7 more changes experts would make to the BD, capture, and proposal process

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” –Alan Watts

In this wrap-up to my 3-part series asking capture and proposal experts to share their responses to the question, “If you could change one thing about the business development, capture, or proposal life cycle or process, what would that be?,” my industry colleagues share their practical insights and suggestions.

  1. I would end the search for the holy grail of a plug-and-play repeatable process for BD, capture, or proposals. Principles apply and rules exist. It’s just that for any given opportunity, it might make sense to ignore or break half of them.Wendy Frieman, APMP Fellow and Principal Consultant, Lohfeld Consulting Group
  2. The proposal process is only as good as its leadership. Veteran proposal managers demand a smooth process and usually get it – building in risk mitigation strategies gleaned from lessons learned and facilitating efficient, timely problem solving for unanticipated issues. While I wouldn’t necessarily change the process, I would recommend it always be led by experienced managers. –Luanne Smulsky, Principal, ib4e Writing Solutions LLC
  3. Not holding business developers and capture teams accountable for going after business they have no business going after. Why waste resources when we are all trying to do more with less. –Betsy Blakney, Senior Proposal Development Manager, CACI, Inc.
  4. If I could change one thing about the business development/capture/proposal life cycle or process, it would be to ensure that the schedules and deadlines are respected and adhered to. Every member of a proposal team – authors, capture managers, proposal managers, coordinators, pricers, graphics, formatters, and editors – has to rely on the others to get their piece of the proposal done in a finite amount of time. If the schedule slips at any level, it impacts the entire team and their ability to get their work done accurately and in a reasonable amount of time. –Mary Beth Frazza, Owner, Frazza Formatting
  5. To help senior executives understand that to develop a capture strategy and develop a compelling and compliant proposal you have to make the investment (time and money). It’s not something you can do on the cheap – you get what you pay for! –Kristin Pennypacker, Principal Consultant, Lohfeld Consulting Group
  6. The bid qualification process is the one thing I would change. If the sales/capture team has not built a good relationship with the customer, influencing the RFP requirements prior to a bid dropping, there is little chance of winning. Going through the motions of bid qualification and bidding on everything ensures people are overworked on the wrong opportunities. –Deborah Brooks, Sr. Regional Bid Manager, TATA Communications
  7. Every successful company realizes soon or later that it needs to establish repeatable processes for conducting capture and proposal activities. To make these efforts scalable, the company must define and manage new business pursuits using processes that work for them. Lately, I have become an evangelist for measuring how well these processes are executed and using these measures to improve process efficiency and effectiveness. If I could change one thing, it would be to get everyone to realize how important it is to establish sound processes and to measure how well the processes are carried out. Measuring the effectiveness of your process is the foundation for optimizing the economic engine of your company. Without measurement, you are just guessing at what needs to be improved. –Bob Lohfeld, CEO, Lohfeld Consulting Group

If you could change one thing about the business development, capture, or proposal life cycle or process, what would that be? Send an email to me at BWingate@LohfeldConsulting.com with your thoughts, and I’ll share your insights in upcoming posts!


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