News & Knowledge Center

Shaking an incumbent out of its complacent rut

Dear Proposal Doctor, I am working with a team that is about to bid on a contract for which they are the incumbents. They have been doing this work for a while and they get plenty of kudos from the customer. However, re-competes are always difficult. These people cannot generate any ideas about how to do things better or differently in the future. They are convinced that they have the answers and that the way they have been delivering services up until now is actually the best way. What can I do to throw a grenade into this scenario? I know that with this attitude, we will lose. -Scared Dear Scared, You are correct. The complacency of incumbent teams is now a thing of legends, and everyone has at least one story of the incumbent we were sure the customer loved who lost and, in some instances, lost big. The...

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Can you hire an effective capture manager?

Three tips for finding the right person

The CEO of a mid-tier company asked me why many capture managers turn out to be ineffective and, in his case, could he have done something differently in the interview process to predict their effectiveness before hiring them. This is a difficult question because most capture managers will interview well, but some will not live up to expectations once on the job. I thought I would share some insights about this situation in this article. The triple threat Capture managers are part business development (BD) manager, part project manager, and part proposal manager. In this hybrid role, they serve to prepare a company to compete for and win the larger, more-complex bids in the government market and are appointed when a company makes a decision to pursue a particular procurement. You should view capture managers as a triple threat—professionals who are skilled in the three areas of BD, project management,...

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Q&A with Bob Lohfeld and Joyce Bosc

By Joyce Bosc in FedBizBeat, February 5, 2013 Ask anyone in the federal contracting industry, and they’ll tell you Bob Lohfeld is the top consultant when it comes to helping companies with their capture and proposal management needs. We had a chance to catch up with him recently to talk about his column in Washington Technology, as well as his thoughts on LPTA and what’s planned for 2013. 1. Of the articles you wrote for Washington Technology last year, what 2012 topics received the most interesting comments? The most popular article that I wrote in 2012 was "100 words that can kill your proposal." Last time I looked, that article had been downloaded 30,000 times. The article I like the most was on taking proposals from good to great. It explained seven steps a company should take to improve proposal quality.  There is so much opportunity in the market to...

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Do I have to understand the proposal contents as the Proposal Manager? Ask the Proposal Doctor

Dear Proposal Doctor, Do I have to actually understand what is in the proposal I am managing? Sometimes this is an overwhelming task, and it distracts me from the blocking and tackling of the day-to-day management. Often the material is technical and written for people who are “inside the bubble” and who understand all the jargon and acronyms. This makes it difficult to know if the writing is not persuasive or if it is intrinsically not understandable to a layperson. Yet it is hard to give direction to the writers if I don’t know anything about the content. How do others manage this challenge? -Struggling to Keep Up Dear Struggling, This is a constant challenge, and you will be disappointed—or relieved— to know that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There is no question that we are better proposal managers when we have a grasp of the subject matter. It helps...

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