Once upon a time, before my world revolved around a capture management system, I had I convinced my boss that we needed a sales force automation and customer relationship management system. I was so stoked, I had watched all the videos, demos, the sales pitch from the Account Executive and their Field Engineer and I was thoroughly convinced that this was going to transform the way we did business.
Boy was I wrong – and my boss let me know it, repeatedly, for a while. A long while…
I was granted the account and assigned the ‘admin’ role – I was so excited. I set up my login, reset my password, and opened up a gloriously blank screen. There was nothing at all in there. I looked at the sales ‘stages’ and they made no sense to me, as they weren’t aligned with our business model. I called for help, and no one answered – I was sent over to a consulting group who wanted to charge me tens-of-thousands of dollars to ’onboard our model and align our business policies and reporting’.
In short, I was disappointed. There wasn’t even a good playbook for me to follow on what to do for an enterprise sales-oriented business doing B2B sales with equipment delivery (which self-servingly seemed like a pretty common use case to me!).
Fast forward some years, and I’m sitting around a table planning the business model for Capture2Proposal, Capture2’s end-to-end capture management solution. This became one of the key topics Chris and I chatted about with a lot of regularity. How do we design a customer experience within Capture2Proposal, so that the moment a user logs in for the first time, they can already see that this is a solution that will help them win more business? We came up with a few things we wanted to deliver on:
- When a client logs into our capture management system the very first time, they will see the pipeline of future opportunities they have been tracking. We want our clients to see that this is their system and a key part of that is adding in their current and past procurement opportunities. By doing this, we save our clients from the burden of hours of data entry!
- Unlike a sales automation tool designed for consumer or enterprise sales in the Government contracting world, we know who the customer is, what budgets they have, what they intend to spend it on. This is key information that assists our clients with finding real business opportunities. We wrap this into our client on-boarding, where we set up custom search filters that help our clients find future business opportunities that are a perfect match for their unique products/services.
- We wanted to ensure we spoke our client’s language. Too often when you take a sales automation tool from one industry and bring it to another, it doesn’t make sense to the users. We wanted our capture managers, business development managers, and proposal managers, as well as operating executives at Government contractors, to be able to open the C2P app and see stages and phases and tasks and roles that they intuitively knew and understood. Taking it a step further, we felt that by helping to standardize this taxonomy across clients, from prime to sub and from team to team, we could help everyone partner and execute more easily and more successfully.
- We felt that business development should be proactive, not reactive – that we should be able to use cutting-edge AI technologies to identify the types of business that our clients have won before coupled with the types they have added to their pipeline. We now use this to identify new procurement opportunities that a client might take interest in, often well before the RFI/RFP are released. Shifting BD research from being a database crawl to an AI-driven proactive notification ensures fewer opportunities are missed and a much more efficient use of BD/Capture time.
- Lastly, one of our core values is a “relentless focus on customer success” – and that means that our clients win more business more efficiently. We didn’t want our clients to ever say that we only contacted them when it was time to renew their service agreement, though this is too often the case with other capture management tools. In light of that, we designed a model where we are consistently contacting our users with training advice, search assistance, and the occasional opportunity that aligns with our client’s business goals. We measure ourselves on how often and well we proactively engage and have given ourselves a simple yardstick for success: our clients will win more business.
We love that we are seeing some of our early Small Business clients now winning $40-$50m contracts. It lets us know we are doing the right things. It is equally important to us to watch our Customer Success Managers call a client because they saw an opportunity that could help them, or train them on a new capability, or help them manage their pipeline more efficiently.
This window between the end of the 2018 awards season and the beginning of 2019 is a perfect time to evaluate your proposal and capture management systems and processes. If you want a partner on your side who has a singular focus on helping you win more business and feel it is time to put in place a business development management system, we are here to help. Ready and waiting.