Creating & Maintaining a Healthy Pipeline

Effective pipeline management is the foundation of your company’s financial health. One way to accomplish that is with a healthy pipeline. Whether you have a formally recognized pipeline or not, you still have work that you plan to bid and win in order to keep your company in business and your people employed. Here are some essential elements of pipeline management:

  • Identify opportunities
  • Maintain a healthy BD pipeline
  • Prioritize opportunities in your pipeline
  • Pipeline oversight through monitoring and reporting

The first step to pipeline management, of course, is to have a pipeline as part of your business development strategy. Capture2 recommends strategically identifying opportunities to fill your pipeline. This will require searching and mining for each golden nugget. You can do this by:

  • Hop, skip, and jump between FBO, Seaport, SPAWAR, etc. and then create a spreadsheet that you must continually maintain.
  • Subscribe to a reliable, powerful business intelligence solution that will:
    • Identify opportunities across your entire customer base
    • Allow you to add them to your pipeline
    • Manage a pipeline that is automatically updated as opportunities change
A downward shot of a computer with various medical supplies on a table top.

Healthy Pipeline Management is a Must to Survive

A healthy pipeline will provide you with opportunities to bid on that can sustain your company and promote growth at a manageable pace. Here is some insight to consider from Shipley…the most successful organizations eventually pursue less than 30 percent of their pipeline and achieve win rates of 70 percent or greater.” This means that if you have 100 opportunities in your pipeline, you are likely to bid on 30 of them, and to win 21. Build a robust pipeline filled with possibilities, realizing that there will be attrition along the way.

Often, the reasons for not bidding on an opportunity do not become apparent until close to or at the time of the Government RFP release. Therefore, if you don’t keep the BD funnel filled, you could find yourself facing lean times.

The Need for Long-Term Prospects in Pipeline Management

The number of opportunities is not the only vital sign for the health of your pipeline. Your pipeline management should ensure that the potential winnable revenue is sufficient to sustain your company’s revenue goals. Many successful companies maintain a pipeline designed to meet revenue goals five years into the future. The challenge with this is that what you add to the pipeline now, may not exist five years down the road. Projecting five years out allows you to identify this challenge. You may realize that a particular contract vehicle that is currently feeding your company is set to expire within your five-year plan. Pipeline management this far out allows you to identify the need for new contract vehicles to keep your company going. This is what pipeline management is all about.

Importance of a Prioritized Pipeline

  • No matter how large or small your company is, you are unlikely to have unlimited BD and proposal resources. It is important to determine what opportunities are in the “must-win” category. There will be times when Industry Days for two opportunities fall upon the same day on opposite coasts.  Or, multiple government RFPs release at the same time. You must do an opportunity assessment to determine which ones get first priority. Some of the variables commonly used to prioritize opportunities: New work or recompete? – This is a significant consideration.  If it is a recompete, then likely you have employees whose job is on the line. Additionally, if you are the incumbent, you likely have a high PWin.
  • Value – It’s not just about award value, but rather a combination of how much revenue can you expect if awarded. If it’s a MAC, be realistic about the value of the Task Orders you can expect to win.
  • Do you have the ability to submit a compliant and competitive proposal? Things to consider are:
    • Ability to price it to win
    • Strength of past performance
    • Ability to meet staffing requirements
a screenshot of the C2P app showing the Pipeline Management feature

Pipeline Management Monitoring and Reporting

You need some type of opportunity management system that allows you to build the pipeline, assign responsibilities, ensure effective capture management, and keep both the management and the BD team informed.  In order to exercise effective pipeline management, you must be able to:

  • View your pipeline
  • Be able to sort, display, filter and report on what you have in your pipeline
  • Assign responsibilities
  • Perform opportunity assessment
  • Generate reports that keep both management and the BD team informed

If you have a hundred opportunities in your pipeline, you cannot afford to spend time each day trying to see if something has changed. You need a business development tool that is dynamically linked to each opportunity’s authoritative data source and alerts you when a change occurs. Capture2Proposal (C2P) pulls data from more than a dozen Government data sources and provides each of the above-listed features. It’s powerful, reliable, and extremely versatile.

Regardless of what product you choose, or your method of pipeline management, we encourage you to make a New Year’s resolution to make it happen in 2019. Do it for the health and vigor of your company.