The typical company spends on average 10% of their revenue target on Bids and Proposals (B&P). Risks that increase the B&P budget include poor bid decisions, an immature solution, insufficient training and tools, large review teams producing comments that are not actionable, and lack of executive support. With constrained budgets and increased competition for smaller work share, contractors cannot afford to waste B&P dollars.
Lohfeld Consulting Group’s Principal Consultants Brenda Crist, CPF APMP, and Lisa Pafe, CPP APMP, recently presented an interactive webinar, Doing more with less – and winning more, which highlighted how to increase productivity and win rates.
Here are some questions submitted by webinar participants and the answers Lisa and Brenda provided.
Q: Budgets are established without good planning inputs – how do you address this?
A: Start comparing actuals to budgets containing poor quality data immediately, and use the new data to make adjustments to your budgets. Also, start identifying and baselining key performance indicators.
Q: How has the growing percentage of streamlined acquisitions with quick-turn task orders (IDIQ vehicles) affected the B&P lifecycle and best practices?
A: Whatever process your company adopts, it must be able to adapt to changes in the market. We recommend establishing a process that can easily be tailored to circumstances. For shorter turnaround procurements, try to apply the Agile methodology with iterative, rolling reviews. Leverage your templates and re-use materials for quick responses.
Q: What artifacts or data does the capture team use to architect a winning solution prior to a solicitation’s release?
A: The most important artifact is any information provided by customer, including customer interview notes, emails, reports, etc. Also, gather secondary information about the customer including the customer’s budget tolerance, acquisition history, and strategic documents. I then collect information about competitors’ solutions and technical information from service or product vendors to develop the winning solution.
Q: What part do competitive analysis and black hats play in the capture and B&P process?
A: Competitive analysis helps: identify key competitors, predict competitor strategy to better position ourselves, assess how competitors stack up against customer needs and evaluation criteria, identify gaps in our strategy, develop our teaming strategy, obtain information to help influence and shape the procurement, and develop price to win.
The role of black hats is to give the team insight into how a competitor might beat us and evaluate our strengths and weaknesses versus the competition. Black hat team members assume the identity of each competitor as well as our own company, and present the respective competitors’ win strategies to a mock evaluation board. The results give insights into how to strengthen our proposal.
Q: Is 10% the industry standard spend for B&P?
A: 1% is the industry best practice; however, I see so many B&P dollars wasted that 10% is not uncommon especially for smaller bids
Q: Given a 1% B&P budget of the opportunity value, how would you apportion this 1% during proposal phases—capture, proposal development and post submission?
A: 20% prior to the proposal, 75% during the proposal, and 5% for clarifications.