News & Knowledge Center

What the Government Won’t Tell You About Your Proposal

When you talk, be prepared and know what is left unsaid.

Congratulations, your proposal has made competitive range, and the government has contacted you to discuss your offer. What the government will and won’t tell you in these discussions can be a surprise to the unprepared bidder, but sophisticated players know the rules and what to expect. First, it is important to know if your dialogue with the government is a discussion or a clarification. There is a difference, and it is important to which type of communication is being requested. Discussions are a formal part of the federal procurement process that allows the government to engage in a substantive dialogue with offerors. They occur after the competitive range determination. If you engage in discussions, a meaningful two-way exchange of information, then you are entitled to revise any part of your proposal you desire — unless, of course, the government tells you otherwise. If you engage in clarifications, responding to requests...

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What Drives the Best Capture Managers?

The need to win is the key when picking the best person to chase the big contracts.

This article with Bob Lohfeld was originally published in Washington Technology magazine October 9, 2009. By David Hubler Good capture managers are known for their business and technical skills, understanding of complex government requirements, and intimate knowledge of their company’s competencies. But outstanding capture managers have at least one other asset: an innate drive to win. “Nobody is born knowing how to program a computer. But the competitiveness, I think, is born,” said Bob Lohfeld, president of Lohfeld Consultant Group, a consulting firm that specializes in capture management. “And you’ve got to have gifted ability if you’re going to play at a level of professionalism that a larger company and a successful company will demand.” Some industry experts liken capture management to the sports world, where overall excellence is rare and therefore highly valued. “Good or excellent capture managers are very hard to come by,” said Eric Gregory, senior vice president...

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Planning for Better Capture Management

Capture management is everything a company does to raise its win probability between the time it decides to pursue an expected government contract and the time the RFP is released.

Interview with Bob Lohfeld Q: What is capture management? Lohfeld: Capture management is everything a company does to raise its win probability between the time it decides to pursue an expected government contract and the time the RFP is released. Q:How does it work? Lohfeld: After identifying an opportunity before the RFP is released, the company performs an early stage qualification review to make sure the deal fits the company and that there is a reasonable chance of winning. A capture team is then created from the line operation or from a standing group of capture executives. These are people who know how to orchestrate activities in the marketplace and in the company. They become the champions for the pursuit of the activity, bringing in technical experts, business development experts and consultants as needed. Together they form the capture team and go after the contract requirements. Q: What do they...

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3 Steps to Improving Your Proposals

Break the cycle of relearning key lessons each time around.

No proposal is ever perfect. Every company executive wishes he or she had just a few more days to tweak the last sections. But after the proposal goes out the door, it is time to reflect on what did or did not go well in the proposal process and what could have been done to improve the outcome. A review of lessons learned is a valuable step in improving proposal development efficiency and raising your win probability on the next bid. Surprisingly, not all companies do such reviews. Even more surprisingly, many companies that do them repeatedly make the same mistakes. The review should follow the same process after every significant proposal. The process has these three fundamental steps: 1. Gather data. Give the proposal team a few days to settle back into its normal operations before trying to collect information about the last proposal. People need time to reflect...

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