Preparing for the start and finding a way to extend the 30-day proposal timeline to 180 days or more includes understanding the Capture Manager’s role to develop Win Themes. Now, let's consider the Proposal Manager’s role in Win Theme development.
Proposal Managers implement the strategies developed during Capture Planning, but they also guide the business development team through the proposal process. If you want to win more government contracts, there are many things a Proposal Manager can do to support Win Theme development:
Create a Win Theme template to focus the team on what data needs to be collected.
Lead a strategy workshop to brainstorm customer concerns, features, benefits, discriminators, and proof points. Solicitate inputs from teammates who have knowledge of the customer and the PWS. Get inputs from those who used to work either for the incumbent or for the government customer.
Be a facilitator who asks questions, stimulates conversation, and records.
Find ways to discriminate your team from the competition, whenever possible. Use data from a Black Hat Review to dig further into competitors and find a few of their weaknesses that can be your strengths.
Review strategy data and draft the Win Themes, making sure to refine, revise, and edit until you have compelling Win Themes that will bolster your proposal.
Take the initiative to start the Win Theme process. It can be an overwhelming process to some people. Proposal Managers are skilled at gathering and organizing information. They can make a proposal guide, checklists and templates that make it easy for others to contribute and participate in the process. Proposal Managers know how to collect data from and present data to visual, auditory, graphical, and kinesthetic learners. A Proposal Manager, who invests time to start the Win Theme process early, will notice significant time savings, reduction of rewrites, and an overall smoother process throughout the BD lifecycle.
After you develop compelling, customer-focused, solicitation-specific Win Themes, the Capture Manager will get BD Leadership approval for the proposal strategy and solutions. This approval means that the strategy is locked.
It is still the Capture Phase, and you have just freed up time during that 30-day response window. You can slow down from a sprint to a jog. All of the energy that you put into the Capture Phase transfers directly to the Proposal Phase. The writers now have a roadmap for the strategy and they will be able to tailor their content to the approved strategy. You have already accomplished a tremendous amount of work by getting to this point before the RFP drops! You already:
Know the customer.
Know what the customer wants and needs (Concerns).
Have a plan for addressing the customer’s needs (Solutions/Features).
Know that the solutions will be beneficial to your customer (Benefits).
Vetted solutions with the customer, and they like them (Customer Buy-in).
Refined and revised, and now you have results that are custom-made for your customer (Win Theme Statement).
Received corporate approval for your strategy plan (Corporate Approval).
This is the 7th in a 12-part series Get More from 24 Hours. This series is based on the eBook Get More From 24 Hours in a Day and Win More Government Contracts, which contains the entire series with additional bonus content and tutorials. The eBook is evolved from a presentation at APMP's International Bid & Proposal Con 2021, given by OneTeam's Product Manager, Donna Hamby. Download your free copy of the eBook.
OneTeam is a complete, secure, cloud-based collaboration platform for GovCons to track, qualify, capture, propose and win more contracts with fewer resources by streamlining and automating processes. OneTeam was designed and developed by a federal government contractor to address the lack of resources and time, as well as the pain associated with winning government contracts.