Simply stated, Capture is Business Development in the government sector including federal, state, or local agencies. Capture Managers direct the company’s strategy and pursuit of contracting opportunities through bid decisions, relationships, networking, marketing, and teaming.
It’s kind of like bowling. Sure, you can walk up and play without any preparation. You may even get lucky and hit a strike! But, often you will find yourself throwing gutter ball after gutter ball. This is the same with Capture Management.
So how can you “bowl better”?
Be adaptable. Adjusting and targeting your approach is essential to bowling strikes consistently. Just like every bowling lane is slightly different, each agency has its own unique mission and requirements. Understanding these differences will help you target your solution and response to each opportunity. Typically, a one size fits all approach will never get you very far.
Know the Strike Pocket. A beginner bowler cannot advance their game without understanding how the pins fall and what it takes to get a strike. It is the same for a Capture Manager. You have to know who your customers are, how they view your competitive position, and how to hit their requirements.
Start your approach further back. Often customer-facing activities are limited or not permitted at all once a solicitation is released. You want to get ahead of this timeline to gather intelligence early, develop your strategy, and position your solution as preferred. Ideally, you want to persuade your customer to specify requirements that only your company is likely to meet. In some cases, your strategy will require teaming. Starting early will allow more time to identify a teaming partner and establish an agreement before they team with a competitor.
Plus, you don’t want to rush. Taking your time to line up your approach is paramount.
Don’t cross the foul line. If you have ever crossed the foul line on a bowling lane, you quickly find yourself falling flat. There can be various rules of engagement with your customer and deadlines to keep. Pay careful attention to not run afoul or your bid can be disqualified.
Follow through. After releasing the ball, many novices make the mistake of not following through. Follow through is just as important for the Capture Manager after the solicitation is submitted. Requesting a debrief after source selection is important regardless if your company was awarded or not. Understanding how and why you won or lost is key to revising your starting position for the next opportunity and help you find your strike ball.
Who can forget the sweet sound of the strike. Learn your customer, what it takes to win, start your approach sooner than you think, follow through, and then revel in your victory.
Ready to get a strike in government sales? We can help! Contact us today.
About the Author
Tera is a Capture Manager at JetCo Solutions. In this role, she works collaboratively with clients, our research team, and our proposal management team to develop comprehensive capture strategies to achieve government sales goals.