Capture factor: Know your competitors

To really understand the competitive landscape, you need to use a methodical approach to identifying and evaluating the companies you'll face. BD guru Mike Lisagor explains the factors you need to weigh.

Editor’s Note: This is the third part in a series on how to assess the win-ability of a new business opportunity. In this series, Mike Lisagor, business development expert, takes a detailed look at the ten major Opportunity Assessment NOW factors that influence winning. Read part one on Understanding the Requirements and part two on Customer Relationship.

The competitive landscape is comprised of all companies that are likely to bid either as a prime contractor or teammate on an opportunity.

Identifying these companies and realizing how you have performed against them is critical for your overall capture strategy.

Some good starting points for knowing who you might be competing against include award announcements, bidder lists/bidder history, consultant advice, and meetings with agency personnel and contracting officers.

Below are a few steps to consider when evaluating the competitive landscape:

  • Identify all companies that you believe will bid on an opportunity.
  • Gather market intelligence to understand each potential competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Sources for this information include: discussions with key industry players, assessment of contract documents such as award fee write-ups, and meetings with the customer.
  • Use high/medium/low indicators or a numerical scale to rate each competitor, then list all known strengths and weaknesses (see table).
    competitive landscape
  • Determine how you can offset your competitor’s strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.
  • Decide if a teaming partner is necessary to boost your overall competency to stand out against the competition.

Many service-related opportunities include bids that require a contractor to provide rates for specific labor categories.

Spending time analyzing competitive rates is crucial and should not be disregarded in your competitive analysis.

While understanding your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses is important, a true SWOT analysis involving wrap rate and cost structure should notably factor into your final bid decision.

Up next: Capture factor four: Forming Your Team.