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APMP Capture Practitioner-Importance of Customer and Competitor Intelligence

Baskar Sundaram
Competitive Intelligence involves objectively understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and strategies of companies competing against your company for business. Customer Intelligence involves the understanding of a customer’s needs—spoken and unspoken—and the capabilities desired of a vendor/contractor to support requirements. Customer analysis provides a big-picture view of the market and opportunity, giving a comprehensive approach to explaining your company’s value proposition.

Understand the importance of gathering customer intelligence

Good customer intelligence takes place over months and years. The opportunity/capture planning team must develop an accurate view of customer needs and desires. The most important information is gained directly from customer contacts. Customer analysis helps the team understand the entire product and/or service portfolio that should be included in the bid.  This strengthens the opportunity/capture plan development and proposal writing and explains how the contract will be executed upon win. This has a large impact on the pricing strategy.

Understand the importance of gathering competitive intelligence.

Competitive intelligence is a well-defined business practice designed to understand the competitive forces and market dynamics that impact your company’s viability and long-term profitability. To gain competitive intelligence, Opportunity/Capture Managers or Bid Managers should first identify the key pieces of information required for a specific opportunity. Customer analysis and competitive intelligence work together to drive the strategy. Analyzing and managing customer and competitive intelligence helps in opportunity/capture planning and proposal writing.

Leverage public sources of customer analysis and competitive intelligence data.

Public sources of customer analysis and competitive intelligence data are numerous and include both primary and secondary research. Find out what sources your prospective customer uses for information and add them to your research. Ask other Opportunity/Capture Planning Managers what publications and resources they use and incorporate them into your research as appropriate. Gather competitive intelligence to understand and analyze the customer’s perception of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses against the customer’s needs. This knowledge helps Proposal Writers show their company’s value proposition in the best possible light. Gathering competitive intelligence is an ethical activity and most sources of information are publicly and readily available. An important source of competitive intelligence data is information shared by colleagues. Proposal teams should work to gain information from others within their organizations

The article briefly details key examinable syllabus area from the APMP Practitioner certification.

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