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The Process

A Strong Knowledgebase

In the journey of competitive intelligence, it’s essential to have some kind of knowledgebase to store information.  This knowledgebase allows you to capture data, analyze historical trends and preposition information as you move into the future.  Here are a few characteristics of a strong knowledgebase: A strong knowledgebase is shared by your team.  Too often, there are no shared data points between coworkers.  One has a Rolodex of his references; another has an Excel file saved on her desktop.  The best knowledgebase is one that’s shared among coworkers so it’s robust and constantly updated.  In order for that to happen…

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Proposal Writing: Feature versus Benefit

Often times when companies present their solutions before the government, they talk a lot about themselves.  When you’re thinking about themes, working a brainstorm session with your team, or actually writing your proposal, be sure that you’re focused on your customer. Features are attributes of your solution.  Be it products or services, features are those things that can differentiate you from the competition:  lower cost, smaller size, more power, larger supply base, extended life. Even great features can be meaningless in a proposal, however, if you don’t highlight the value they bring to your customer.  Benefits highlight value. Your solution

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Finishing Strong: 3 Habits of Winning Teams

Winning federal business dollars is cutthroat business.   Especially in today’s hypercompetitive marketplace where LPTA contracts now represent a third of contract awards, and large ID/IQ vehicles reign for maximum value to the government. Winning teams work hard to win.  And many differentiate themselves from the competition in how they handle a contract post-award.  Here are three habits of highly effective teams: 1.        FOIA Bids.  The Freedom of Information Act is a wonderful thing, but few companies actually take advantage of available information.  FOIA your own company and bids, and make sure they’re redacted properly.  Check out your competition on contracts;

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KITs and KIQs: Shaping the Process

Key Important Topics (KITs) and Key Important Questions (KIQs) are essential to shaping the context of research for your competitive intelligence and Price to Win efforts. When researching a program, it’s important to narrow the focus of what you’re looking for.  What topics need to be addressed?  What questions does your team need answered?  The “team” includes members of your business development, capture, solution development and pricing teams. The questions should be designed to provide actionable intelligence.  Who needs to be addressed in the proposal?  What solutions is the government predisposed toward?  What trends have been affecting their buying?  Distributing

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Avoiding Proposal Mistakes

In an effort to spread the love this Valentine’s Day, we bring you five mistakes of proposals.  In the federal contracting world, of course. Ignoring the person your proposal is for.  Talk about what your customer needs and wants.  Be in tune with their requirements, both explicit and implicit.  Spend some time getting to know what exactly they’re looking for with the solicitation.  And then speak to that, not what your corporate objectives entail. Not getting permission beforehand.  If you don’t have early management, buy-in, you’re going to have a hard time getting the time and dollars you need to

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The Snow Storms of Capture

With snow and ice storms impacting much of the country this week, we’re reminded that preparing for bad weather is a lot like preparing for capture of new business within the federal marketspace.  Here’s our top five bits of advice for handling either. 1-      Prepare ahead of time.  You never want to face the storm without the proper resources.  For bad weather, tradition holds you need to stock up on bread, milk and TP.  In the contracting world, it’s all about people.  Make sure you have the right people tasked to the right assignments.  Give them the resources they need

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An Ethical Culture of Gathering Intelligence: We Never Cross the Line

With conflict of interest issues as a growing concern within the federal contracting community, it’s important that your consultants don’t pollute your ethical processes.  With a shrinking number of federal procurements and budget dollars at play, it is critical that you play it safe in the realm of business ethics. More RFPs mention conflict of interest and more protests equate to more headaches and possible legal repercussions if you’re not careful. At Richter & Company, we never cross the line.  We don’t involve ourselves in your solutions, strategies or proposal processes.  We don’t access information you’ve collected, instead opting to

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Actionable Intelligence

In the past few months, there’s been increasing talk about “the internet of things” (IoT.)  Recently, Gartner estimated a $1.9 trillion market impact by 2020. And Cisco estimated that for every person in the world, there would be six smart devices (for a total of fifty billion connected devices) by the year 2020.   That’s a lot of information. But what will we do with all this information?  So what your lamp “knows” that it’s on at 3 PM each afternoon, and your thermostat “knows” to set itself at 72 degrees if it’s colder than 40 out?  The concept of these

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The Pitfalls of Aimless Shopping

A week from Friday, people will wake up too early from their beds, bleary eyed and still full of too much tryptophan, to race to their cars for a few dollars in their pockets.  And that’s just with the latest DoD RFP release, let alone Black Friday shopping. Here’s some advice for, well, either situation. Make a Plan.  Be involved early.  Get to know your marketplace.  Get a hold of as much documentation as possible.  In the federal space, this means talking to your customer.  Influencing how the final RFP will look when it finally comes out, which is six

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Building a Snowball

Primary research is perhaps one of the most daunting aspects of the competitive intelligence process.  It involves gathering information firsthand, or actually talking to people.  Randy Richter, president and founder of Richter & Company, often compares the task of conducting primary research to gathering snowflakes. If you stand in the center of a field and are asked to examine a blizzard, it may seem an impossible task.  With thousands of snowflakes falling each second, it’s difficult to imagine that one is capable of gathering any kind of meaningful information regarding the composition of snow. If you stick your icy mittened

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