number
- Effective Date and End Date
- Funding Obligation
The above information can be exported to Excel to allow you to triangulate your Price to Win. For any contract of $7 million or greater, C2P provides a breakdown of spending by location. Also provided in our Contractor Analytics, are all subcontractors. Capture2Proposal is the opportunity centric intelligence platform that will provide you the following information by a subcontractor:
- Task and Description
- Funding Date
The above information not only identifies the incumbent’s subcontractors but also provides you insight on those that may not be satisfied with the workshare that they received. We all know that subcontractors often find themselves jubilant at being on a winning team only to discover they were added to help bring down the price, meet small business goals, or because they checked a capabilities box in the PWS. Jubilation without substance turns sour; this is an opportunity to identify teammates that can help you win.
Business Development (BD) is an art, one that requires hard work and years of experience to master. Part of that mastery is to understand the intricacies of performing an effective competitive analysis. Along with the hard work and experience, the BD professional must also have reliable data and the tools to apply that data. C2P provides the data, and it provides the tools to enable the BD professional to perform at the top of his/her game. Get it right, and you may find yourself at an award kickoff watching the COR stir those two spoons of sugar into their cup of black coffee!