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February 15, 2017

By Ann Martin | Harkcon's Vice President and Business Development Specialist 

So you’ve built your capture plan, done a lot of research and now it’s time to establish or strengthen your relationship with the client staff, specifically the decision makers for the opportunity you are positioning to support. This means scheduling, preparing and conducting a face to face meeting with the client. While email and telephone conversations work well for touch base, establishing a strong relationship and communicating your understanding is greatly enhanced with in person meetings. 

There are a number of key points to remember when meeting with a new federal customer. First and foremost, is knowing what is considered “appropriate” and “inappropriate”. As I’m sure you are aware, you should not give “gifts” of any sort valued at $25 or more (for an entire year!) to any member of the Federal Government. So OK...you can give them one of your nifty pens with the company name on it, but that’...

December 20, 2016

By Ann Martin | Harkcon's Vice President and Business Development Specialist 

A capture plan is a living document, start with a simple outline and expand as you move forward and gain additional information.  Capture plans can be built as a document or as a PowerPoint presentation.  Documents are easier to manage if there is a lot of data captured on the opportunity, but be careful...remember you are not crafting the great American novel! Also, you will likely be briefing the plan to management, teammates, and proposal writers, so it’s critical that you be able to easily pull data from the document for briefing purposes.  Creating and maintaining the capture plan as a PowerPoint presentation makes creating briefings easy and supports minimizing verbiage when presenting the capture plan details.

At a minimum, a capture plan should include the following items: 

  • Description of the Opportunity – estimated value, contract type, POP, include high level summary of tasks fr...

December 8, 2016

By Ann Martin | Harkcon's Vice President and Business Development Specialist  
 

You’ve identified some new business that your company wants to win, now what?  Selling to the Federal Government takes time, fortunately since the Federal Government tends to move slowly, once you’ve identified a new business opportunity, you may actually have the time to “capture” the work!  On large opportunities, capture can take as much as 12 or more months.  On smaller opportunities, you may only have a few months to perform capture before the opportunity is released for bid. 

Capturing the work involves defining a plan with associated actions that will increase your company’s odds of winning. Continuing to collect more detailed intel about an agency’s challenges and understanding strategic plans and budgets will enhance your ability to create and present a winning solution, once a request for proposal (RFP) is issued. 

One simplistic framework for performing initial capture...

September 21, 2016

By Ann Martin | Harkcon's Vice President and Business Development Specialist 


Determining whether or not to bid on a new opportunity is fairly complex. Most organizations require business development professionals to develop and document a Probability of Win (PWin) for each new opportunity being considered.  As with all corporate activities – there is a budget line item for developing proposals and determining how to invest those dollars where they will result in the best return is important.  One tool that can be used to help make the decision on spending money responding to a new opportunity is to calculate the PWin.  There are many ways and elements that can be involved in calculating PWin.  If you google PWin you will find a number of resources and opinions on how to calculate and the value of calculating PWin.  However, from my experience calculating PWin is a valuable tool as long as it doesn’t get too complicated.  The maximum value assigned to each item should be driven by...

August 31, 2016

By Ann Martin | Harkcon's Vice President and Business Development Specialist 
 

As a former colleague would routinely ask when discussing any new business opportunity – “What G2 do you have on the opportunity?”  If we did not have any “G2”, then no further effort would be expended until we had substantial “G2”.  “G2” as I learned, was the term used to refer to “intelligence” in the DOD world.  Intelligence (Intel for short) in terms of business development involves researching and learning everything possible about an agency, their specific problems for which you have a solution, their budget and the competitors that are likely to go after the same work.  Intel is also understanding your company’s core capabilities and identifying teaming partners that may be needed to provide a complete, robust, winning solution. 

Building business in the Federal space is challenging – the length of the business development cycle is extensive.  On a recent contract the RFP was s...

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