The Pipeline. The source of information, the holding place, for all your business opportunities. This is possibly the most important aspect of your organization where technology can make you efficient or leave your organization in the dust.
You may understand you need to "manage" your pipeline best, but do you truly understand how to do this effectively, keeping your team competitive?
We understand that the government contracting industry is unique, with levels of regulations in which other trades do not have to work. The pipeline for government contractors has much more fluidity to it, as complicated, multi-stage, and multi-player opportunities are qualified and "drop off" at high rates when compared to other industries. The addition of the federal government, with its own databases and quirks, into a pipeline, only makes the process more complex.
Therefore, to keep track of what you have "in the works" and to plan for future projects (aka income), a strong pipeline should increase your team's efficiency without costing you extra resources. However, something so crucial to your overall success requires a thorough understanding of the individual elements as well as the right tools to administer them.
Necessary Parts to a Successful Pipeline
Categorization. You cannot bid on every project, and it is crucial that you focus on bids most appropriate for your organization. Having defined qualifications will prevent you from wasting your resources on projects which are simply not the right fit.
Clear timelines. Each type of project your team engages in has a unique lifecycle. How long should the process take from start to finish? You need clear parameters for this, so you do not rush the process, nor let it lag, risking the loss of a bid due to oversight.
Stopping leakage/gaps. The teaming and bidding processes in government contracting can be drawn out, and it is all too easy to have gaps in your pipeline without careful management. The last thing you want to do is to chase opportunities that you let drop or rush to get a bid in at the eleventh hour.
Capture/bid process. This part of your sales pipeline can be bogged down with inefficiencies. GovWin already contains a plethora of opportunities that you can take advantage of, but you must be able to utilize the information efficiently without wasting time (and money) searching through the data. A streamlined process is necessary to get you from capture to bidding quickly.
Analytics. All this information is not useful if you cannot use both your wins and losses to improve your approach. One part of pipeline management which showcases efficiency is in measurable data, and when you throw the government into this, you truly need numbers you can trust. Competition is fierce, and there is no crying in government contracting, so you need a firm hold on what you did—and didn't do—right. Good pipeline management enables you to learn from both your successes and failures.
Internal alignment. Your pipeline doesn't work if your team cannot utilize it effectively. When all members understand how to use the tools you own, you can genuinely say you are efficient. This is why a transparent application and proper training, keeping all stakeholders abreast of the process, is crucial to successful pipeline management.
Stages of a Pipeline, Government Contracting Style
Search. The first thing you need to do is search for opportunities, and this is one area where government contracting is unique from other industries. The government needs contractors to complete projects for them, and you have access to databases where these opportunities are found. However, you certainly don't want to search blindly for every job just because it's in your geographical area, needs some of the equipment you have in your possession, or fits into the timeline you want to fill. Smart pipeline management requires a strong qualification matrix, so you are not spinning your wheels, and assists you in narrowing down the opportunities ideally suited for your organization.
Connect. Government projects often require a host of teams working together. When you need to find the right teaming partner, wading through thousands of potential companies can be overwhelming; this is where organizations need a timesaving method for finding—and connecting with—potential partners. Once you have narrowed down those who may be potential partners, communication is critical. Instead of continually emailing and following up with phone calls, any of which can leave gaps, concentrating your communication in a single platform with notification capabilities allows you to keep a steady flow of information (including invitations to prospective teaming partners) moving along.
Capture. A platform with the capability to provide team details, successes, and expertise, can keep your organization from spinning its wheels. As you are qualifying opportunities and searching for partners on the projects, you want to narrow down—and remove—those who aren't the right fit, either in expertise, capabilities or in job details. Additionally, updating data about your team, other potential partners, and the opportunities in consideration—in real-time—safeguards the process, ensuring the intel you receive is up to date.
Pursuit/Bid. Once you have found a partner and are ready to bid on a job, the paperwork begins. Proposals in government contracting can be laborious, and often involve a mountain of technical language which may only apply to one small portion of the entire project. With so many players in the game, many different inputs are required, which means increased risks. Utilizing tools to help merge the moving parts of the proposal into one can speed the process up exponentially.
Discovering the Right Tools—and how OneTeam Combines Them into a Single Platform
Pipeline, plain and simple. Let's face it; you simply need a great place to store your opportunities. With direct import from GovWin, you combine yours—and the government' s—data to provide your team with an ocean of opportunities.
Customized data. There is a mountain of potential teaming partners ready and willing to work with you. OneTeam helps you find the right one (or more, depending on the contract). Not only do you have access to a lot of detail about potential teaming partners, but you create a company profile that helps your organization shine, with your track record, expertise, qualifications, and a list of core competencies and past awards.
Automated Communication & Invitation Process. With templates and automation in email communications, you no longer must deal with static spreadsheets when tracking your invitation course. Automatic tracking lets you know who is actively participating in the process, and all members of your team are in the loop with the user-friendly dashboard.
Collaboration/Writing Proposals & Contracts. Since government contract bidding usually involves multiple players, real-time data makes collaboration more efficient. With the OneTeam platform, you can create complicated teams with more than a few players, all having access to the same information. Writing the bid/proposal is a huge part of the contracting industry and one where everyone has an opinion, stake, and job to do. Writer packages created in OneTeam are designed just for this complicated step, with the ability to break off portions for specific teams to work on, merge them together, and track revisions and notes, all while using Microsoft Word and its tools.
Metrics. You cannot improve your process without analyzing what you are doing. The OneTeam dashboard clearly shows what your team has searched, bid on, won, and lost so that you can make educated decisions based on the most relevant metrics.
OneTeam's platform is designed to streamline all aspects of your pipeline management process. Opportunities are sorted, your team has a profile which allows an accurate depiction of your qualifications and potential teaming partners are sorted to help you develop a customized combination of players for your contract. Once you have organized the right team, you can create, revise, and approve a writing package that contains requirements and needs for all parties. Save time and labor expenses with a single platform in OneTeam.