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Trust the Process: More than Checking a List

Price to Win is always an ongoing process, which undergoes many iterations before an actual proposal is ever delivered.  Richter & Company’s training courses are designed to give you the tools and templates you need to maximize the benefit of your competitive intelligence and price to win efforts.  Actionable intelligence is derived from following the process, while trusting the skills of your analysts to deliver quality results to your capture team.

ChecklistBut it’s more than simply checking a list:  the process is designed to lay the foundation of your winning proposal.

Plan work based on requirements.  Designate resources.  Can you deliver on the work proposed?  Although it sounds obvious, make sure you’re bidding on work you can and should win.

Baseline the opportunity and customer.  Spend some time getting to know your customer, and what they’re actually looking to buy.  Get to know the contracting shop as well as the end user, and understand that you’re going to need to address all customers in proposing your solution.

Identify and analyze the overall competitive field.  Identify who else is going to bid, and their relationship with the customer.  What does their solution look like?  The competitive field will change as time goes on:  who has left the competition, and why?  Who has joined the competition, and why?  Identify any teammates and suppliers, and determine how their addition to the team will affect solutions, and pricing.

Develop and test RFP-based models.  Forget the gold plating, and the standard set by the competition.  Build a bottoms-up model, based strictly around RFP requirements.  How will your solution add value?  Rank your solution based on the requirements set forth in Sections L & M.

Prepare analysis of key competitors.  Once the RFP is imminent, look again at your key competitors.  Identify strengths and weaknesses of their solution.  Mitigate their strengths by offering value to the customer.  Speak to the things they care about, and emphasize your own strong, low-risk solution.  Ghost weaknesses by highlighting your own strengths.  Be aware of how competitors will leverage their solutions and ghost your company.

Evaluate and rank key competitors.  Build out solutions for your competitors.  What is their offering likely to include?  How will it be received by the customer?  Be sure to do due diligence in looking at past successes; what stories will they tell?  How will they game their solutions?

Identify and analyze pWin enhancers.  Once your analysis is complete, it’s time to finalize your story.  Identify any final solution gaps, and address them:  team as necessary.  Close in on any gaming opportunities.  And decide on your key messages and discriminators that really differentiate your solution from your competitors.

For more information regarding Competitive Analysis and Price to Win, contact Richter & Company.  Since 2006, our proven processes have helped clients win over $30B in new business.

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LPTA Awards: Sad to Say, They’re Not Going Away

AwardOver the course of the past several years, “best value” has reigned supreme in the federal contracting world.  But with the economic downturn, we’ve seen an increase in Lowest Price-Technically Acceptable (LPTA) contracts.  Despite the general aversion for LPTA awards, they’re here to stay.

Last summer, Washington Technology did a survey among contractors regarding LPTA contracts.  68% of the survey’s respondents said the LPTA has negatively or mostly negatively impacted their businesses; pointing to suffering profits, lowered salaries, and an influx of junior staffers as results of increasing LPTA awards.

And 66% of respondents said the LPTA has negatively or mostly negatively impacted the customer.  Comments included the government’s surprise in receiving junior staff when experience was needed, and an inability to win task orders under BPAs due to lack of experienced personnel at proposed prices.

Work has been done on both sides of contracting business to assure that the government’s needs are met, while educating government customers about the risk of an LPTA award.  But with ongoing political power plays and uncertain budgets, the LPTA award isn’t going away any time soon.  Nearly half of contractors surveyed think the number of LPTA awards will increase in the next few years.  At Richter & Company, we agree.

With many agencies having troubles in their contracting shop, and plenty of commoditized items on the purchasing docket, the LPTA is a convenient way to purchase.  Unfortunately, the convenience outweighs the risk.  The LPTA award isn’t going away any time soon.

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Market Trends: All About Efficiency

In every realm of the marketplace, the Federal Government is looking to be more efficient and save dollars where possible.

In the service industry, efficiency looks like less people doing more.  Lower FTE counts, higher expectations for productivity.  Strategic use of less experienced workers where possible and reduction in fringe benefits decreases overall cost to the government.

In the product industry, efficiency takes many forms.  In 2012, the Federal government mandated that all agencies move three services to the cloud by May 2012, to improve server utilization 60 to 70 percent.  SWaP initiatives across the armed forces mean reduced power consumption.  Plug and play initiatives across the product industry have assured that as technology becomes increasingly commoditized, the government keeps its options open for low cost solutions.

In the age of attempted government transparency, efficiency reigns supreme in federal contracting.  It’s no longer just the Government Accountability Office, but every taxpayer with an internet connection,  who is eager to hold the government responsible for every dollar it spends.

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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 months plus after the government told you it would be.  In the shopping space, save those ads.

Save Your Time and Energy for The Accessible Stuff.  B&P dollars, like all wallets, have limitations.  Invest in programs you can and should win.  Don’t put your hat in the ring for every program “just because.”  Make sure the programs you’re bidding are programs you can and should win.

Don’t Show Up Last Minute and Expect to Win Big.  If you show up after the stampedes of better seasoned people, don’t expect to win big.  Be it a big screen television, or a sole source contract, if you show up late, you might as well not show up at all.

Go With a Trusted Partner.  Not with someone who will steal the goods out from under you.  You worked hard for that win.  In the federal space, Richter & Company can help you win.  Since 2006, we’ve helped our clients win more than $30 B in government contracts.  And we’ll be happy to help you again this holiday season.  Contact us for more information on winning business.

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“History is Not an Exact Predictor” The Value of Evaluating Trends

Historical data is important.  At Richter & Company, the last step of our business process is to capture information regarding a program:   strengths and weaknesses for each competitor’s team; feedback from the customer; award and protest information for the contract, in our database.

The information is crucial as reference points for company bidding tendencies and strategies, as well as for Government buying tendencies.  It allows us to look at trends and how they evolve over time.

But in the current hypercompetitive landscape, history is not the most accurate predictor of future strategy.  Be cautious of feeling like you’re untouchable, like you’ve “seen it all.”  With government stand-offs, and the effects of sequestration still not in full effect, Federal contracting is an interesting realm.  Companies are getting creative in their solutions; new strategies are bringing prices down and changing the meaning of “best value.”

Let Richter & Company help you win.  Our analysts are seasoned experts, whose understanding of historical trends along with a commitment to seeking out information regarding the changing world of contracting, provide you with an independent assessment of the competitive landscape.  Contact us for more information regarding our full scope of services.