Enhancing the Pre-RFP Phase

Sound capture planning and effective reviews pave the way to winning business

Capture planning is about planning for success.

Focus on RFPs is usually easy to obtain. Stakeholders are presented with questions, and they provide their answers (hopefully, in a timely manner). What’s more challenging for organizations and individuals is to put their efforts and resources into the pre-RFP phase, specifically capture planning. This phase is key to winning a deal and should be completely integrated into the proposal cycle. It is the most efficient way to improve your win rate.

An essential step to bring focus back to the beginning of the cycle is the review process. Regular reviews of capture plans can encourage account managers and sales teams to better prepare their documents. And by reviewing with senior managers, the team can focus on areas of improvement and bring additional alignment and efficiency to the pre-RFP phase.

A Plan for Capture Planning

Strong capture planning is the most efficient way to improve your win rate and enhance resource allocation. Indeed, the qualification decision may be revisited while you are gathering information about the prospect or customer and the opportunity, ensuring that you pursue the right opportunity for the organization.

One of the best practices to achieve pre-RFP focus is to organize regular senior management reviews of the capture plan. The capture plan gathers all the information an account manager possesses about the prospect or customer and opportunity at a given time, as well as all the actions needed to complete the capture planning phase. This document—which should be a live, working document—is essential to ensure all stakeholders are aware of the progress made on any opportunity.

Capture Plan Reviews

Each organization must agree on key stakeholders and occurrence of reviews so that the reviews are efficient and the outcomes are actionable. Tailor the list of attendees as well as the pace of review to its own process and market environment.

The main objectives for scheduling capture plan reviews are as follows:

  1. Drive account managers to work on the capture plan. Most account managers will want to share interesting content with their senior managers during the review. Therefore, scheduling the reviews early will trigger some preparation work, such as the creation of the capture plan or a first attempt to improve an existing version.
  2. Plan actions to close the gaps in areas of development highlighted during the review. The review will help point out sections that need further development or useful information that’s missing. The subsequent step will be for the account manager to take appropriate actions to address these gaps.
  3. Give better visibility to senior management. Not only will the capture plan review enable the engagement of the right resources at the right time, but it will also result in the involvement of the accurate level of management to progress the opportunity, either internally or with the customer.

By bringing more focus back to pre-RFP review and capture planning, your process will be significantly more thorough and efficient. In turn, opportunities can progress to an improved position with the customer by the time the RFP is received. You will have established a position from which your RFP answers will more likely put your solution in a favored position, leading to a well-deserved win and a proven process to use in the future.

Vanessa Baron is the bid manager team lead for Europe at Tata Communications. She can be reached at vanessa.baron@tatacommunications.com.

3 Main Objectives of Capture Plan Reviews

  1. Drive account managers to work on the capture plan.
  2. Plan actions to close the gaps in areas of development.
  3. Give better visibility to senior management.

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