Sell It Then Worry About Capturing It

"Capture Planning" in the federal market usually involves opportunity identification, plan how to "capture" the opportunity, and write the proposal in response to the solicitation. Specific responsibilities of a capture planner usually include:

  1. Identify an upcoming contract opportunity (best done through existing contracts and customers)
  2. Sell the customer that you are the answer to their prayer
  3. Plan its "capture" in a database
  4. Help write a proposal for the opportunity when the government finally decides to make a buy (usually many, many months if not years later)
  5. If you lose, console the staff, get a debriefing, and try again (more often the case than most would like to admit)

Combining all of responsibilities in a single person is problematic. Selling is hard. Most technical staff members and subject matter specialists are good at performing contract tasks. But few are good at selling a customer and at the same time appearing like they are not selling, but solving the customer's problem.

It's easy to say "we are a world-class service organization" but it takes a special talent and intimate, problem-level knowledge of the customers problem to convince them that you have a solution. And the knowledge needed to sell a solution requires that you meet with the customer face-t-face.

Getting in front of a customer is where the rubber meets the road. Federal end users are resistance to taking cold calls because competition is intense in the market and everyone is trying to get through the door. Meetings with new customers are best arranged working with end users on existing contracts or through a network connection or customer referral.

The second reason loses occur is lack of an effective proposal writing capability, fully funded and supported by company management. Books are written on the problems associated with proposal writing. The core issue is that everyone hates it (the bidder and the government) and it becomes an ugly stepchild in many organizations. Did you enjoy writing term papers in school?

A winning proposal documents the solution that you have already sold to the customer. You must sell it first and write the solution in a clear concise, and convincing manner. These two critical elements are often missing in a capture planning process.

Need more information? Contact me, or call us at 888 661 4094, Ext.2.

Or call me directly, I'm happy to answer your basic federal contracting questions.

Richard White
301 908 0546 (cell)

Visit Fedmarket
For inquiries, call 888 661 4094. Press 2.

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