Are you losing bids in spite of devoting significant dollars to capture management? Capture management is a great concept. But most companies lack the tools to do it properly. Well before RFP release, a capture manager should be shaping the opportunity so you will be government’s obvious choice. But several problems make RFP-shaping hard to do.
This post describes those problems and offers a solution to facilitate RFP-shaping: The GovCon Rainmaker Solution. GovCon Rainmaker enables government contractors to stop merely responding to RFPs and start shaping them.
THE PROBLEMS WITH TRADITIONAL BD/CAPTURE, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM
PROBLEM 1: No Advance Intelligence.
You need time to shape an opportunity. But most companies learn about RFPs too late to shape them. They could learn about them sooner.
Companies learn too late about RFPs because they use the wrong sources. FedBizOpps, eBuy, and subscription databases mostly only announce RFPs as they are released. Sometimes the government announces an upcoming RFP, but limits communication to questions and answers and bidder conferences. Not much opportunity for RFP-shaping there. You can often get advance information about expiring contracts likely to be recompeted. You can try to shape those, but overcoming the incumbent contractor’s advantage might be hard to do.
The federal budget is a much better source of advance opportunity information.The government plans and budgets for each project well before RFP release. Finding opportunities in the budget will give you the time needed to shape RFPs. Click here for my earlier blog post How To Find Hidden Federal Contracting Opportunities You Can Shape for more about this.
PROBLEM 2: No Shaping Strategy.
Even when companies learn about opportunities well in advance, they often do not know how to shape an RFP. They do not see their unique capabilities that that would persuade the customer to alter the RFP.
But those capabilities are often there, and you can systematically uncover them. Click here for an explanation of how to do that in my earlier blog post on How To Shape An RFP. Once identified, you can draft and offer the customer RFP requirements for acquiring those capabilities.
PROBLEM 3: No Customer Access.
The Customer Access problem is rooted in the belief that “people buy from people they know, like, and trust.” If the customer doesn’t know them, how can they do any RFP-shaping?
The reality, however, is that executives buy from people who can solve their problems. After establishing that you can solve their problem, they might try to know, like, and trust you before signing the purchase order, but solving the problem is the top priority.
The key then is to find a problem you can solve and make that the basis of your approach to the customer. The challenge is to learn about the customer’s problems. My earlier blog post How To Learn A Customer’s Hot Buttons Using Stories describes the GovCon Rainmaker approach.
Capture management is supposed to shape RFPs, but offers no systematic way to do that. The GovCon Rainmaker Solution is the answer:
- It solves the No Advance Intelligence problem via budget research that identifies opportunities well before RFP release.
- It solves the No Shaping Strategy problem by enabling you to systematically develop RFP requirements for your special capabilities.
- It solves the No Customer Access problem by helping you develop a story that will help the customer understand how to solve his problem.