Capture managers do a lot of work before an RFP date is even thought about. Why? To better position their company to win the contract. When an archer is aiming at a stationary target, they must also do a lot of work before taking the shot. An archer may take several minutes assessing the area, using a range finder to gauge distance, and configuring their bow. All this preparation helps them hit their target.
However, capturing business is rarely stationary. Client information changes frequently and capture managers must do research and collaborate with the client often to keep their information correct. When you clearly understand the customer’s needs and specific requirements, you are more likely to be on target with your win strategy and proposal.
How do you hit a moving target? You move with it.
Preparation Is Key
Just like all the initial preparation an archer puts in before ever breaking the shot, capture managers must prepare the opportunity for the proposal team to hit the target. If a company simply responds to RFPs after they drop, they are missing out on half of the steps in a successful business winning model.
Working with the customer allows you to learn their hot button issues and concerns. When you really know what matters most to the customer, you can ensure your proposal addresses those concerns. These will likely change throughout the lifetime of an opportunity, so you must check back in with the customer often. When a bow hunter tracks a deer, they don’t give up the moment it changes course. They continue tracking and keep their sights on it.
When you are involved early and often, you can help the customer shape their concerns into addressable requirements you are poised and prepared to respond to.
Tools Help You Keep Track
Hunting bows have come a long way from wood and cord. The same can be said for capture tools. Today, companies have many ways for capture managers to record information and plan win strategies. Use these tools! Look through what your company provides and become familiar with them. Record information on competitors, the customer, and your own company. Then use it to gauge your probability of winning and standing with the customer.
The information you record is only useful if it is current and accurate. Even if your bow is level and your distance pins are perfectly set up, the moment a deer ducks behind a tree, you will miss your target if you take that shot. Ongoing research and customer communication will make you aware of obstacles as they arise so you can track the opportunity, even when your target moves around. Agility is an important skill for any capture professional.
Develop Some “Muscle Memory”
Like anything, effective capture skills take time and practice to develop. You likely would not be able to draw a bow that measures 70 lbs. on your very first day. You have to build up your strength and work up to that amount of force.
If you are a capture manager looking to improve, it will take time, research, and practice. Go through the capture tools your company provides or build your own. Take a training course to learn best practices from experts. Shipley combines the best of both worlds by providing a set of capture tools, including a robust capture manager workbook, in our capture courses.
Move with Your Target
When bow hunters are tracking a moving target, they must be aware of everything: the rate the target is travelling, obstacles, the settings on their bow. To hit their target, they also have to be moving at the same rate as the target.
Capture managers must move with the customer as their preferences and requirements change before the RFP drops. Keeping track of these changes allows them to calculate an accurate probability of winning, develop an effective win strategy, and prepare the proposal team to deliver a winning proposal.