Process 3: Capture -- Define Capture Strategy
Let the chase begin! It's time to move into the Capture Phase of Life Cycle’s framework. I am an engineer by trade and a teacher by nature. This activity positions my thinking a little different than most business development professionals. Most BD Pros, develop opportunities appropriately by considering business drivers and shaping opportunities from the "top-down." They engage agency executives and Contract Office to gather intelligence and qualify the business attitude of the buyer. As an engineer, I tend to approach shaping opportunities from the "bottom up," solving problems in the portfolios that support business line. Both approaches are essential to a successful pursuit. Your shaping activity includes validating the technical approach with the customer, tweaking and re-validating. It is an iterative process that begins long before the agency solidifies its acquisition strategy. Ensure that your Service Area Strategy always has concrete actions to guarantee the program reaches the level of service envisioned by the customer. By the time the solicitation hits the streets, you have shaped the customer’s desired solution with a few discriminators built in to limit the competition.
I use an analogy which opens up with the phrase, “one more time around the mountain." I base this analogy on industry promising to take the customer up to the top of a mountain to experience that beautiful view from the top. A place where there are no service disruptions, business lines are rejoicing, portfolios are leveraging the latest in technology, and magical unicorns lead every Sprint planning meeting. Five years later, the customer finds themselves still circling "one more time around the mountain," with the same legacy technology they started with from the beginning. Instead of unicorns, mules lead sprint planning; hard-headed, slow moving and resistant to change. Sprints become crawls, and modernization goals are now a distant memory. The reality is that O&M is necessary to maintain the portfolio, DM&E may not. Industry understands that service disruption is a negative reflection of performance and executes O&M of the program with that in mind. The result is continually modified contracts, the consumption of program funds and agencies are left disillusioned with the industry.
Top Down business-centric coupled with Bottom Up technical approaches is critical to successful business development practice. A balanced approach is what the Capture Process targets. In capture, you evaluate the RFP, assign your capture team, gather further program intelligence, develop a capture plan, engage your team members, develop the baseline Offer Design, to include the Service Area Strategy (Technical Solution), Operational Strategy (Concept of Operations) and define your price-to-win strategies.
The BDLC defines the capture process as "To further qualify the opportunity through the development of a detailed capture plan, target solution and supporting financial data." There's that "qualify" word again. A disciplined business development professional is always asking those tough, qualifying questions. It's time to shape your Offer Design and compare it against your opponents. Upon completion of this process, you have a well-defined capture strategy.
Excerpt - "In Pursuit - Business Development Life Cycle" (c) 2019