Perfecting an Un-Perfect Process
Does your Business Development Team have an effective capture management process? If so, does your company actively use it? You would be surprised at how many companies don’t have a well defined process, as they have relied on the knowledge and instinct of founders to get them where they are today. But you may be less surprised at the number of companies that do have a capture management process defined but don’t use it, at least not consistently. There is an art to effective capture management. It’s a bit like the art of boxing, get sloppy and it can be painful. It is important to have an effective capture management process and to follow it. If you don’t, you may find your company on the ropes.
Basic Capture Management Process
- Once you have identified an opportunity, evaluate it from a business perspective. Does it make sense to pursue?
- Your company does this type of work
- You have past performance
- The potential revenue is worth the effort (ROI)
- What is your Probability of Win (PWin)? C2P has a great tool for determining this.
- Get the Operations Manager’s buy-in. A good capture management process is not all about BD – make sure the people that must execute the work are onboard with it.
- Perform a gap analysis. Ideally, your company should be able to most of the work. Find teammates to fill the gaps.
- Determine who your Program Manager (PM) will be. In most solicitation evaluations, the credentials of the PM are critical.
- Re-evaluate PWin. Do this often during the capture management process.
- Now it’s time for what’s often called a gate review or the bid/no bid review. Steps 1-4 determine whether the opportunity is worthwhile. Now you need to get management buy-in. In a thorough capture management process, the following people should weigh in on an opportunity at the early stages.
- VP of Operations and/or Chief Operating Officer – this individual generally decides if an opportunity fits where they want to take the company.
- Operations Manager responsible for the work – You got their buy-in in Step 3, but they still need to be part of the formal discussion.
- Contracts – They can let you know if there are pricing concerns.
- Proposal Manager – They need to know what’s coming and what will be required to submit a compliant proposal. If it’s new work, this may not yet be known. If it’s a recompete, you can use a good search tool to find a copy of the previous solicitation.
- If you received a green light in the Gate 1 review, it’s time to build your team to fill the gaps. You need a team that can cover the entire scope of work, but don’t overdo it. Many customers think you pose a risk if you have too many team members.
- Get to know the customer and let them get to know you. Some will argue that this step should have been listed much earlier. Here’s a good rule to go by: Get in front of the customer at the earliest possible moment. As long as you go in prepared, it’s never too early in the capture management process.
- Do a Gate 2 review to let everyone know what’s happening with the capture of this opportunity. Often, issues are identified during Gate 2 and there will be time to address them.
- Finally, the solicitation releases. It’s a good practice to review it and many companies do a Gate 3 to make sure there are no surprises.
One final point to consider- Maintain a good record of what has been done. When you start sorting through all the intel gathered, hot buttons collected, teaming discussions, it becomes somewhat cumbersome and inefficient to hunt down an email or locate where a particular travel report was stored. It’s easy to use and keeps all the information in one centralized location. Each time it is updated, a report is generated letting the BD and Proposal team know that something has been added.
Additional resources on the capture management process can be found here.