While strategic pursuits, capture management, and bid management are all different disciplines, they are aligned to a common purpose – winning opportunities. Each is a critical step on that path, and in order to be in the best position to win each of these steps needs to be aligned and seamless in their handoff to ensure a client-focussed winning proposal is submitted.
These steps to winning can be defined as follows:
Pursuit management – an opportunity is identified through a targeted segmentation exercise, or a current contract is up for renewal. This could be a competitive tender or an opportunity to position your business so you can submit and present an unsolicited proposal.
Capture management (sometimes known as ‘Opportunity management’) – is understanding, developing and executing your strategy and approach to winning the pursuit. The goal of the capture process is to move from an unknown position to a preferred supplier position with the buyer before the bid is released.
Bid management – is the execution and management of the process of producing the written submission and presenting your case. Winning submissions require executing a deliberate and proven bid management process. The Pursuit and Capture teams play a critical role in converting the insights, customer knowledge, solution that has been developed and tested into bid-ready material before the bid goes live.
The focus of this blog is on capture management.
Capture management is one of the most critical steps in converting new business or re-signing current contracts. It involves developing and executing your win strategy and is your best approach to winning a targeted opportunity.
Capture management requires a disciplined approach to qualifying an opportunity and developing a win strategy to improve your probability of winning a strategic pursuit.
Most importantly, it is the process of gathering insight, building connections, developing competitive intelligence and strategising how you will win. It enables you to strategically engage with the customer, demonstrate your understanding of their needs and position your organisation as the benchmark solution.
To be successful, the process needs to leverage skilled resources, customer relationships / knowledge, and follow a dedicated process. Typically, the process requires resources and key stakeholders from product teams, finance, commercial, legal, project management and HR.
The capture management process
To be successful, Capture management must begin early. Timing is critical as you need enough time to:
- Develop and execute the plan
- Engage with the customer at all levels
- Develop the solution
- Test that solution with the customer and get their input.
Successful Capture management strategy and execution can take between six and 24 months to create and complete.
Four essential capture management components for success
In our experience, there are four essential components to capture management:
Capture plan components
So, what kinds of information should go into your capture plan? The ‘inputs’ are critical, as they drive the ‘outputs’ and effectiveness of the execution.
Capture planning and management is organic and changes based on customer feedback and solution innovation.
Remember to include any information that will inform your win strategy or provide background on the customer.
Material and information to include in your capture plan:
- Opportunity description
- Opportunity owner
- Internal stakeholders
- Strategic importance
- Pipeline Stage
- Buying cycle – ie what stage is the customer at?
- Financial such as revenue, GP, EBITDA and CAPEX / OPEX requirements
- Contract length
- Target close date
- Expected go-live date.
- What is the customer outcome – What is the customer looking for, and what is the problem to solve?
- Strategic fit – Is this aligned to your strategy?
- Product fit – does this align to our product strategy?
- Profit potential – What is the long-term play?
- Risk evaluation – What risks have been identified and what information do we need that we don’t have?
- Financial evaluation – Are we clear on volume, investment, potential etc.?
- Do we want it – Is this the type of work / customer we want?
- Can we win it – Are we well positioned, with full knowledge of decision-makers and competitors?
- Can we deliver – if we win it, can we deliver it?
Capability to win
- Compelling event – what is the mechanism driving the customer requirement and decision-making?
- Key decision maker(s) – have we identified key decision makers and their burning platforms?
- Buying group / stakeholders – Who is the broader buying group, and how well are we networked to them?
- Key person of influence – have we identified or ‘sponsor’?
- Formal & informal buying criteria – What are the defined and undefined criteria?
- Identify threats – what are the potential threats impacting the customer to make a decision in our favour?
- Competitive landscape – Who are our competitors, and how do we stack-up against them?
- Market – evaluation of market and economic factors that may influence selection.
- What are the details of our proposed offering?
- What is the value for the customer?
- How does it align with the customer’s strategic priorities and address their hot button issues (ie Customer Journey).
- Customer engagement
- Internal stakeholder engagement
- Solution development / innovation.
The benefits of capture management
When executed properly, capture management transforms an informal process of relying on gut feelings to influence a customer into a methodical approach based on research and facts. In some cases, there is no informal process in place! Beyond the primary goal of being the preferred supplier, additional capture management benefits include:
- Clear opportunity qualification
- Increased chance to win at a premium price-point based on customer intelligence and relationships
- An accelerated deal timeline
- A more qualified pipeline
- Pipeline velocity
- Stronger customer experience.
When should you use a capture management?
Your time is valuable, and capture planning is a long and detailed process. Naturally, not every RFP requires an in-depth, long-term strategy. For the highest possible return on investment, capture planning should be used primarily in pursuit of high-value, complex opportunities with major customers.
You should consider creating a ‘scaled’ capture management program as even straight forward or lower value opportunities can deliver significant results. Use consolidated plans that focus primarily on customer needs, the competitive landscape and the best possible solution.
Winning business through capture management requires investment in time and resources. But, if you’re able to improve your win rate and convert strategically important and commercially valuable contracts, it’s worth it.
Do you want to be set up to win? If you have an opportunity that you can’t afford to lose get in touch with JMA – we’ll help you win.
Tender readability remains a problem for some in the 21st century. I still see submission documents that cling to a handful of really old hat tender presentation and formatting techniques. I suspect this is because some of these ‘rules’ are viewed as being more appropriate to a ‘formal’ style of document such as a tender. […]