This is a post from Brian Lindholm. He’s the Managing Principal and Owner of FedSavvy Strategies.
I love fielding questions from clients and prospective clients. I love the challenges posed. Such things keep me connected with what people are thinking and their needs. That keeps the FedSavvy Strategies team on our game.
Inevitably, there are common questions, comments, and topics that emerge. Give the below a read.
When should I do a Black Hat review? Timing is so important! The short answer is we like to target these to be executed 4-8 months before RFP release. Note that our timing is based on a large (> $100 million total contract value) and complex capture. Why?
- We’re assuming some meaningful capture work has already happened. The client has some interim to well-developed solution to test results against.
- The competitive landscape is fairly well-defined. Intelligence is never perfect, but we have a sense of which competitors are investing in a pursuit (so we can beat them).
- There will be sufficient time before the RFP to take some meaningful action with the outcome!
Do you support the same contract pursuit for multiple clients? This is a fair question. Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT. We have a very distinct “one deal, one client” rule. There is no firewalling inside the team because the team working together is essential. When we commit to supporting a client on a contract pursuit, we do NOT do the same contract pursuit for another client. This cost us some serious $$$$ last year. However, integrity does not have a price. I would rather forego some money than ever compromise integrity. We will not act unethically just to earn some more $$$$.
We’re just bidding against “the usual suspects.” Oh really? How do you know this? Answer: you do NOT know this for certain. If I had a dollar for every time a “who the hell are these guys?” winner pulled off a Christmas Miracle… well, I’d have a big stack of cash. We live in a new world. Incumbency means very little. Markets change. Pressures to win and grow continue to mount. If you’re operating purely on what’s in your noggin (that’s the thing that sits on your shoulders) or mostly in RUMINT (rumor-based intelligence), I encourage you to do the below with your precious B&P dollars.
How do you get around this?
- Challenge yourself with something like a competitive environmental scan. We’ve challenged teams – especially INCUMBENT teams – through the scan process to identify competitors who are making clear investments and pursuits aligning with a client pursuit.
- Do something as basic as Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) to challenge your ideas with *gasp* real evidence. We use ACH to execute quick assessments of possible competitors.
How do I apply the results of a Black Hat review? This is critical. Why? We’re not doing these reviews for fun. Think about the very basic definition of competitive intelligence from *sigh* Wikipedia.
Competitive intelligence (CI) is the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors, and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers in strategic decision making for an organization.
Read that definition. The Black Hat review is a formal exercise to take CI as a means to inform decisions and then ENGAGE IN ACTION. Say it with me!
“ENGAGE IN ACTION!”
Friends, if you’re not moving the results of the Black Hat review into meaningful actions to drive your capture forward and your chance to win up…why bother? Analysis without action is just pointless. Which leads to the next point…
We’re just doing this to check the box because corporate makes us do this. Good for you. Go to someone else. Seriously! I am NOT interested in checking boxes. I am interested in contributing to WINS. If you’re going to do something, do it with purpose to gain real benefit. Sure, we could do a job and then collect the money. However, I LOVE WINNING. If you’re just going through the motions, we will know this and we’re not going to be at our best. Save your B&P for something else. You’ll need it.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned to the FedSavvy Strategies blog for more information on competitors and techniques in competitive and market intelligence to help you succeed.
Stay focused. Do your homework. Happy hunting!
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