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THE TRUTH ABOUT CAPTURE: IT’S NOT WHAT WE THINK IT IS

Man is staring at cluttered board, conveying complexity and confusion.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

We just don’t want to admit it.

The Holy Grail of Capture

Or opportunity planning, if the term “capture” is too blood-thirsty for you.

It is a well-structured model of data collection, analysis, interpretation, and transformation of competitive information. The result? An equally well-honed winning strategy. This process generates persuasive win themes that articulate your unique value proposition. That proposition aligns your company’s differentiated solution with the client’s unique buying proposition. It includes your shrewd Price-2-Win calculations. The stylish Capture Presentation delivers this information in an easy-to-read and use format.

With your Proposal Manager, you create a tightly integrated process that flows seamlessly from early client knowledge into compliant and compelling proposal content. Actually, you usually have to sit around and twiddle your fingers waiting for the release of the opportunity, that’s how well-prepared you are.

Seriously?

Is that actually how it works in your organization? Well, yes, sometimes it does.

Character in front of maze
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Or does it go something like this?

You know or suspect the agency is releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP).

Somebody (because you really don’t have an actual “Capture Manager”) starts calling around.

Next, you start a folder on SharePoint called “RFP X Capture Plan.” You dump everything in it.

Then you build a presentation. Some parts are really good. Others are speculation, optimistic euphemisms, or stuff you made up. You have a Teams call to go through it. You assume most attendees are multi-tasking (itself an optimistic euphemism), not really paying attention. After about 20 minutes the Manager says, “Hey, I have to jump off for another call,” and drops off. Thirty seconds later, everyone else is gone.

And then it gets real…

When the RFP is released, you email the “Capture Plan” to the Proposal Manager, and let her know the Manager was on the call and effectively signed off on it.

First, the Proposal Manager opens the capture plan. The goals of the agency are not the same as the ones in the RFP. That could be because the management changed six months ago and there is a new vision, but the plan wasn’t updated. The win strategy seems to depend heavily on price, which seems weird, because cost is only worth 20% of the points. There is no explanation for this weight.

Even so, there ARE win themes. But, they seem hopelessly generic: “Our solution offers the best value at the lowest risk to meet your goals for effective production.” Differentiating? Is it something any company would say? “We have a pretty good product; it’s a little risky, but we think you can use it” said no company ever. And then you get to the Red Team. Everyone is astonished at the lack of real client knowledge driving a clear-cut solution framed by insightful section themes, proof points, and testimonials. [I can help with this here.]

What now? After the blame-storming finishes up, a lot of people jump in and start trying to fix the proposal, which remains pretty much a mess until it goes out the door. Maybe you luck out and everyone’s proposal is not very different. Or maybe not.

Now that you mention it –

While we’re talking, does this feel way too familiar? Well, there is something you can do about it. Join me here for the next “On the Horizon” where I talk about Practical Capture. Want to DIY? Join APMP and access the APMP Bok.