COMMENTARY

Resolve to improve your win rate

Capture management means defining and refining the process you use to win new business

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a monthly column series that focuses on the principles of capture management.

Let it be resolved that 2010 will be the year in which we raise our new business win rate, write better proposals that cost us less to create and leave the practice of working to exhaustion on late-night proposals as our final fond memory from the year now past.

This New Year’s resolution will probably be made by executives at half the companies that work in the highly competitive government technology market. Yet few companies will change how they pursue new business, prepare for proposals, or handle the demanding task of writing proposals when the request for proposals arrives.

To help achieve this New Year’s resolution, let’s focus on capture management and what companies should do from the time they decide to pursue a new opportunity until the award is made.

Along with examining the capture management process, we will explore each of its activities. Capture management is a defined, repeatable, managed, measured and optimized methodology used by successful companies in the government market to win new business.

For new entrants in the government market, their capture management process is probably still undefined, and the pursuit of every new business opportunity looks like a new adventure. Entrepreneurs will soon learn that successful pursuits follow a similar path, and from that path, a process is born. It is then tried on the next several pursuits and modified until it fits the management style and the dynamics of the market the company serves. This process is then declared to be defined and repeatable.

Management begins to see its value and embraces it as the path for continued success. All new business pursuits are managed through the process, and any exceptions are discouraged. Management follows the process as prescribed, reinforcing its use across the enterprise.

Capture management infrastructure begins to emerge as the repository for data for all capture activities. This repository, with its templates and information reused from previous successful pursuits, further crystallizes capture management as one of the key features of the company’s success. With good data and lessons learned from successful pursuits, the effectiveness and efficiency of the capture process is measured and adjusted to make incremental improvements. As each improvement is made, the process becomes better optimized for the company’s type of business, market and competitive environment.

Whether you are new to the government market or one of the Top 100, you will continually work your capture process to improve your win probability, reduce your new business acquisition costs and improve the quality of life for all those involved.

In the coming months, we’ll take a close look at this process and capture activities such as understanding customer requirements and objectives, positioning to win, creating winning proposals, interpreting evaluation criteria, managing the capture and proposal process, and using lessons learned to improve your win probability. Although we have planned the topics for each month, the best topics come from you. If you have a topic or issues you would like us to address, send them to me by e-mail at the address below.

Until next month, let us loudly proclaim our New Year’s resolution — and when asked how we are going to do that, tell everyone the details will follow.

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