In the proposal process, proposal teams know the benefits of an effective capture plan. What is capture planning? Capture planning is the process of identifying a specific business opportunity. It consists of identifying opportunities, assessing the environment, and devising and implementing winning strategies. Capture planning requires a written, action-oriented capture plan to be successful as well as a strategic planning. Seasoned marketers and sales professionals know the value of strategic planning when it comes to making a sale. That is because between 40-80% of customers have made up their minds about who they want to do business with before proposals are submitted.
Capture planning is focused on identifying and growing opportunities and is conducted parallel with proposal planning and preparation. Properly executed capture plans save time, ensure consistency and uniformity in messaging to the customer. Without a capture plan, a proposal manager is left with a blank slate with little help and often under tremendous time constraints. There are specific guidelines and best practices inherent in capture plans.
12 Capture Plan Guidelines
Below are some of the important guidelines for developing an effective capture plan.
1. Execute a capture planning discipline that captures new business in an effective manner
2. Ensure effectiveness of capture planning by streamlining activities and capture plan elements
3. Share the capture plan effectively across the organization via a consistent medium (text, presentation, or web-based). Allow key members in the organization to develop, review, and update plans.
4. Focus on keeping the capture planning process dynamic, flexible, interactive, and current.
5. Strike an effective balance between planning and execution
6. Utilize automation tools to manage the capture plan. This may include the RACI matrix in the Content Analytics Platform (CAP) which assigns key roles in a project and tracks the progress of a project.
7. Gain the advocacy and support of senior leadership
8. Engage the right people to work in the capture team
9. Use SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound) to manage different departments working on the capture plan.
10. Establish regular decision gate reviews to gauge whether an opportunity can be moved to the next phase or should be terminated
11. Use CAP capability of Color Team Reviews to improve the capture plan
12. Leverage the capture plan to start the proposal planning process.
Capture Plan Manager
A part of establishing and executing a successful capture plan is hiring the right people. Traditionally, a proposal manager oversees the details of a proposal response and all the moving parts. Many sophisticated companies that are serious about winning business hire a dedicated capture manager. The role of a capture manager is to court and get as much information about the issuer of the RFP as possible. This provides the intelligence and background information a company needs to successfully formulate a plan. Oftentimes, a capture manager spends significant time socializing and “wining and dining” prospective clients. For any company, combining an effective capture plan with a dedicated capture manager provides a more tailored and strategic approach to tackling RFPs and winning business.