Competitive Proposals That Win by tomato739

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									Competitive Proposals That
           Win


            February 28, 2007
           W. George Szok
             Winning Competitions
   The Proposal Documents CANNOT win you the job if you
    haven‟t established yourself as a logical winner in the
    Customers‟ eyes before
   The Proposal Documents CAN, however, „snatch defeat
    out of the jaws of victory‟ if they‟re non-responsive,
    unclear, or unconvincing
   It‟s called a Competition because:
       There is something to win
       There are Competitors
       There are Rules which govern behavior
       Someone keeps Score

   To win, you must pay attention to all of the above
       The Ten Commandments
I.   Develop and Understand Your Business‟
     Strategic Objectives
        The Ten Commandments
I.    Develop and Understand Your Business‟
      Strategic Objectives
II.   Know your Competitors – their
      Strengths & Weaknesses
         The Ten Commandments
I.     Develop and Understand Your Business‟
       Strategic Objectives
II.    Know your Competitors – their
       Strengths & Weaknesses
III.   Know your Customers, their Value
       Proposition, their near & long term
       Needs, Decision Makers
         The Ten Commandments
I.     Develop and Understand Your Business‟
       Strategic Objectives
II.    Know your Competitors – their
       Strengths & Weaknesses
III.   Know your Customers, their Value
       Proposition, their near & long term
       Needs, Decision Makers
IV.    Make Contact to let the Customers know
       YOU
          The Ten Commandments
I.     Develop and Understand Your Business‟
       Strategic Objectives
II.    Know your Competitors – their Strengths &
       Weaknesses
III.   Know your Customers, their Value Proposition,
       their near & long term Needs, Decision Makers
IV.    Make Contact to let the Customers know YOU
V.     Understand Customers‟ Acquisition Process
       and Upcoming Solicitations
      The Ten Commandments - cont‟d
VI.    Understand YOUR Product or Service –
       Features/Benefits, Weaknesses, Costs…
      The Ten Commandments - cont‟d
VI.    Understand YOUR Product or Service –
       Features/Benefits, Weaknesses, Costs…
VII.   Document as much as possible BEFORE
       Solicitation Release – company, product,..
      The Ten Commandments - cont‟d
VI.     Understand YOUR Product or Service –
        Features/Benefits, Weaknesses, Costs…
VII.    Document as much as possible BEFORE
        Solicitation Release – company, product,..
VIII.   Begin Response BEFORE Solicitation
        Release – Start by Establishing WIN
        STRATEGY
       The Ten Commandments - cont‟d
VI.     Understand YOUR Product or Service –
        Features/Benefits, Weaknesses, Costs…
VII.    Document as much as possible BEFORE
        Solicitation Release – company, product,..
VIII.   Begin Response BEFORE Solicitation Release –
        Start by Establishing WIN STRATEGY
IX.     Develop the TOTAL Solution Reflecting Strategy:
        Technical, Program, Support, ..Price….
       The Ten Commandments - cont‟d
VI.     Understand YOUR Product or Service –
        Features/Benefits, Weaknesses, Costs…
VII.    Document as much as possible BEFORE
        Solicitation Release – company, product,..
VIII.   Begin Response BEFORE Solicitation Release –
        Start by Establishing WIN STRATEGY
IX.     Develop the TOTAL Solution Reflecting Strategy:
        Technical, Program, Support, ..Price….
X.      FACTS before DOCUMENTATION
        Don‟t Write until you know what to write about
    I. Develop and Understand Your Business‟
               Strategic Objectives
   What are your business Goals –
        profit, growth via new markets, new products …….?
   Why are you bidding to This Customer ?
        - established relationship, new market, …?
   Why bid This Opportunity vs. Others?
        - strategic importance, your unique product, new
         market, P(win)….?
                II. Know your Competitors –
               their Strengths & Weaknesses
   Who are your Competitors?
   How well do you know each of them – their product/service,
    management, strategic goals, …..?
   How do they compare with you on:
        Product/service capability, maturity, reliability, cost, reputation
         (generally & with this customer)…..?
   Have you competed against them?
        Did you win (why); did you lose (why)? With this customer?
   What do YOU think are their strengths and (exploitable)
    weaknesses?
   How well does the customer know them? What is their reputation?
    What does the CUSTOMER think are their strengths and
    weaknesses?
   Are they likely to compete against you in THIS opportunity? If so,
    what‟s their win strategy?
                III. Know your Customers
   Do you have a history of This Customer‟s General buying
    habits? Past awards and decision rationale? Is Low Cost
    the most important criterion?
   What is their Value Proposition? What are the Stated and
    Unstated Evaluation Criteria in THIS Competition?
   What are their near & long term Needs?
   Have you identified the key Source Selection Decision
    Makers?
       Do you know their „hot button‟ and biases?
       Have you worked with all Decision Makers & what are your
        relationships?
IV. Make Contact to let the Customers know YOU

   Do you have a Customer Contact Plan?
   Does it include ALL Decision Makers –
    Supporters as well as Detractors?
   Are you matching your people with the
    Customers‟ at the right levels?
   Who is going to visit whom, towards what goal,
    and at the appropriate time?
   Are your visits planned to benefit the customer –
    to give & to receive information – a „Structured
    Sales Call‟?
        V. Understand Customers‟ Acquisition
         Process and Upcoming Solicitations
   How does THIS Customer buy products or services? Is
    everything competed? If not, what are the justifications
    for Sole Source awards?
   Have you been part of Previous Competitions with This
    customer?
   What is the process followed by This Customer:
       Does he solicit industry inputs?
       Is he open to discussions – until when?
       Does he release Draft Solicitations?
       Does he favor FFP, CPFF, CPAF, CPIF contract types?
       How onerous are the Contract Terms & Conditions?
   When and How did you first find out about the Upcoming
    Solicitation?
        VI. Understand YOUR Product or Service –
             Features/Benefits, Weaknesses, Costs…
   Do you have an Honest Understanding of your
    product or service - the Good, the Bad, and the
    Ugly?
       Don‟t drink your own bath water!
   What are the Customers‟ perceptions (more
    important than the truth)?
       Technical Performance
       Reliability, maintainability
       Maturity, risk
       Past experience and performance (they‟re different)
       Costs
   Don‟t confuse Features with Benefits
     VII. Document as much as possible BEFORE
          Solicitation Release – company, product,..
   Create a thorough description of each Product/Service you offer,
    defining:
        Function/capability, applications,…
        Performance
        Development history, design maturity
        Reliability, maintainability
   Create a thorough description of your Company defining:
        Business scope, range of products/services
        Company history & Organization
        Financial stability
        Key personnel resumes
        Client/Customer base
        Program Performance as well as Experience
   This will become:
        the „fodder‟ for creating a „qualification document‟ through which your
         company will get on the bidders list, AND
        The „fodder‟ for creating proposal material in response to a specific
         solicitation
VIII. Begin Response BEFORE Solicitation Release
   Use Draft Solicitation OR Postulate one
   Start by Establishing a WIN STRATEGY – the basis on
    which you believe you can be selected over competitors
       Areas: full compliance, highest performance, lowest risk, lowest
        maintainability, lowest cost, teaming,….?
       Must reflect assessment of Competitors‟ likely Win Strategy
       MUST include a Price-to-Win
       Don‟t confuse GOALS (where I want to be) with STRATEGY (how
        I get there)
       Don‟t confuse STRATEGY (a message only for internal company
        consumption) with THEMES (messages in the Proposal for
        Evaluators‟ consumption)
   Don‟t wait until the Solicitation is released before you
    start – you‟ll never have enough time to do the job right
        IX. Develop the TOTAL Solution Reflecting
         Strategy: Technical, Program, Support, Price….
   Let the Win Strategy DRIVE the FACTS of your proposal – NOT vice
    versa
   FACTS (the Integrated Baseline) include:
       Technical Approach (WHAT, HOW): description, specification, evidence
        of performance, design maturity/risk, R/M/S, T&E, processes,….
       Program Design (WHO, WHEN, WHERE, HOW): specific to the program
        being bid; includes organization, personnel, schedule, processes,
        deliverables, support concept; SOW, IMP, IMS
       Management Plan (ability to perform) – NOT necessarily specific to the
        program being bid; includes facilities, tools, fiscal stability, past
        performance, ….
       Cost/Price includes: WBS, CLINs, BOEs, …..
   Note that the WHYs are missing here, yet MUST be captured (trade
    studies ?) for inclusion in Proposal Documents
        X. FACTS before DOCUMENTATION
    Don‟t Write until you know what to write about
   Let the Solicitation DRIVE the Documents – AND reflect
    the FACTS
       Section L - Instructions for Proposal Structure & Content
       Section M – Evaluation Criteria (areas, factors, weighting)
   Create a Content Compliance Matrix – to map EVERY
    requirement to a Document Section & Subsection
   Start with developing and reviewing Storyboards or
    Module Specifications – to define Objective of a „proposal
    chunk‟
   The Storymap: Allocate document „real estate‟ to
    Section/Subsections
   Define „Art‟ first, then sketch the art, then create final art
   Write in Bullets first, then review, then fill in Text last
   Include an Objective Red Team Review
               Parting Thoughts
   Winners Plan Ahead and Start Early
   Winners Know Why They Are Bidding
   Winners Develop a Coherent and Effective Strategy
   Winners Address the Customer‟s Needs
   Winners Treat the Proposal as a Selling Document, Not a
              Technical Tour-de-force
   Winners Sell Benefits, Not Features
   Winners Produce Proposals That Are Well Written,
              Visually Effective, and Highly Effective

       Winners Do What Losers Think is Too Hard
     Getting Government Funding
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
                    &
Small Business Technology TRansfer (SBTR)

  “The purpose of DoD's SBIR and STTR
    programs is to harness the innovative
   talents of our nation's small technology
  companies for U.S. military and economic
                  strength”.
          Program Descriptions
SBIR:   Set-aside program for small business
         concerns to engage in federal R&D --
         with potential for commercialization.
STTR: Set-aside program to facilitate
         cooperative R&D between small
         business concerns and U.S. research
         institutions -- with potential for
         commercialization.
  Small Business Innovation Research
         (SBIR) – since 1982
“…… a highly competitive program that
 encourages small business to explore their
 technological potential and provides the
 incentive to profit from its commercialization.
 By including qualified small businesses in the
 nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is
 stimulated and the United States gains
 entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific
 research and development needs”.
        DoD‟s SBIR Program
                              Qualifications

                        • US, for-profit, <500 employees
                        • Work done within US
                        • Phase 1: 2/3 work by SB firm
                        • Phase 2: ½ work by SB firm




$1B funding in FY2004
 Small Business Technology TRansfer
               (SBTR)
“….. an important new small business
 program that expands funding
 opportunities in the federal innovation
 research and development arena. Central
 to the program is expansion of the
 public/private sector partnership to include
 the joint venture opportunities for small
 business and the nation's premier
 nonprofit research institutions”.
         SBIR/STTR Programs
                      $1.6B
                     awarded
                        in
                      FY2003



  More than 50%
 of awards made
   to companies
with <25 employees
     SBIR AND STTR PROGRAMS
       CRITICAL DIFFERENCES
Research Partner
 SBIR: Permits (encourages) research
          institution partners
         [ ~ 33% Phase I and 50% Phase II R&D]


 STTR: Requires research institution
        partners (e.g., universities)
     [ 40% small business and 30% research institution]
    AWARD ALWAYS MADE TO SMALL BUSINESS
      SBIR AND STTR PROGRAMS
        CRITICAL DIFFERENCES
Principal Investigator

 SBIR: Primary (>50%) employment
 must be with small business concern

 STTR: Primary employment not stipulated
    [PI can be from research institution and/or
          from small business concern]
  ARGON ENGINEERING ASSOC., INC.VA
        SBIR Contract Awards
CONTRACT       Phase            Amount
NAVY-99-170     1               $69,961
NAVY-99-173     1               $99,402
NAVY-99-173     2               $1,700,633
NAVY-00-031     1               $99,942
NAVY-00-031     2               $1,499,599
NAVY-01-048     1               $98,391
SOCOM-02-009    1               $99,986
SOCOM-02-012    1               $99,941
                       TOTAL $3,767,855
                   Key Resources
   United States SBA OnLine:
    www.sbaonline.sba.gov/

   NH Small Business Administration:
    www.sba.gov/nh/
   Business Utility Zone Gateway:
    www.buzgate.org/nh/index.html

   Central Contractor Registration:
    www.ccr.gov/

   BusinessLaw.gov:
    www.businesslaw.gov/viewstate.cfm?catid1=50199
              More Resources

   DoD SBIR/STTR:
    www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/sbir/homepg.htm
    www.dodsbir.net
   SBIR World:
    www.sbirworld.com
   SBIR Gateway:
    www.zyn.com/sbir/
              More Resources

   DoD SBIR/STTR:
    www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/sbir/homepg.htm
    www.dodsbir.net
   SBIR World:
    www.sbirworld.com
   SBIR Gateway:
    www.zyn.com/sbir/

								
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