Be a Student of Your Customer

by Steve Anderson

Last May I wrote about the importance of understanding your customer’s organization in a potential service relationship, i.e., how will your customer interface with your organization as you perform work? It’s not only important to get this right to be an effective contractor, it’s essential to winning the work initially. Continue reading “Be a Student of Your Customer” »

Take a Fresh Look – This is Not Your Grandfather’s OTA

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there (Will Rogers)
By Ed Harrington

Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs) have morphed over time since their inception to create opportunities that did not once exist for Government contractors. Originally intended to access “nontraditional” contractors, foster increased technology innovation, and expand the Defense industrial base, OTAs continue to evolve in their utility and application to US Government (USG) contracting. Continue reading “Take a Fresh Look – This is Not Your Grandfather’s OTA” »

Take a Critical Assessment of the Opportunity

Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. Except, of course, pursuing the WRONG opportunity – that is a far costlier mistake.

Recognizing which opportunities to pass on is as important a skill as any in your business development (BD) approach. Unfortunately, it is common practice to sift through opportunity announcements looking for requirement descriptions that most closely align with organizational capabilities. I say “unfortunate” because this path usually leads to writing many proposals pursuing opportunities with a low probability of win (Pwin). Without a proper assessment, Pwin is unknown (at best) AND often falsely assumed to be high based solely on the alignment of organizational ability with the published requirements. Ability to meet the job requirements is where many assessments start, but it’s much more important to know IF you can win. Continue reading “Take a Critical Assessment of the Opportunity” »

“We’ll Worry About That Later If We Win”

We have all felt the intense pressure of a proposal deadline, when we will do just about anything to get a proposal submitted on time. Every requirement and statement of work item outlined in the RFP must be met for the proposal to be acceptable to the customer. During these times of high stress, it is tempting to say, “Just tell them we can do it – we’ll worry about that later if we win,” even if you have no capability or experience in a critical area. Trying to develop a new capability while under contract to deliver it is much like building an airplane in the air — risky business! Continue reading ““We’ll Worry About That Later If We Win”” »

“I Meant What I Said and I Said What I Meant. An Elephant’s Faithful One-Hundred Percent!”

Many of us who grew up with Dr. Seuss will recall this line from ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’ and know that we need to be careful when making promises. The simplest childhood lessons still apply in adulthood – including when you submit a proposal seeking a federal contract or grant. Continue reading ““I Meant What I Said and I Said What I Meant. An Elephant’s Faithful One-Hundred Percent!”” »

Oral Proposals: Presentations that POP

Part 2 – Planning Your Slides

Last November we blogged about CV’s approach to oral proposal development – how our Plan, Organize, Practice process makes your presentations POP. In this blog, we expand upon the Plan phase.

Typically, your PowerPoint Slides serve as your oral proposal’s official record. So, it’s essential they convey your skills, capabilities, and understanding, and, most importantly –establish that your company is the superior choice for the bid. Continue reading “Oral Proposals: Presentations that POP” »

FOIABles Alert!

Competitors Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to Sneak Peek at YOUR Proposals

A growing trend in the federal procurement market exists where competitors are submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for ALL contracting documentation on bids – and specifically requesting the proposals submitted by the winners. Continue reading “FOIABles Alert!” »

Oral Proposals: Presentations that POP

You’re a good proposal writer. You’ve been trained, understand the process, know how to analyze an RFP and organize your response, and can turn your SMEs’ input into compelling proposal language. So when the VP of Marketing drops an RFP for an oral proposal on your desk, you’re not worried – ‘No big deal – I’ll just write the proposal in PowerPoint slides instead of Word.’ You soon find out it’s a bigger deal than you thought. Continue reading “Oral Proposals: Presentations that POP” »

Requests for Information are Your First Opportunity to Make an Impression: The Value of Responding to RFIs

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

Those that wait for a Government solicitation (RFP) to land at their door miss their chance at giving critical input during the early stages of the government procurement process.  Industry feedback advises the Government’s changes and adjustments to RFPs — PRIOR TO RELEASE, perhaps even customizing the solicitation to suppliers who do the job of responding. Continue reading “Requests for Information are Your First Opportunity to Make an Impression: The Value of Responding to RFIs” »

The Value of Debriefings – When You Lose

The Contracting Officer has just sent you the bad news – you were not selected for award. You get your team together to give them this news and you still try to give them the feeling they have done a great job. But, they start to ask, ”what did we miss?” “what segment/section was not compelling enough?”, “we couldn’t have been vague, we went through the Red Team and recovery process exhaustively”, “how could the government have scored the competition higher than us?”, “was our price too high?” These are questions that require specific answers. You turn your mind to trying to give open, honest answers, but you know you need more information. Continue reading “The Value of Debriefings – When You Lose” »