As Industry increasingly invests in working virtually, this is the perfect time to perform an in-depth opportunity pipeline review. Companies use a variety of tools to manage their pipelines (SalesForce, Microsoft CRM, Excel, etc.). These tools facilitate developing “just in time” reports or snapshots of any part of the pipeline; you can showcase these portions of the pipeline in your virtual meetings and update them in real time.
Before using one of these tools, it is important to prepare. Start by reviewing how your opportunity pursuits become part of your pipeline. Identifying in which “quadrant” of pursuit they fit is the first step. This helps the team understand the challenges that lie ahead in the pursuit:
Once the quadrant is identified, the details of pipeline development and population can be addressed:
- Assess your capture status:
- Schedule meetings with your capture managers and market leadership to examine the capture status of all opportunities in your pipeline, updating any pertinent information, including RFP release dates, award dates, potential contract extensions, etc.
- Move through the opportunity inventory, line item by item. This takes time but is worth the investment in discussion.
- Identify early opportunities:
- Scrub the pipeline for opportunities that have been “neglected,” or are still so new (e.g., Requests for Information (RFIs), Market Surveys, “blue birds” [unexpected opportunities on which you have minimal information]) they haven’t been fully qualified or assigned a capture manager.
- Make decisions on what you need to do to push these early opportunities out of pre-qualifying into qualifying and formal capture phases.
- Assess the landscape:
- Review your understanding of the customer’s requirements and the competition.
- Discuss your potential Strength-Based Solutions to the customer’s challenges. These will demand significant effort in developing fully, but early explorations of the solution approaches pay
- Plan your customer interactions:
- Update your customer call plan and develop execution strategies and schedules for meeting with the customer as soon as possible. Even when future calendars are uncertain, preparing for these interactions can be done early in the process.
- Identify the best SME, BD, capture, or corporate leadership for participating in these meetings.
- Perform gap analyses and start building the team:
- Identify gaps against anticipated work for each of the opportunities to inform teaming strategy.
- Reach out to select companies you anticipate may be important to fill gaps in specific captures.
- Initiate resource planning:
- Begin assignment of capture managers, solution architects, subcontracts staff, those needed to facilitate teaming, price-to-win specialists, proposal managers, and others with key skills as you plan for and initiate captures.
- Bring those key staff together (virtually!) to begin more detailed capture discussions.
- Begin outreach to customer staff:
- Discuss recent contacts and solicitation approaches with acquisition officials.
- Discuss upcoming needs and challenges with technical customer staff.
- In both cases, maintaining relationships is important.
These activities all fit into the overall capture continuum (below), but early thinking and discussions are key to successful capture and win.
Once these activities are underway, a pipeline should be built (an example of this is shown below). Regular reviews of the pipeline elements and any changes since the previous review are important to show both status and progress.
By Doug Himberger, Principal Consultant and Liz Skarlatos, Managing Director, CPP APMP, both with Lohfeld Consulting Group.
Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.
As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Go-to-Market Strategy, Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $135B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.