Capture management requires planning

A conversation with Bob Lohfeld

Bob Lohfeld

Q: What is capture management?

Capture management is everything
a company does to raise its win probability
between the time it decides to pursue an
expected government contract and the time
the RFP is released.

Q:How does it work?

After identifying an opportunity
before the RFP is released, the company performs
an early stage qualification
review to make sure the deal fits the
company and that there is a reasonable
chance of winning. A capture team is
then created from the line operation or
from a standing group of capture executives.
These are people who know how to orchestrate
activities in the marketplace and in the company.
They become the champions for the pursuit
of the activity, bringing in technical experts,
business development experts and consultants
as needed. Together they form the capture team
and go after the contract requirements.

Q: What do they need to know about the contract
they're going after?

They need to try to learn the competition's
strategy, challenge its price to win, build
a teaming strategy, put that in place and deal
with the risk in a proactive way. All of these elements,
if they are enacted properly, increase the
probability that the company will be selected.

Q: Who are the best people in the company
to make up a capture team?

The responsible corporate executive
designates a capture executive to represent
him or her on the team. It would also
include the business executive involved with
the client agency, perhaps an operations or
service delivery manager, a program manager
who will perform the contract, the person
who will write the response to the RFP, and a
few subject-matter experts who will join the
team from time to time as needed.

Q: How do you become a proficient capture

It takes great natural ability ? it's
in their DNA and they know how to win ?
and great coaching. It is someone who can
help raise your level of competitiveness in
the market, not just march through the

If you're going to play, become obsessed
about winning. Anything short of that, you're
just a tourist in the market.

Q: What pitfalls do companies need to
avoid when forming a capture management

First, the capture executives
must be the best and brightest employees
in the company. Too often, companies
don't have that caliber of people
or too few of them, and the task goes to
people who aren't ready to play at that
level. The second pitfall is assuming
that capture managers can also perform
their regular day jobs. The third one is
the one that probably galls me the most.
There are too many people in the market
who call themselves capture managers when
all they are really doing is populating
PowerPoint charts with data they collect,
which is inconsequential to increasing the
win probability.

Q: How can small contractors use capture

Smaller businesses go after smaller
contracts. That can be done with just a couple
of people, but the process is the same. It's
just scalable.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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