Building a strong capture team
When you're looking at your bid/no bid strategy, one of the most important areas to consider is whether your team has advance capture planning. Why capture management? A clear and managed approach to capture - one that you can repeat over and over again - can help your organization win more business while pursuing fewer opportunities.
Capture management is providing dedicated resources in support of a particular opportunity. The capture team brings together knowledge and skills across marketing, pricing, strategy and proposal development, to pull together a competitive bid. The more intelligence you have in advance of a bid, the better. It'll decrease costs, raise win probability, and make your whole business development team happier.
A lot of organizations struggle to understand exactly what needs to be done when it comes to capture. But, much like a proposal team, having the right people in place to work together is essential to successful capture. These are the key roles that need to be filled:
1. Capture Manager
Whether you call this role a capture manager or a capture coordinator, the role is the same. A lot of organizations seem to try to combo this role with the person who a) has the strongest relationships with key stakeholders, or b) will oversee the technical aspects of the ultimate proposal. NO! The role of capture manager should fall to the person who will keep the team on track. Much like a proposal manager, a capture manager oversee the whole capture process, updating tracking tools, scheduling meetings, ensuring that follow-up actually takes place. Think of this position as the person responsible for herding everyone toward a strategic focus.
2. Technical Lead
As I said - keep your technical lead separate from your capture manager. This person is a core role with a completely different scope of work. While your capture manager is keeping everyone on track, the technical lead can be processing and synthesizing all of the incoming information to begin developing your organizations response plans. Often a senior role, this person may also be responsible for making strategic decisions along the way, determining partnering decisions or setting pricing strategy.
3. Relationship Manager(s)
Depending on the size and scope of the capture effort, you may have a lot of team members involved as relationship managers. Their scopes of work typically involve managing engagement with a particular stakeholder (or group of stakeholders), reporting their efforts and findings back to the capture manager to be shared with the team, and advising the technical lead on what their particular cohort cares about. Often I see organizations trying to slate one person with managing too many relationships in one capture pursuit, which leads to some relationship management efforts getting dropped. Ultimately, less information can end up hurting your bid, so if follow-up isn't happening, consider spreading the tasks around to a larger number of people.
4. Strategic Input Provider(s)
Bringing in more input providers doesn't always need to happen early on, but at strategic decision points engaging technical and business development staff to weigh in is essential. This is particularly true at points when additional resources need to be brought in to support capture efforts, but also helps if there are early discussions about success metrics, difficult to manage relationships, or road blocks popping up.
Every organization I work with seems to structure capture teams differently. What have you found particularly helpful (or hurtful) along the way?