APMP Best Practice 101s: How to Establish a Successful Competitive Price To Win Process

According to the APMP Body of Knowledge, Competitive Price To Win (cPTW) is “the process for assessing how competitors will offer solutions to meet customer requirements”. It involves looking externally – focusing on what your customer requires and values, and how competitors are likely to develop solutions to meet the customer’s needs.

cPTW isn’t simply a race to the bottom in pricing strategies. It provides an overall assessment of the ‘Big S’ solution that competitors will offer – technical, management, past performance, and cost/price.

cPTW has become a major focus in business development practices, and understanding it could help you to dramatically increase your win rates, as well as your revenue.

Read on for an overview of what cPTW is, how you can integrate it into your practices, and how you can become a certified cPTW expert with the help of APMP’s newest micro-certification!

What does cPTW involve?

cPTW is a methodology that provides a comprehensive assessment of the solutions that your competitors are likely to offer your prospective customers. It involves gathering and analyzing competitive intelligence with a view to recommending strategies and tactics that can position your organization and its solution favorably against competitors.

The cPTW process is comprised of several related elements:

  • Strategic competitor analysis – taking a wide-ranging look at competitors’ overall abilities, resources, characteristics, and approaches within a specific market or segment. This is best used to identify gaps in the market that can be exploited, rather than as part of an opportunity-specific effort.
  • Tactical competitive analysis – zeroing in on the precise solutions that competitors are likely to propose in answer to the demands of a given opportunity. This involves an in-depth examination of the customer associated with the opportunity, aiming to understand the procedures and key individuals responsible for outlining the requirements and deciding on the award.
  • Price to compete – leveraging historical data to pinpoint the bidding patterns of competitors and the awarding tendencies of customers in relation to their budget. This is often conducted prior to the clarification of detailed requirements and the insights gained from this analysis can help organizations to decide whether to pursue bids, and to develop initial solutions if so.
  • Price to win – focusing on balancing the customer’s needs, budget and priorities against the anticipated goals, strengths, solutions, costs, and tactics of competitors. This analysis allows teams to refine their proposal or to decide against pursuing an opportunity that doesn’t align with their strategic objectives.

It’s important not to confuse cPTW with pricing. According to the APMP Body of Knowledge, pricing is “an internal effort performed to determine how to pursue an opportunity”, whereas cPTW is an “externally-focused effort for identifying the optimum position the capture and proposal teams should aim for in order to beat the competition”.

What are the results from the cPTW process used for?

This kind of information gathering and analysis is really helpful for producing actionable intelligence for teams that can inform:

  • Decisions on which opportunities to pursue, and cancellations of pursuits that do not meet corporate business goals.
  • Decisions on committing bid and proposal funds.
  • Winning strategies and tactics.
  • Approaches to shaping opportunities in your favor.

What makes a cPTW process successful?

The APMP Body of Knowledge outlines several critical success factors:

  • It’s vital to have a high-level executive who can champion the cPTW and the importance of its results to decision makers. The key strength of the cPTW is its ability to unearth and present an unfiltered version of the truth to decision makers. If that truth contradicts current approaches in your organization, it may be important to have a champion to articulate the importance of the cPTW process’s insights in the face of any resistance.
  • Patience and continuous refinement are key. A cPTW process involves extensive coordination of a number of moving parts and prolonged analysis over a long period of time. It’s important to have realistic expectations of your analysis, avoiding the expectation of flawless analysis from the get-go and working to refine the accuracy and impact of analysis at every step.
  • You need to make sure you provide leaders with the information and insights they need to make informed business decisions at each stage of the business development process. Shortfalls in the delivery of complete and precise information, e.g. at gate reviews, can signal potential risks to the success of the capture.
  • cPTW activities need to operate independently from internal capture efforts. During cPTW, teams should not be overly concerned with the internal cost considerations and the solutions of the proposal team – avoiding this will enable the process to bring forth the unvarnished truth to leaders, and potentially encourage ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions.
  • The cPTW process shouldn’t be a side task for those working on it – it’s a fulltime primary task conducted by candidates with the appropriate aptitude and training.
  • Effective cPTW requires having a knowledge base of valuable information that is appropriately shared across teams. This means ensuring that valuable information, e.g. business development staff’s contact lists, isn’t gatekept from those conducting important analysis. A useful principle to follow is: “it doesn’t exist if it isn’t in the knowledge base”.

Perfect your cPTW prowess

Getting the cPTW process right can help you to make informed decisions about pursuing opportunities, developing winning strategies, and refining pricing and solution offerings to align with customer expectations and competitive landscapes.

This article just scratches the surface of the best practices that can help you to improve your win rates, grow your revenue, and more efficiently allocate your funding.

If you want to know how to use cPTW to effectively position your solution and gain that vital competitive advantage, we have the answer.

APMP offers a Competitive Price To Win Micro-certification that not only gives you all the tools you need to leverage cPTW processes to your advantage, but also gives you the credential to demonstrate that expertise to the world!

There are no prerequisites to getting this qualification – you don’t need any experience or even to be a member of APMP. All that stands between you and the ‘PW-M’ postnominal that sets you apart from others in your field is 25 multiple choice questions!

Did you know that:

  • Employers are, on average, 72% more likely to hire a candidate with a relevant micro-certification?
  • Nearly 70% of US workers who hold some form of micro-credential believe that earning it has helped them to progress in their careers?
  • 73% of employers say that micro-certifications help to improve the quality of their workforces?

What are you waiting for? Learn more about the micro-certification, or book your exam, here.


Want to write for the Winning The Business blog?

As well as keeping APMP members up to date with the goings-on at APMP HQ, this blog is an opportunity for you to share your valuable insights and experiences with the rest of the APMP community. After all, you’re the experts!

If you have tips, experiences, practices or lessons learned that you’d like to write an article about, email me, APMP’s Writer/Editor, at erin.smith@apmp.org and I will guide you through the next steps. You can also check out our submission guidelines here. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Join the Conversation