Exclusivity decisions in Teaming Agreement management can be like performing a balancing act. Get a little off center and a promising teaming negotiation can fall apart. For a Business Developer, an essential element of TA management is carefully balancing exclusivity requirements. It can be a determining factor for the prime whether they win or lose while bidding an opportunity and competing for Task Orders (TO) on a Multiple Award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (MAC IDIQ). The prime should try to obtain an exclusive Teaming Agreement (TA) with its subs whenever possible. However, it becomes most critical to have an exclusive TA if the sub:
- Brings a unique set of capabilities and experience that can differentiate a company from a competitor
- Is well known and liked by the Government customer
- Has a pricing model that enhances the team’s Probability of Win (PWin)
While each of the above factors increases the value of the sub to a team, it also means that the sub can shop around for the best partner. Here is what’s on the shopping list of a savvy sub:
- The prime with the greatest PWin
- A meaningful workshare with a prime they trust to honor the TA
- The ability to bid competitively for TOs if the opportunity is a MAC IDIQ
A successful incumbent’s Teaming Agreement management strategy, in most cases, is to require exclusivity from its subs. The exceptions to this are companies that offer specialized products or services that no one else has. The other exceptions are companies whose capabilities and experience are so strong that they can confidently insist on a non-exclusive TA. It may be foolish to let them slip away unsigned because they refuse to be exclusive. This is an area where companies sometimes fail to manage the balancing act. Someone at the top may decide that their company is King of the Hill and all subs will be exclusive. For the BD Manager, this can be a nightmare. Though difficult to comprehend, this does sometimes become part of a company’s approach in Teaming Agreement management.
Teaming Agreement Management Strategies
If a prime is making a full court press to unseat an incumbent, or if it’s new work, it will be a greater challenge to lure the high value subs to their team on an exclusive basis without a solid Teaming Agreement management strategy. There are basically three ways to do it:
- Demonstrate a solid PWin for the opportunity
- Offer a higher than normal workshare, or at least more than the incumbent (if applicable)
- Get them to sign before anyone asks them to join their team
The first two items on the list above go hand in hand. A prime cannot compensate for a poor PWin by offering a huge workshare. Zero percent of nothing always equals nothing. Even if a prime approaches a sub early in the game, the sub will want to know how well positioned the team is. This is an area in which Capture2Proposal (C2P) can help. C2P has a PWin feature that provides tools to both document and improve PWin by suggesting specific remediation techniques. If the prime has indeed positioned itself well during the capture process, that will be reflected in C2P’s PWin calculator. It then becomes the talking points used to demonstrate a high PWin to the sub.
Offering a higher than normal workshare can be problematic and a double-edged sword for the following reasons:
- The workshare offered may exceed what the sub has the skills and resources to perform
- Large workshare for some subs means less for others that the prime may also need on the team
- Often, the solicitation’s Section L requires documenting what work a sub will perform and the rationale for assigning it; it may not be possible to justify the higher workshare.
The advantages of getting subs to sign on exclusively are obvious; it means that no one else can use their capabilities and experience in their proposal. However, if a sub has true differentiating value, then they are likely aware of it, and the prime will have to earn their exclusivity. A strong PWin and reasonable workshare, backed by a history of honoring such agreements is the Teaming Agreement management approach most likely to get them to sign up as an exclusive team member.
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