As contractors enter the “busy season” for proposal development, gaining any edge possible for winning new business (or retaining existing contracts) is critical. On June 28, Market Connections’ Executive Vice President, Aaron Heffron, will lead Market Connections’ webinar, Best Practices: Using Research to Position Your Company for Contract Wins. We spoke with Aaron about why this proposal season is different than those in the past and what contractors can do to prepare.
MC: What spurred your decision to host a best practices webinar on capture research?
Aaron: Contractors have traditionally spent this time of year fine-tuning win themes as they prepare for proposal season; this is particularly true after a change in administration. But I think we can all agree this year feels different. This administration has brought a very different perspective to the procurement process and government in general.
With a great level of uncertainty and change in executive leadership, understanding what agencies are going to need and want from the contracts coming up for competition is more important than ever. As we come into the last quarter of the fiscal year, everybody must be well-equipped and have as much information as possible to be competitive.
MC: Given all this change and uncertainty, what do you think is of greatest value in doing capture research?
Aaron: In our experience, the greatest value is identifying one or two overarching themes embedded within an agency. Identifying these themes help our clients connect to the challenges the agency is facing. As they bid on contracts they can develop a very specific message tailored to those challenges. For example, there may be greater focus on new technologies, cost-effectiveness or innovation at that agency than there was in the past. Without doing research, a contractor wouldn’t necessarily know an agency’s priorities. Proposals that speak to those themes will naturally rise to the top immediately.
MC: Why do a capture research project rather than talking to the agency directly?
Aaron: Using independent third-party —a researcher with no vested interest in the outcome — can get contractors feedback they are not necessarily going to get from their normal business development process. We have found agencies are more guarded in talking to government contractors than they are to a neutral third-party. This is especially true for incumbents coming up on re-competes — it’s amazing what they will tell us, as opposed to the people they sit next to day after day.
MC: Any additional insights to share?
Aaron: Definitely. Being surprised in the bidding process never leads to anything good. Period.
What we are doing with capture research is figuring out the best way to minimize the element of surprise. While there will always be something you don’t know, we want to help our clients best position themselves based on what the agency prioritizes by giving them as much information we can garner from the agency itself. We are trying to make the capture process efficient as possible so you can focus on the solution, rather than having to worry about the best way to position it.
Webinar: Using Research to Position Your Company for Contract Wins
Get ready for proposal season by joining Aaron as he shares more tips for how to prepare for this unique proposal season. Register for the webinar today.
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM EDT