APMP 2021 Capture and Business Development Conference

APMP invited all Capture and Business Development professionals to attend its sixth Capture and Business Development Conference (CBDC) on January 28, 2021. This year it was an online event! This conference was led by APMP and industry-approved speakers and vetted guests who live and breathe Capture and Business Development!

The CBDC was a one-day, information-packed conference specifically designed for professionals and their companies who are responsible for winning new business. Attendees will get expert opinions, APMP approved best practices, and invaluable mindshare on what it takes to win in today’s technology-driven capture and business development marketplace.

This conference puts you in the middle of a who’s who in the Capture and Business Development community and helps you leave with actionable takeaways. 

If you have missed on demand, you can benefit from our biggest takeaways, insights & actionable strategies BELOW 

  1. Europe Opening Welcome – Rick Harris
  2. How to Build a Capture Function from Scratch – Nicki Dodds
  3. Utopia: How Capture, Proposal and Business Developments Could and Should Work Together For Wins – Jeremy Brim 
  4. Capture: Balancing Discipline and Flexibility for Agility – Eve Upton
  5. Optimizing LinkedIn Pages for Your Business – Pippa Birch
  6. Capture Plan?….Yes You Can! – Lorraine Baird
  7. Power Half Hour – The Key to Inter-Departmental Collaboration: Breaking Down Silos For A Win – Nic Adams and Rick Harris
  8. How Professional Standards and Qualifications Can Boost BD Performance – Alison Mathias
  9. How to Prepare for APMP’s Capture Practitioner Exam – A European Perspective – Tony Birch
  10. Aligning Sales and Marketing for the WIN – Cori Anderson
  11. Capture Planning LIGHT (the must haves, simple way to get your capture plan started) – Krystn Macomber
  12. Building a Culture of Customer Success – Mike Walsh
  13. Process, Process, Process: Capture Best Practice Is Your Starting Line to a Win Every Time – Jay Herther
  14. Why Every BD and Capture Team Should Ensure Diversity – Stephanie Spears
  15. BD in a Virtual Environment – Mark Wigginton
  16. Building Better Capture Relationships Online – Jennifer Namvar
  17. 10 Steps to Improving Your RFP & Due Diligence Questionnaire Responses – Nik Fuller
  18. Keynote: Winning in the corporate world – Graham Ablett
  19. How to Create a Prospecting Experience Worth Your Buyers Time – Dan Marsh, Annika Perry, Len Miller, Mark Beha and Pauline Malazarte
  20. How to Prepare for the Capture Practitioner Exam – An American Perspective – Heather Kirkpatrick
  21. Power Half Hour – The Power of Competitive Intelligence – Charlie Divine and Rick Harris
  22. Keynote: Top 5 BD Techniques to Crush The Competition – Mike Parkinson
  23. The Genesis Work – Dave Patterson
  24. When’s the Right Time for a Price To Win? – Randy Richter
  25. Business Developer’s Core Competencies: What Do You Really Need to Know to Grow Your Company? – Olessia Smotrova
  26. Power Half Hour – The Eight Stages of the Sales Process and How BD Pros Can Discover the Unstated Needs – Neil Cobb and Rick Harris
  27. Closing Remarks & Final Giveaway! – Krystn Macomber,  Rick Harris, Julia Duke and Kelsea Watson

1

Europe Opening Welcome

- Rick Harris

The conference started with a welcome address from Rick Harris, CEO of APMP, who welcomed everyone from Europe. This is APMP’s sixth edition of the Capture and Business Development Conference. There were 476 registrants from all over the world. UK people will get the content first. There will be two keynote addresses at the conference.

There will be many giveaways and prizes. These giveaway sessions could come anytime. All this content will be available till Feb 28th. APMP thanks the UK and all of Europe. There will be 18 hours of content. 18 CEUs which can be applied to APMP Practitioners or Foundation Certification.

Harris thanks everyone for joining and choosing to invest in your professional life.

2

– Nicki Dodds

In this session, Nicki Dodds provides a personal account of how Capture Function was crafted: from the people behind the success to the secret ingredients of starting from scratch. She is joined by Martin Dyer and together they tell us the journey they underwent in WSP to remodel and develop their Capture Function. She points out five needed ingredients for creating a Capture Function. They are:

Baseline Capture

Provide people with the needed information. Ambiguity will be the enemy. APMP Bok defines Capture Planning as the process of preparing a plan specific to an opportunity and identifying actions and strategies to position your organization to be the customer’s preferred bidder. But you need to create your own definition for what ‘Capture’ means to you.

Start from the base by conducting a survey with the team to identify where they stand with regards to the definition of the word “Capture Planning”. Educate people and create a foundation for future planning. Remember to ask, listen and understand the maturity of your organisation.

Draw a Roadmap

Create a roadmap of where you want to take your business after establishing where you stand. Decide what you want to achieve. This is about clearly articulating your journey. There are many models available for implementing organisational change.

The first part of the plan is creating the right climate for change, the second part is about engaging and enabling the organisation and the third part is about implementing and sustaining the change.

A plan could look something like this:

  1. Create urgency-Remember the need for this function and change.
  2. Build the team-Bringing in the right people and getting the support of the higher-ups.
  3. Create the vision-See whether your goal is achievable and measurable.
  4. Communicate the vision-Adapt the message depending on whom you are communicating the key ideas to.
  5. Empower others-Empower the network team to take actions.
  6. Short term wins-Use short term wins to motivate people and build momentum.
  7. Don’t let up-You are close to the end, so stick to the plan.
  8. Make change stick-Now make sure you adhere to this emerging definition of capture that your organisation has created.

Define Capture ‘Function’

When defining Capture ‘Function’, define where you want it to sit, what you want it to do and who it is made of. You need the right people for the job. Capture Manager is a role, not a job description. Here are the role requirements: Client and market knowledge, Sales savvy, Proposal experience, Leadership skills, Broad technical understanding, Knowledge of the organisation and Positive enthusiasm.

Some of the key responsibilities include pursuit management, developing capture plan and winning value proposition, solution and winning price, planning and managing the client interface, and transitioning to the proposal.

Create roles based on the need of the organisation. Sometimes a Capture Lead is like a Capture Manager. They work together with Delivery teams and other parts of the organisation.

Show People What Good Looks Like

Show people what good looks like by creating exemplars, case studies and coaching people and physically modelling these behaviours. Do this on your highest-profile projects. Personally model activities, behaviour and practices. Be consistent with tools and approaches to help it stick. Get others to share good stories. There are different ways to share a story. Creating a video is a great way to engage people and communicate the needful.

Give People the Tools

Once all the above steps are done, it is time to give people the right tools. The first set of tools are Human Tools. It is about getting the right partners who will help you make the right behaviour changes. The second set of tools are Physical Tool. The most important pool is the Capture Plan that will guide people throughout their jobs. Facilitating Tools are also important and proper training should be given.

Provide consistent approaches, techniques and applications which your business comes to recognise as capture. Always remember that this is a journey and a process.  Change takes time and effort.

Baachu Scribble, APMP ATO

500+ bid and proposal professionals from 31 countries successfully attained their APMP Foundation , APMP Practitioner  and APMP Capture Practitioner  certifications. We have 100% success rate at all 3 certification levels! 

3

Utopia: How Capture, Proposal and Business Developments Could and Should Work Together For Wins

- Jeremy Brim

Jeremy talks about how optimised high performing organisations are structured to be aligned throughout the deal funnel. He covered key enablers that underpin success in joining the dots from strategy, through marketing, business development, capture and bids and proposals.

The challenge that most face today is to sustainably and predictably grow your business through increased win rates business-wide. Many struggle to leverage insight, influence clients and to position well for bids. They might also find that they have an industry average win rate on an unpredictable and short pipeline of opportunities and losing bids on quality submission scores.
 

How do you organise the organisation?

Have board objectives that should be reflected in your vision and business plan. The Marketing Plan should be a part of the business plan. The aim should be to increase brand awareness so people know what you are standing for. Have Sector and Account Plans based on your target market. Capture is also an important aspect.

Then there are Proposal and Bid Plans, Pipeline Management, Client Care, Farming and Frameworks, and Data and Analytics. All these plans and departments are interconnected and should be reviewed regularly.

Adding Value Through the Sales Tunnel

Your Marketing Plan should increase your visibility and bring more clients to you. Through Client Development you can show your clients what value you will add to their organisation. Pipeline Management is also important. Have monthly meetings and access opportunities. Decide what to pursue and use Capture. Position yourself and make sure you are unbeatable. Use additional marketing to increase visibility. Always collect feedback and grain the trust of your clients.

Capture

Capture is the missing link and it is a fantastic development opportunity to grow business. It helps you move from an Unknown position to a Known position to an Improved position to a Favoured position.

Value

Value is engineering a well-organised business so that it gives you much greater visibility of pipelines and improves the margin. It gives you the opportunity to grow and helps you retain more clients.

Sponsorships are always good. Demonstrate your value and have someone back you up. Always provide data to back up what you say. Be focused on creating value for your clients and this, in turn, will increase the chances for future business with them.

Trust relies on how well you supply your offer. Focus on even simple day to day relationships. Building trust is critical.

4

Capture: Balancing Discipline and Flexibility for Agility

- Eve Upton

While there is an inevitability to the proposal process once the tender request arrives, capture is far more fluid and complex. As capture professionals, we need to embrace both structure and flexibility to be truly agile. How do we get that balance right? Eve Upton talks about the perfect balance between structure and flexibility needed in Capture.

Capture is difficult and why have people made it more difficult than it should be and made it much harder than it should be.

Why?

Why use the word ‘agility’ with capture? It is about getting that balance between discipline and flexibility we need for capture. We always stick to the script. What is worse is that even our competitors follow the same script. We do not deviate from the script.

Problems

Why do people fail? A Bid Manager who is absolutely brilliant at getting things done winds up failing in Capture. Capture plans created by consultancies sometimes end up sitting untouched on a shelf because the plan is not tailored to the client. Here are some of the problems surrounding capture planning.

Dogma

We have followed certain dogmas that we stick to always. We follow that template all the time. We have a win strategy that covers everything. We write win themes in a particular order and structure. We must use the same software even though we work with different clients in different situations. We never deviate from the script.

Standardisation

We do not question anymore. We refuse to question and think as it is easier to follow a particular script. When the script fails, we need to be the people who look for alternatives and find a better way. We have been standardised and refuse to think outside the box.

VUCA

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity is part of Capture. We face a lot of uncertainty. We lack information. We often do not know the competition or know what the customer wants and know who the evaluators are. We work in a world of uncertainty.

The world of Capture is complex is well. We have to navigate through a lot of things. We need to learn to manage this complexity and still deliver what’s needed.

Everything is ambiguous. There are so many unknown factors that we need to work with. We need to make decisions even when we are unsure and work through them.

Balance

We need to cope with all the change and still be flexible. We need to be disciplined to come to the desired outcome while still being flexible.

Low flexibility and low discipline is needed in transactional order fulfilment. Proposal management requires high discipline and low flexibility. Business development needs high flexibility and low discipline. Capture management is a balance between both these aspects.

This balance is between the desired outcome and the ways to reach there while coping with all the changes.

Solutions

There is no ideal template or process. We need to approach each aspect of Capture differently. We need to take the good building blocks of Capture and look at the outcome. Take the building blocks that are right for you and try to find new ones that work for you. Keep an open mind and find new tools and ways to do things. We need to have a flexible mindset.

Think about the outcome and think about how you can get to it. Do not think of the dogmas and procedures. Do not think in the same way your competitors think.

Uncertainty

We need structure and some discipline even when uncertain. Look at what information you do have and look at the gaps and identify means to fill that gap to overcome uncertainty. Look at Capture Plan as a prompt, as a way to identify gaps. But it should not constraint us. Qualification questionnaire is another useful tool to identify where you are weak. These things will help you focus even with limited resources and time.

Complex

You are trying to put some boundaries and a framework everyone can work with. Be clear about roles and responsibilities and how to communicate effectively. This will set boundaries. Give people the tools to collaborate and this will reduce friction. Have the team meet and agree on certain dos and donts. Make a contract and include things that reduce stress and friction.

Ambiguity

Have a structure to test assumptions. Pre-mortems are also beneficial as it helps in eliminating certain options. Have a call plan.

Flexibility

Remember that the process is always a work in progress. Think if there is a better way to do things. Look for new ideas. Remember that the process will change. Look at the building blocks and see if you can arrange or rearrange the process. Know that there are things we will never know but we still have to make a strategy and find a way to beat the competition. Understand that you have planning bias and put in some contingency.

Three Take-Aways:

  • Have a structure that allows agility. Focus on the outcome. Be a scavenger for new tools and ideas.
  • Embrace flexibility as a mindset change. Capture is always uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
  • Stay curious to beat the competition. It is always about curiosity and the diversity of thinking that will help you succeed.

5

Optimizing LinkedIn Pages for Your Business

- Pippa Birch

LinkedIn is a powerful business development tool. Using the experience of building her own page and increasing her following, Pippa Birch will provide practical tips to ensure you are getting the best out of this brilliant social media platform. She talks about ways to harness the power of your LinkedIn business page. There are ways to optimise your page and make the most out of your page.

What is LinkedIn?

It is a business networking site that was founded in 2003. It is older than Facebook and Twitter. It has over 700 million registered users that you will have access to by creating your own profile or page. More features are being added to it and it has become a versatile platform for users.

What is the purpose of a LinkedIn Business Page?

Your window/shopfront of what you offer to the millions of people (and customers) on LinkedIn

  • Opportunity to show what you do
  • Let people know about your expertise and culture
  • Opportunity for people to follow you and get to know you
  • Opportunity for people to buy your product and service. Getting them to click and navigate to your site and products.

Know Your Audience

Getting your audience right is really important. Just like bidding it is important to keep your page customer focused. Ask yourself these questions to figure out your audience:

  • Who is reading your page?
  • Why are they reading it?
  • Where are they reading it?
  • What are they going to do with what they read?

Set Up Your Page

  • Logo & Banner
  • Overview
  • Organisation Information
  • Call to Action button
  • Add employees
  • Invite followers
  • Post content
  • Grow your audience
  • Analyse

Creating a Post

Many features are available for you to make your post stand out and get the attention of the audience. You can even choose the target audience. You can create a job post and even create polls to gather opinions.

You can even celebrate an occasion to gain momentum. There are even ways to get help and offer a helping hand during the pandemic. Remember that you need to be a magnet that draws people to the business page.

Grow Your Presence

  • You need to engage to grow your presence.
  • You have a business page as well as a personal page to engage with people. Connect with people personally and as a business
  • Like, comment, share, respond to comments. Do not just scroll through. Let people know that you are engaging with them.
  • #Hashtags are a great way to join in a trend.
  • @Tag relevant people and companies since it is a connecter site.
  • Kudos for staff. Give people recognition and let people know you care.
  • Write articles & posts.
  • Join groups that revolve around your area of business and interest.
  • Get involved. Invite and message people.
  • Notify employees.
  • Invite connections to follow.

Posting Content People Want to Read

  • Tailor your content to the audience. Make it relevant and interesting to your audience.
  • Content can include:
  • Your own articles
  • Discussion pieces
  • Reactions to current affairs
  • Other appropriate articles that are of interest to your followers
  • Documents (PDFs/Powerpoints) about your brand
  • Suggest content. Read and share appropriately.  If sharing others’ content, make it clear why you are sharing. Prompt people to join in or call for action.

Visual Appeal

Make sure that your posts and page are visually appealing. Make sure that people get the message quickly. Beware of stock images. Get professional pictures taken. Make sure that you make things easy to read. Use points and paragraphs.

  • Use Logo and Banner
  • Images – 2x higher comment rate
  • Videos – 5x more engagement
  • Live videos – 24x more engagement
  • Pay attention to ow the words are laid out – white space is good, but not too much
  • Think about the platform they are viewing on – computer/laptop, tablet or mobile
  • Content is important but spelling and grammar are also equally important.
  • The important thing is growing the community and creating a community of like-minded people. There are many administration tools available in LinkedIn and you can decide which employee can manage the various aspects available.

Analytics Available

  • Impressions: The number of times a post was shown to LinkedIn members.
  • Clicks: The number of times your company name, content or logo has been clicked.
  • Interactions: The number of engagements (reactions, comments or shares) on your post.
  • Followers Acquired: The number of new followers you gained from a sponsored update. If your post is organic (non-paid), this will be empty.
  • Engagement: The number of interactions divided by impressions.
  • Followers: The demographics and other details.
  • Visitors: People who visit and details of when you had the most engagement.
  • Best time to post: Wednesday from 8–10 a.m. and noon, Thursday at 9 a.m. and 1– 2 p.m., and Friday at 9 a.m.
  • Worst day: Sunday
  • Regular weekly posting gets more engagement

LinkedIn can be integrated into Capture Planning. Find out more about your potential customer by looking at their posts and finding out their interests.  

Influencing your customer

Follow clients business pages and their staff pages. But do not be a stalker. Have a valid reason for connecting with people.

  • Create posts relating to their hot buttons.
  • Be empathetic. Understand their issues and do not post contradictory posts.
  • Also works with existing customers. Like things and make yourself visible.
  • It’s a balance. Do not give anything away that your competitors could use to their advantage
  • Have a social media strategy and make the posts personal. LinkedIn is about connecting with people. So do not lose the human touch!

It is always a great opportunity to meet new people and connect with people. Plan and be flexible. Reply to every comment. Write articles people want to read. Link to other social media platforms. Get your staff to spend at least ten minutes daily to share and like the posts. Do not forget to enjoy the process.

6

Capture Plan?..Yes You Can!

- Lorraine Baird

Lorraine Baird’s session will help to demystify what capture is. The webinar also discusses ways to incorporate capture into your processes to improve your approach and, ultimately, win more. Baird’s deals with three primary questions.

What is all this Capture planning about…and should I be doing it?

When we search the word “Capture” in google we see results like force, catch, arrest, invade. This seems like such a negative approach. But Capture can have positive connotations like gain, secure and win. In the Cambridge dictionary, it is defined as “to succeed in getting something when you are competing with other people”.

We want this positive association. We are in this business to win together. The goal is to increase the probability of winning. It can be achieved in many ways. It does take time and revolves around the Business Development Lifecycle.

Isn’t it just for huge tenders like in the defence and construction sectors?

Most people relate Capture to huge tenders but good Capture planning can be applied to any sector. Many organisations already follow a small section of planning in regular business. Many activities under various Capture phases are adopted by most organisations.

Who should be leading the Capture activity?

There are typically four lead roles:

  • Capture or opportunity manager
  • Proposal or bid manager
  • Programme manager / solution architect
  • Client or account management

Focus on the right opportunities. A robust qualification method involves answering these four questions: Is it real? Can we win it? Do we want it? Can we implement it?

Here are some of the steps involved in Capture, especially those involved in early Business Development planning.

Get Organised

Sit with your Capture team and create a plan. Capture Manager is responsible for this. It should be kept flexible since you are still in the early stage. Get things moving and agree on key activities. Then move onto more details.

Know Your 3Cs

Know your customer. This is where everything begins. Get time to know your customers. Use a contact plan and note down the needed information through each interaction. Get an insight into what their requirements are and whom they are favouring. Update the contact plan.

Know your capability. Once you know the customer requirements you can mark your abilities against them. Do we have the needed capability to meet their key requirements? Capture your advantages and address the potential problems that you need to mitigate.

Know your competition. Identify the weakness and strengths of your competition. Do not work on assumptions. This information takes time to gather. So start in the Capture phase. Use a Bidders Comparison Matrix.

Determine and create your strategy based on these factors. Communicate why you are better than others and why they should choose you.

Be proactive

Work with clients to reach that proactive proposal. Try to influence and engage from the beginning. Think differently.

Scribble Talk Podcast

The Scribble Talk is world’s #1 podcast for all things bids and proposals. You can always count on lively discussions and guest interviews with APMP veterans and brightest bids and proposals folks. Tune into 100+ stories inside 

7

Power Half Hour - The Key to Inter-Departmental Collaboration: Breaking Down Silos For A Win

- Nic Adams and Rick Harris

The Key to Inter-Departmental Communications is a fast-paced session with Nic Adams, CP APMP Fellow, Teradata UK Ltd., who is one of the industry’s earliest proponents of true collaboration.  Nic tells us how to put our ego aside, work together and get the win. He shares real-life examples and focuses on why and what it means to collaborate for the good of the company, customer and the end result.

Here are some key ideas from this Power Half Hour.

The importance of Bid teams is to go beyond their comfort zones and work with other departments. Bid and Proposal teams work with sales and even Business development teams. Include and listen to everyone’s opinions and views. Understand the role of the sales function and incorporate it into the overall plan. The importance of having a team that works together and understand the roles and responsibilities of each member and department is important to winning.

How to increase collaboration?

 Recognising the value of Capture Bid Proposal professionals and all those associated. Most companies do not include professionals in major business discussions and events and they are not pulled into the team. Have everyone join in on the sales function. Have an idea of what the organisation is trying to achieve on a higher level. Transparency is also important. It makes people feel inclusive. Collaboration is key and invest time from the beginning.

The Winning Business Ecosystem created by APMP is based on Nic Adams’s idea.

8

How Professional Standards and Qualifications Can Boost BD Performance

- Alison Mathias

Alison Mathias’s session will cover how professional standards, ethics and industry-wide recognised qualifications can boost BD performance, motivation and retention.

What is ‘professional’?

It is someone in paid occupation and involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. Sales fit into this definition except for the formal qualification part. Every single sector has benefitted from creating professional standards. APS has created a Framework of competencies, a range of qualifications and CPD to support a sales team.

Competencies Framework supports a salesperson throughout their career. It has been build by pulling together people from all over the industry. Today’s business environment is complex. It has moved beyond features and benefits techniques. A salesperson must elevate themselves in front of the customers.

Trust is the number one factor that determines a sale. Having professional standards helps with trust. It shows that you have knowledge, experience and credibility. A salesperson needs to know about the market and conduct research on the needful. Being authentic is also important. Be ethical and have the customers best interests in mind.

Usually, official training include only skills. But training should also include knowledge and behaviour. They need research skills and product knowledge but they also need to be resilient and know time management.

Qualifications should support behaviour change. Real performance starts after knowledge. It requires practice, time and reflection. The information should be imbedded through behaviour training.

Behaviour Change

  • Start with an assessment against a standard. So you can understand what to do.
  • Self Learning is the next step. It includes videos, podcasts and modules.
  • Live sessions are conducted for discussion and interaction.
  • Coaching sessions are conducted. It is person-centred.
  • A person must provide evidence for their learning. It is an assessment.
  • Professional standards are critical for modern business development. Qualification based professional career path is a key driver. It is essential for a sustainable, talented and proactive team.

9

How to Prepare for APMP’s Capture Practitioner Exam - A European Perspective

- Tony Birch

Tony Birch covered four topics in this session.

  1. Philosphy of object test examinations
  2. About APMP Capture Practitioner OTE
  3. Sample questions
  4. Few key details

Philosophy of Objective Test Examinations

OTE questions test the knowledge and understanding of APMP best practices at two recognised learning levels. It is based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.  It consists of six learning levels. Each can be objectively tested. APMP Foundation Examination tests Knowledge and Comprehension. At Practitioner level it tests Application and Analysis. That is, application of best practices for a given situation within a scenario and separation of a complex idea into its constituent parts and an understanding of organisation and relationship between the parts.

APMP Certification is for experienced capture practitioners. It validates real-world mastery of industry best practices and the ability to lead others in their use. It provides independent validation that you are good at your job.

APMP Certification Pre-requisites

To apply for Practitioner Certification, you must:

  • be a member of APMP.
  • have at least 3 years of experience in a capture environment
  • have submitted a completed Capture Practitioner Examination Application

About the APMP Capture Practitioner OTE

  • 150 minutes – English as 1st language
  • 185 minutes – If not
  • 10 minutes break time added
  • Scenario reading time included
  • 8 main questions – 3 parts (A, B and C). Each main question is worth 10 marks.
  • 80 questions in total
  • The pass mark is 50% or 40 marks
  • No negative marking.

The scenario you are meant to read is deliberately kept brief. It contains background to the customer and what they are looking for to buy. It will contain information about customer objectives, timeline, problems. A brief profile of three prospective bidders will be given along with additional information. It is based on an easy business model that is not specific to a country or culture. You can view the scenario anytime. Sample exam scenarios are different from the final exam.

Key Competencies that are Tested

The APMP Capture Practitioner syllabus contains 8 key competency syllabus areas covering:

  • Question 1 – Planning and scheduling
  • Question 2 – Team selection and management
  • Question 3 – Managing decision gates and reviews
  • Question 4 – Developing and managing tactics
  • Question 5 – Developing and managing strategy
  • Question 6 – Developing Price-to-Win
  • Question 7 – Preparing for managing negotiations and presentations
  • Question 8 – Leadership and communication

Navigating and Answering Questions

You can flag a question and come back to it later. You have options to go to the next unanswered question or the next flagged question directly.  Deselect answers and options when you change your answer.

Four Question Types

Classic-Choose one from four options. Just four options, choose the most appropriate one.

Classic with Reasoning-Choose one from four. The options will contain reasons along with the answers.

Multiple Response-Choose two from five. There are no half marks. So choose two options.

Assertion Response-Choose one from five. These are some of the complicated questions. Master the table explaining the key to the options. If your assertion is false, then the options are D or E. If assertion is false and the reason is false then choose E but if the reason is true then the opetion is D. If the assertion  is true then you have three options, A, B and C. If the reason is false then the option is C. If assertion and reason are true you have two options A and B. You choose the correct answer based on the link between assertion and reason.

Some Things to Know

ProctorU is a live remote proctoring service that allows you to take your exam online while ensuring the integrity of the exam.vIf you are using a system that does not allow a proctor to connect with your machine, you may approach APMP or APMG to arrange for a suitable local “Invigilator”.

The invigilator, or proctor, will:

  • keep the official time
  • confirm your identity, that you are alone and have only the permitted support materials
  • ensure that you have selected for the correct the allotted time for the examination

What to do next?

Go to the APMP website and read more about the exam and download the Preparation guide. Take the sample exam.

10

Aligning Sales and Marketing for the WIN

- Cori Anderson

Cori Anderson will tell you why you should bring your marketing and sales teams into alignment and share some high-level strategies and some actions you can take today.

Collaboration is not about glueing egos together. It is about ideas that you did not know existed until after everyone has entered the room.

Why should you align sales and marketing?

You need to because the world is changing. You should because it will make your work better. It is mutually beneficially for both parties. Salespeople are in need of content while marketing people have the content. Silos are really terrible and end up impacting the customers. It can end up wasting the time of customers.

Companies should be organised in a way that is responsive to their customers.  Customers want ease. Silos also kill client experience.

By aligning sales and marketing, companies can generate higher revenue, retain more customers and increase the win rates. Less aligned companies see a decrease in revenue. Salespeople are more on quota from aligning and collaborating. Misalignment can demotivate salespeople. It can decrease performance and morale.

Times are changing. Buyers start by searching for information and more and more buyers are going online to research. They find this more beneficial than interacting with a salesperson. The salesperson is not involved in marketing and does not know how much or what the customers already know. Also with technological advent, buyers do not respond well to cold calling.

Strategies

Find the natural intersections between sales and marketing. Understand these intersections. There are four Ps of marketing, Product, Placement, Price and Promotion. Add a fifth P: (Sales) People to it. Sales and marketing techniques are complimentary.

Look at how your company is structured. Identify if there are areas where alignment efforts are undermined.

Is there a territory war within your company? People should not be thinking about what is theirs instead people should be focused on what they can give to the company. Identify any animosity and make efforts to change it.

Plan the division of labour properly. Ask people to communicate more and note down things. Look for team members who were raised to expect collaboration. Pay attention if someone’s workload is increasing.

Imagine the best-case scenario and figure out the ideal. Make sure everyone understands why you are making these changes. Give credit where credit is due.

Get both the teams together and make them develop client avatar together. Leverage what the sales and marketing teams each know about the clients. They can figure out the gaps and blind spots and even share information.

Tell the marketing team who the A-prospects are and let them use that information.

Coordinate message and content between both teams.

Digital marketing is a great way to get started and get the teams to collaborate. Show coworkers the needed information and data and push for closer alignment. Remember that change will take time and effort.

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11

Capture Planning LIGHT (the must haves, simple way to get your capture plan started)

- Krystn Macomber

Capture planning sometimes takes years and requires multiple complex steps. What if you’re short on time or just want to get to the point quickly? Krystn Macomber provides a solution through this session.

The session starts with an audience poll, when does a client decide who they want to choose: before or after the RFP is released?

Many clients have an inclination even before they put the RFP out. Therefore, we cannot wait till the RFP is out. We need to have a capture plan in place. Sales and Capture process can seem like an endless hurdle. But there is a way to simplify the process.

We want to have a capture plan for the opportunities we really want to win. Template should be simple, visual and easy to read and understand. It is a living document that is updated along with the capture process.

  • To be effective, you must:
  • Understand your clients and their needs
  • Build relationships
  • Get ahead of your competition
  • Choose opportunities that are good strategic fits
  • Develop winning proposals

 

We need a plan that should be created annually. Create a plan based on sales and marketing plans and accounts plan.

Successful Capture Plan Elements

Understand the opportunity

Discuss aspects about the contract, procurement process schedule, the scope of the project, your history with the client and the competition before you start.

Build advocate relations

Know all the decision-makers on the clients’ side as much as possible. You need to know their buying powder and identify key hot buttons for the project.

Develop a team

Develop your team both internally and externally. Make decisions regarding your sub-consultants. Decide on the roles and responsibilities.

Identify Win strategy

Identify client hot buttons and put forth your solution against your competitors’ solutions.

Deploy marketing strategy

If you have the time, deploy some marketing campaigns. Connect with decision-makers on LinkedIn. Share industry articles of interest. Promote project team leadership and expertise and invest in social media advertising.

These are just some of the basic elements needed for  a Capture Plan.

12

Building a Culture of Customer Success

- Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh challenges the notion “the customer is always right”. He subverts the idea by stating that it is the job of organisations to ask customers the right questions, understand their business, their industry and their needs to make sure that we are helping the customer to not only be right but be successful!

He begins the session by using the analogy of the solar system to explain customer-focused business. The sun is the customer. Everything revolves around this sun. We should focus on the client and know where we stand in relation to other competitors. This aspect is also seen in APMP’s Winning Business Ecosystem.

The better we know the client the better our chances at winning. If we do not know the customer the only way to win is to hope that pick you. But by positioning products and services early and building customer relationships, organisations can improve their probability of winning a contract.

How do you build a culture focused on customer success?

  • Look at everything from the customers’ perspective.
  • Understand what success looks like to our customers.
  • Demonstrate how we can help our customers attain access by ficing, accomplishing or avoiding.
  • Verify that we are meeting their expectations.
  • Adjust if needed.

 

Think of the customer first, yourself second. Try and find the root cause of their problems. Bring relevant perspectives or products. Help in solving the problem not just providing a solution. Through every action or meeting, strive to verify or confirm your understanding of your customers’ needs. Always verify that you truly understand what success looks like to your client. Verify that the services or products that you are providing are both meeting their expectation and solving their problems. Verify all this throughout the capture process.

Alter or change the course if the expectations are not being met. If you stay om the course or do not adjust, you run the risk of losing the relationship for a very long time. It can ruin the trust of the customers. Admitting that things are not working as expected and then working to get back on track will be beneficial in the long run. These are just some ways you can start a customer focused process.

13

Process, Process, Process: Capture Best Practice Is Your Starting Line to a Win Every Time

- Jay Herther

Jay Herther describes the good and bad process in Capture/BD. Since “One size doesn’t fit all” in Process, you can tailor it to your organization. He begins the session by relating Capture to chess.

The word ‘process’ does not merely mean checking. The word also has negative notion around it. Instead he uses the words “best practices” or “bright spots” One process will not fit all. Get the process tailored to fit you. Too much process can stifle and too little is problematic as well. Look into your organisation and decide where you are in the spectrum.

Do not adopt a big process for little companies. Use Black and Blue teams. Stich together Bright Spots to make the process into a more collaborative and positive process. Process is not a drill or a checkmark.

He divided the Capture process into three parts, Positioning, Solutioneering and End Game.

Positioning similar to chess opening

Attack early for a quick win. Build strong customer relationships. Internal sell.  Know the environment, customer and competitors.

Soluttioneering is middle game

This is when you adapt solution and strategy to changes in the customer needs and competitor positions. Develop technology with internal and external investment and collaboration.

The end game

You crystallise value and strengths. Assemble data needed to substantiate claims. Develop winning messages.

Few Bad Moves

Lessons Observed Syndrome

Never do Lessons as a check box and file away. Actions to Lessons should be applied and shared broadly. Write a case study and include in training.

Late Treatment

Do not start late. Start before the RFP. That is when you have a chance to influence the customer.

Bubble Boy Syndrome

Do not be internally focused. Bring information and apply it to proposals.

Process over People

Do not be all about the process. You can follow the process and still lose. Get the right people on the Capture team and get these people in at the right time.

Capture is much like a game of chess. It requires strategic thinking and planning ahead of time.

14

Why Every BD and Capture Team Should Ensure Diversity

- Stephanie Spears

Diversity plays a vital role in the development of our industries and our association. Discrimination and segregation harm our society and research has shown that diversity, equity, and inclusion create higher productivity, which impacts the economic prosperity of our association, our businesses, our communities, and our customers. In this presentation, Stephanie Spears will share how heterogeneity of people and thoughts can lead to more sustainable and profitable business development and capture awards.

Why Diversity Initiatives are Sacked

  • Too busy to fix it and we don’t know how
  • Don’t realize minorities feel like outsiders
  • Don’t realize tolerance is not acceptance
  • Don’t pay attention to implied group boundaries
  • Don’t realize we’re biased or discriminating
  • Don’t realize that invisibility impacts all industries
  • Don’t speak up about unequal power dynamics
  • Don’t pay attention to outsiders
  • Don’t know how it feels to have limited access

Diversity is one of the most complex HR challenges of the 21st century. Forward progress needs momentum. We need to protect marginalised groups, realise gains for women and minorities and this will impact economic prosperity.  We need to create a healthier work environment. Having a less homogeneous group will increase creativity.

Data

  • Asians are the least likely to be promoted into leadership.
  • The number of Black women earning minimum wage is higher than any other group
  • Black women earn 38% less than white men

Your Bottom Line is Stronger with Diverse Representation & Inclusion

  • Combine recruiting & hiring goals
  • Recruit & develop beyond the Application
  • Evaluate hiring practices and starting salaries
  • Promote underrepresented groups
  • Improve cross-cultural communications
  • No colourblind recruiting practices
  • A diverse team can coach one another
  • Be honest with yourself
  • Don’t stereotype. Ask.
  • Be open to change

  Ways to Implement

  • Use your Power & Your Voice
  • Market to Diverse Candidates
  • Source interns and new hires from HBCUs
  • Assign mentors to new hires and interns
  • Network with Professional & Minority Orgs evenly
  • Instead of excluding, include outsiders
  • Don’t be comfortable with the status quo
  • Let recruiters know you want qualified applicants
  • Redact racial indicators from applications
  • Hire and train open-minded HR managers
  • Sponsor organizational learning
  • Retrain or Remove Managers who are blockers
  • Ensure social construction of diversity is ingrained in the culture
  • Spears shares her personal journey to highlight points.
  • Diversity is being granted access. Inclusion is being coached, invited to network and apply. Equity is being treated and paid fairly.

The  Best Organisation will:

  • Attract, develop, and retain a diverse & innovative workforce
  • Enable more accurate predictions and efficient problem solving
  • Promote minorities and women to boardrooms & leadership roles
  • Demand cultural integration and social connectedness
  • Invest in sustainable environments to achieve workplace diversity
  • Integrate a culturally diverse sales pipeline and diversity into BD&C plans

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15

BD in a Virtual Environment

- Mark Wigginton

Mark Wigginton focus on maximizing win probability by strengthening customer relationships.  He includes ideas to get quality information from the customer to make stronger bid decisions and to manage customer relationships in the new work world.

The aim of Capture/Sales/BD Professionals is to identify a portfolio of qualified leads for the company to pursue. Manage the velocity of pipeline movement and achieve revenue targets. How do you manage this in the virtual world?

Today’s Capture Environment

  • Some harsher attitudes towards BD and capture professionals.
  • Changing technology and communication dynamics. Many modes and methods for meetings online.
  • More and better information about customers and suppliers and vendors. Customers conduct their own research.
  • Trust is becoming harder and harder to earn.

The New Reality of Business Development

Customers buy from people they trust. We need to establish that trust. Customers buy from people who know their business, become advocates and be focused on them. Customers want value, that is, get their money’s worth.

A supplier must understand the customer’s underlying issues and needs. A supplier must sell that way the customer prefers to buy. Suppliers who can establish trust and demonstrate value have the advantage.

Why the customer/supplier dysfunction?

  • Lack of trust
  • Bad past experiences
  • No relationship – inability to connect in person
  • Confusion in the market
  • Poorly communicated expectations and requirements
  • Regulations, policies and politics
  • The previous supplier was unresponsive to needs
  • Customers know about our past and information like performance failure
  • Advance the opportunity by qualifying and gaining trust. The new discriminator is how we sell our products rather than when we sell.

Pitfalls to avoid

  • Sticking to the same old process and not branching out
  • Waiting for the phone to ring. Not being proactive.
  • Assuming that nobody is buying.
  • Letting the pipeline grow stale
  • Not qualifying opportunities
  • Avoiding non-traditional ways to connect, gain trust, and demonstrate value
  • Overcommunicating

Get to know your customers. Meet them in realtime when possible. Ask the right questions. Plan and develop effective questions ahead of time. Bring value by asking questions that get to the underlying or hidden issues. Ask follow up questions. Listen, clarify, listen.

Seek and confirm hot buttons. Watch out for some common customer hot buttons like cost, performance, ease, appeal, support etc. Ask clarifying questions to earn respect. Use multiple channels like social media, email, web conferences and professional associations.

Increase the Pwin by meeting two conditions: The value of your solution exceeds the cost and your solution offers greater value relative to the cost of competing solutions.

16

Building Better Capture Relationships Online

- Jennifer Namvar

The number one distinction between a winning bid and a losing bid is the strength of your customer relationships. Today, all relationships begin online. Jennifer Namvar’s session is to help Capture and BD professionals master the art of establishing and nurturing relationships virtually without spending hours online trying random tactics with few results to show.

There are big challenges, both internal and external when establishing customer relationship. Most of us are hesitant about contacting customers and feel like we are disturbing clients.

There are three big mistakes that are killing online relationships.

Zero Context

When someone reaches out to you and you wonder why they are reaching out to me, that is zero context. Zero context leaves the person confused.

Too much, Too soon

It is about asking too much too soon and expecting too much too soon. It happens when you jump the gun and make offers or demands without establishing a relationship or proper context.

Transactional vs Trusted

You treat people like they are a transaction. You contact people when you want something and never invest in the person.

Jennifer Namvar tells us about the 7Cs Framework for establishing relationships online.

Clarify

Before you connect with anyone have an idea about why you want to connect with this person. What do you have to offer?

Contextualise

Your prospects are also people. Do some research about their roles. What are their interests?

Create and Share Content

Content can be anything. Content is for creating conversation to attract people to you. Create your own or share other’s content.

Comment on Others’ Content

Reshare content and comment on other’s content. Always thank and respond to others’ comments.

Craft the Message

Always put some thought into the message you are crafting. Timing is everything, don’t ask too much too soon.

Connect Personally

Once you have created a sufficient base, you can set up a meeting.

Cultivate

After everything, you need to cultivate the relationship. You should invest time and also continue doing everything you did before.

Key Takeaways:

  • Always personalise your messages.
  • Be crystal clear with your requests.
  • Be a helpful and approachable voice on social media.
  • Explain to people what’s in it for them.
  • Always be thankful and reciprocate that.
  • Build and nurture relationships over time.

17

10 Steps to Improving Your RFP & Due Diligence Questionnaire Responses

- Nik Fuller

Responding to RFPs take time, but when done correctly, can immensely improve your bottom line. Your customers want to feel confident that your organization has the right security, privacy, compliance, and ethical safeguards in place. So, how can you reassure your customers that the organization they’ve chosen to work with is safe to do business with? In this webinar, Nik Fuller will talk about the best practices that are immediately actionable and can help your organization save time, as well as build more trust and confidence with your customers.

The session starts with a question,

What to expect in your next questionnaire?

Organisations will and continue to use assessments as a way to assess their vendors. They even use security and privacy certifications and on-site audits. Assessment will be custom made with unique questions. It will be tailor-made. It will be based on an industry framework. It will address numerous risk domains during evaluation. They usually require evidence and further validation as proof.

Most organisation use an in-house assessment. Then there is SIG, SIG Lite and CAIQ. These questionnaires are very lengthy and never the same. They tweak and change the questions depending on their needs.

Questionnaires are based on market standards like TPRM frameworks, Privacy laws, Security frameworks, Industries and Jurisdictions, regulatory influences etc. There are a lot of options for companies to leverage.

There are different risk domains like risk management, security policy, organisational security, business resiliency and more. There is an increasing demand for privacy. There is a wide range of topics. You need supporting documentation to prove your answers. You can use a SOC report or ISO certification.

10 Steps to Improve Responses

Build your Primary Answer library

Where do you store and manage the answers? Leverage an industry-standard framework. Use the previously completed questionnaire. Think about how you can store and refer back to them? Centralise critical documentation so everything is available in one place.

Add Answer Libraries as Necessary

As your library grows you should think about how you can manage these answers. You can sort out and store information based on security, privacy, product and based on RFPs.

Keep Answers Straightforward

Provide information that is necessary. Avoid marketing language. Details can be discussed in the RFP stage.

Engage Key Stakeholders

Sit down and map out who are the key stakeholders in the business that you can turn to when you need answers to certain questions. Look at champions across IT, security, privacy, legal and compliance. You can go to these subject matter experts. Build on these relationships.

Build an Evidence Library

Have items that are approved to be shared stored separately from the reference material. Store SOC Report, ISO Certificate, Certificate of Insurance separately from reference materials like Employee handbook, policies and procedures and technical and organisational measures. Centralise the data.

Streamline the Intake of Requests

Organisations launch trust pages online from their website where clients and prospects can look at already answered questionnaire along with evidence of certification. Internal means of communication like a portal should be set up where the sales team can request information. Train the employees to use these tools and get them integrated into the process.

Centralise Secuity Questionnaire Operations

Bring participating stakeholders and responders into one platform. It will increase visibility, improve organisation and increase collaboration. It will make the responses consistent.

Maintain your Answer and Evidence Libraries

Put in a process for regular update. Make someone responsible for updating and reviewing this regularly. Have a quarterly meeting with the product team and marketing team to access changes. Update the library accordingly.

Measure Performance and Set Goals

Have a count of the total number of questionnaires people are responding to, how many questionnaires per person, hours per questionnaire,  percentage of win rate and deal size per questionnaire.

Leverage Automation to Avoid Burnout

Think through the intake process and automate creating a project. Delegation can be automated. Automate sending emails and find ways to automate answers and reviews.

Offer an alternative upfront like a trust package that contains certifications, white papers and policies. This reduces questionnaires. Build a list of key stakeholders. The people you hire are critical and using good technology will prevent burnout.

18

Keynote: Winning in the corporate world

- Graham Ablett

In this session, Graham Ablett will share some of the challenges to winning in the corporate space today and show how organisations that are using strong capture and business development techniques are succeeding.

Back in the day salespeople met with the ultimate decision-maker and took them out for lunch and build a relationship with them to close the deal. Things are changing now.

The Digital revolution happened and buyers can do more research now. Pressure on buying teams increased and procurement teams were asked to do more with less resources. Buyers go into the market late and early influence became key. Buyers are also more aware of government compliance. There are several decision-makers now. Salespeople have to establish a relationship with all of them. More and more roles were created. Signing deals got more complicated. Selling was getting tougher.

Then Covid happened and the world changed once more. Lots of impact on professional life. It changed the way we interact with people. For Capture and Bid professionals, Virtual is now the business arena.

For buyers, 70% to 80% prefer remote human interaction, only 20% of buyers hope to return to in-person sales. Marketing is focused on doing good and letting people know how good companies are as loyalty has decreased.

Organisations are focused on cutting costs, planning to capture early and bring in new skills especially in the digital era.  There is a greater emphasis on retention. Digital selling is more effective today. There is an increasing global trend in video conferencing.

Are these changes permanent? One can never be sure. But it is better to be prepared.

Positive Strategy

Have the most positive strategy that is to win even in a competitive win. Get upfront and avoid competition. Actively try to move to a favoured position.

How to get in?

Get the services of a Coach, they will show you around and provide you with the details. Create a win-win solution for you and the coach. Do not be over-reliant on the coach.

Guerilla Marketing

When you cannot reach the person you want to reach what do you do? Use a bold marketing strategy. What are your clients’ drivers and interests? How do you pull them in?

Create their Need

Show them a different perspective. Show them a future state and how you will take them there.

Killer Content

Your content must be brilliantly presented and articulated. It should be concise, memorable and attention-grabbing. Include a simple timeline and steps.

Quantify It

Show the value you are going to deliver. Show tangible benefits. Will your solution improve revenue, improve cash flow and increase profitability?

Story to Tell

Share stories about similar projects, your vision, your journey, the lessons you learned. Use these stories whenever possible.

Create Momentum

Respond to clients and make sure you keep them engaged.

Maximise your Opportunity

Give your best performance. What do you want your customers to know, feel and do after the end of the interaction. Each interaction should be planned. Make sure you plan roles for each person involved and plan answers for tough questions.

Procurement

Get procurement involved at the right time. Plan when they will get involved. Take advice from your coach and know what they will want from you.

Be in control of the discussion. Know what customers value, show what you have done for other customers. Give the absolute best high-quality content. Make sure it is always a high impact interaction.

19

How to Create a Prospecting Experience Worth Your Buyers Time

- Dan Marsh, Annika Perry, Len Miller, Mark Beha and Pauline Malazarte

The panel discussion was based on the book “The New Solution Selling” by Keith M Eades. Prospecting is approaching clients with the things they are interested in. Prospecting is different from just calling people up. Set time aside for prospecting.  Think about these questions: Why does your client exist? What attacks the client to you? What gives you the enthusiasm to approach client?

Prospecting

Know what your solution is. A solution is a mutually shared answer to a recognised problem. Collaborate with your potential client on that. What can you offer clients?

Knowing your market and knowing your customers’ needs are also important. You need to find a common theme and see how your solution will fit and meet their need. Find out what customers are buying and try to find the symbiotic need where you meet the need of the customer. Go to the customers’ website and do research. There will be a wealth of information on what customers are looking for.

Once you know yourself and what you are going to offer, think about the critical issue. When prospecting you need to stimulate interest. Put everything you learned together. Make a connection with the customer.

You need to stand out with your value proposition. Come up with differentiators that will grab the attention of your client.

When Cold Calling start by asking for permission and admit that you have not spoken before. It is respectful, honest and puts you way ahead of others.

Networking

Networking is really important. One of the keys is looking for ways to develop a meaningful relationship. There are days called Industry Days. Those events give tremendous opportunities to network. There are even one-on-one sessions with the actual client. You can meet key decision-makers. Have fun when attending these events and be sociable. Be open, honest and circulate throughout the room. Have a plan for these events on whom you want to seek out.  

Build a relationship with all clients. When people like you, chances are that they will pick you. Remove the pressure and give people the option to say ‘no’,  Keep meeting people and keep the momentum.  Identifying hot buttons and addressing them is also important. Hot buttons are often associated with the risk clients want to mitigate.

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20

How to Prepare for the Capture Practitioner Exam – An American Perspective

- Heather Kirkpatrick

Heather Kirkpatrick provides an American perspective to preparing for the Capture Practitioner exam.  You can find a lot about the exam on the APMP website. Download the latest edition of OTE. Go to the capture practitioner page.

It is an exam to demonstrate hands-on mastery of APMP opportunity capture best practices at the Practitioner level. The APMP Capture Practitioner OTE assesses the knowledge and skills that demonstrate proficiency in the proposal and bid management based on the APMP Competency Framework and Syllabus. The knowledge and skills required for the Practitioner are documented in the APMP certification syllabus. It is a 2.5-hour online exam that involves provided scenarios and Questions about the scenarios. The questions have been designed to test your knowledge and understanding of APMP best practices at two recognised learning levels. Your experience combined with the APMP approach as laid out in the APMP Body of Knowledge.

Use LinkedIn to get in touch with other people who have taken the exam. There are also authorised training organisations you can use to help you with the certification. This certification can tell others that you are qualified.

Heather Kirkpatrick then provides details about APMP California chapter. New topics are being added like Price to win, Strategy, Teaming etc. She suggests finding a partner to collaborate with. Check with your chapter to see if there any to get scholarships or lessons available.

21

Power Half Hour - The Power of Competitive Intelligence

– Charlie Divine and Rick Harris

Power Half-Hour: The Power of Competitive Intelligence with Charlie Divine, CPP, APMP Fellow, McRae Award Winner and Author of “Winning Business Bids and Proposals For Dummies”. Charlie dives deep into Competitive Intelligence straight from the pages of his industry book and shows best practices of CI.  He talked about everything from gathering information on your competitors to searching for publicly available information.

It is always good to know who you are competing with. Gathering competitive intelligence is an ethical activity. Things you need to know:

  • Know your customers
  • Know your own capabilities
  • Know your competition
  • Understand their strengths and weaknesses

Sometimes the best competitive intelligence can be found under your nose. The best source for CI is inside the organisation. Just walk around the organisation and talk with the employees. Talk to people and get to know about the sales team. Incorporate other customers and teammates into your internal review team. They might have different views that are beneficial. Pick out employees who have been previously employed in some other company.

Compettion is constant. Healthy competition can bring out the best. You have to be prepared to beat the competition no matter what.  You have to look at the internal and external sources of competition. Have a preliminary view or discussion before you start the bidding process.

The data you uncover about the competition can help express the difference between simple compliance and true responsiveness. It will give you an edge. It is not enough to merely know who is planning to bid but also know details on what they are offering.

Public records are a great way of looking at the competition. Go to the competitor’s website and you can read about their strengths and what they offer. Read the ‘about us’ page. Employment opportunities will also provide insightful details. Look at social media as well. The annual report is a gold mine of information.

Whoever has been involved with the competitor should be involved in the competitor review. In CI review you uncover details about the competitor. In SWOT analysis you convert the data gathered in the review into actionable statements. It is a common tool businesses use to measure themselves against the competition.

Ghosting competition is one way to gain a competitive advantage. It is pointing out the competitor’s disadvantages. But take the high road and be subtle when you point out the weakness of the competitor.

The interview ends with a discussion on Charlie Divine’s book.

22

Keynote: Top 5 BD Techniques to Crush The Competition

- Mike Parkinson

Mike Parkinson shares the top five practical marketing and sales techniques successful organizations use to eclipse their competitors. Use one or more to increase sales and revenue. Each technique is easily adopted and can be applied immediately after this workshop. He shares real-world solutions for short and long-term BD lifecycles.

The core of each of these techniques is on helping people build customer relationship. Marketing and sales should be looked at together for business development. Marketing is one to many and sales is one to one.

All these five techniques work together. They are:

Becoming a thought leader

Being helpful. Your goal is to help others succeed. What can you do to help people and become a thought leader?

Set up webinars. Create newsletters, white papers, videos, public speaking session. Participate in social media and create a blog to share what you have learned with others. You can attract clients this way. Some key elements you need to focus on.

  • Be succinct and to the point.
  • Attach it to keywords and topics.
  • Quality control everything you share.
  • Never mudsling. Never diminish others to look better.
  • Make it look good.
  • Make it easy to share.
  • Be the company your competitor is willing to quote.

Empathise

It is easy to sympathise with your prospect. The intent is to uncover their pain. It is very important. Because all decisions are made emotionally and justified intellectually. Trust is an emotion. Use Dale Carnegie’s method or Sandler’s approach to get closer to clients.

Build Trust
Trust is the closest thing to a silver bullet. You build trust through relationship. Your relationship should try to lead to you becoming a trusted advisor. Be a helper, not a seller. Put the prospect before yourself. Be honest. Make their job easier. Listen carefully. Ask and listen. Be patient. We want to be the person our clients think of first when they have a problem. Frequently reach out and provide value.

Shape the RFP

Identify the gaps and define the gaps. Defining the problem will help you provide the content for the RFP.  Make the solution more prescriptive in alignment with our discriminators. Maximise impact, reduce risk and demonstrate value.

Empower Others

Empower others to be your companion in your absence. Give them the tools and knowledge. Share tools that are professional, relevant and compelling like a brochure.

23

The Genesis Work

- Dave Patterson

Dave Patterson discusses ways to create a winning corporate culture through Genesis Work. The Genesis Work or in the beginning work that will increase the probability of winning. These are tasks to complete before RFP drops. It is what that comes first that counts. These are some of the actions involved.

Initial assessment through data gathering, you deciude if you are capable of competing. Then gather customer intelligence and competitive intelligence. Collaborate with customers.  Strategy synthesis is also a part of the capture process. Communication and contact plans should be set up. Influence the acquisition then proceed to proposal planning and finally prepare for Bid.

An ideal team should come from the BD development team. You should have a Capture Manager with support staff and Capture leads. They include program manager, Technical Lead, Management lead and Pricing lead. These are just a few of the basic aspects revolving around Genesis Work.

24

When’s the Right Time for a Price To Win?

- Randy Richter

Randy Richter talks about how to effectively use PTW results to proactively shape the opportunity, develop discriminating solutions, and develop plans for post-award performance.

Competition is the keystone of any acquisition process. It forces us to innovate; it forces us to improve efficiency; it forces us to improve quality; it forces us to offer what buyers view as “better value”.  Companies perform a strategic Price To Win analysis to assess where and how their competitors are likely to play.  A Market Assessment analysis enables you to identify underserved parts of the market or areas where capabilities you may offer will provide an edge over your competitors, enable the development of measurable business goals and objectives, and high-level plans for achieving them.

Price To Win results help you identify in advance the specific capability/price position that gives you the highest win probability, then fine-tune results once detailed requirements and the customer’s evaluation process are known. Price To Win results should never be taken as 100%, inconvertible truth.  Why? Because like every other intelligence analysis, it relies on available data filtered through assumptions that reflect the analyst’s knowledge and experience.  

Start Early

As soon as you’ve defined your target markets and segments, perform a Market Analysis to see who the customers are, who the players are, and what kinds of capabilities you will need to differentiate your offer.  Many companies do this as part of their annual business planning process.

Once an opportunity is identified, Price To Compete analysis helps you qualify the opportunity in the context of your business goals and objectives before significant bid and proposal spending is required. Once you’ve decided to pursue the qualified opportunity,  an early bottom-up Price To Win analysis makes sure you understand what your customer values and how competitors are likely to offer in response.

 Early PTW results help you identify marginal opportunities, conserving bid and proposal funds.

Keep Momentum Going

Continue your research and analysis, and refine your results. Once the deal is done, do a lessons learned analysis to help improve future Price To Win results.

Save Your Work

Put all the information you have gathered into your knowledgebase so it will be prepositioned for your next opportunity.

Steps

  • Define a notional solution
  • Tailor for each competition
  • Assess competitior costs
  • Project competitor pricing
  • Evaluate competitiors
  • Plot evaluyated price and capability
  • Identify the Price to Win position
  • Revise as conditions change
  • Price To Win is an extensive and expensive process. But:
  • It helps you identify the battles you should not fight or cannot win.
  • It helps your team make informed pursuit decisions, conserving scarce bid and proposal funds.
  • It helps you craft solutions that discriminate you from your competitors, helping the customer pick you for the award.
  • It helps you achieve your business goals and objectives without continually racing to the bottom on price.

25

Business Developer’s Core Competencies: What Do You Really Need to Know to Grow Your Company?

- Olessia Smotrova

Olessia Smotrova covers what a business developer needs to know from a career development perspective, to make you more effective at your job. The  session begins with the presenter pointing out five things you need to do:

  1. Identify opportunities and customers
  2. Avoid competition altogether by adding scope to an existing vehicle, or getting a sole source award
  3. Reduce competitor pool by:
    • Type of competition
    • Invoking NAICS small business size limits
    • Driving an opportunity to a specific multiple award vehicle or FSS
  4. Get the customer excited, looking forward to receiving your proposal and awarding the contract to you
  5. Make every preparation step serve the purpose of writing a highly compelling proposal

Skills Applicable to All Areas

  • “Engaging with content”: the ability to identify and qualify opportunities and have sales conversations in the subject technical field
  • High EQ: Building Rapport and Relationship Management
  • CRM platform mastery
  • Writing and MS Word
  • Presentation and MS PowerPoint
  • The session provides details on the business life cycle and the steps involved.

26

Power Half Hour - The Eight Stages of the Sales Process and How BD Pros Can Discover the Unstated Needs

- Neil Cobb and Rick Harris

Neil Cobb is co-Autor of “Winning Business Bids and Proposals for Dummies” and he discusses how one can find the unstated needs of your customer.

The more embedded the salesperson is in the 8 stages of BD the more successful they will be. The BD lifecycle is the hub. Companies should be in the sales process and bring in information, heighten skills and do the needful for implementation. You can increase the chance of winning through collaboration between sales, BD and proposal.

Educate and provide training to people so professionals can collaborate and understand each other. Be a support for each other and share knowledge.

Unstated needs are key to winning. They are the key drivers behind the RFP. It can include inclination, history, ambitions, emotions etc. Everyone buys for some reason or the other. It can rational or emotional. You need to understand why they exist. Customers will want to eliminate many sellers as quickly and easily as possible. That is why buyers keep some reasons hidden. They want the seller to look closer and dig deeper.

This is the main difference between compliance and responsiveness. Compliance is sticking to the keywords while responsiveness is the why. Question and answer is the fundamental in building a business relationship. Every question will give an insight into the unstated needs. You have to listen closely and find the reason behind the buy.  Read between the lines by having a better understanding of the customer. Discover those unstated needs.

RFP is a collaborative effort. Look at things through the eyes of your customer. At every stage, you are looking for unstated needs. Negotiation and implementation phases are the best phases to find out more. The end of the proposal is not the end. It is the start to set up the next opportunity.

27

Closing Remarks & Final Giveaway!

- Krystn Macomber, Rick Harris, Julia Duke and Kelsea Watson

This was a great one day conference. Over five hundred people from 28 Chapters across 28 countries attended the event. All the content will be available till February end. The organisers then conducted the final giveaway of a $250 gift card and a free APMP next level certification.

An automated name drawer was used and two winners were chosen. Everyone enjoyed the conference and enjoyed the day. Sincere thank you to all organisers and all the sponsors and of course Rick Harris. It was a fun-filled end to a wonderful virtual conference.

Big Message

If you think Baachu Scribble is just about helping you WIN MORE you have missed the point, we stand for DEMOCRATISING BIDDING KNOWLEDGE

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