We love the use and abuse of the Pwin or “Probability of a Win” figure. What is a Pwin value based upon? Very often these are based on:
- Rough estimates of competitors in terms of numbers of known competitors and those perceived as credible.
- Perceived understanding of the customer
- Perceived understanding of the requirements and drivers to buy
This is not to state that every single company and business development person guesses at a Pwin, but if we have an honest conversation the path to a Pwin is often derived from what we might call “pulling a number of out a hat.” As we reviewed industry blogs on the topic, there is some really good discipline being shared. This is great. Some of the better blogs on making Pwin figures into realistic measures include:
- Red Team Consulting – Jeff Leitner authored “Why PWin is the Most Important Bid Decision Criteria”
- 24hour Company – Harley Stein of Tenzing Consulting authored this published by 24hour Company on “Forecasting Your Chances of Winning: How to Assess and Improve Your Win Probability (Part 1)”
Editorial note: FedSavvy Strategies has no formal affiliation with any of the aforementioned businesses. Including those blogs as references for you – the reader – to peruse is based purely on the merit of the thoughts and writing.
The core takeaway from our experience and not held in isolation (see above examples) is to abandon some arbitrary percentage Pwin, but instead to measure conditions. More specifically, measure your readiness to win. In reality, there is no guarantee to win anything. Even the best capture and proposal efforts may lose. Let’s consider some measurements of readiness. In other terms, how well prepared a capture may be in order to win.
- Customer knowledge
- Requirements definition and understanding
The above areas to measure readiness are certainly subject to change. However, without definition and assignment of scoring measures leaves this to be yet again a guessing game. A practice we have found to work well is to associate conditions of readiness in each measurement. In order to earn a readiness score, one must meet the criteria in a condition. This helps to remove the nonsensical scoring involved in capture readiness and *gasp* Pwins. How one establishes a point scale (0-5, 0-10, 0-20, etc.) is not as important as establishing desirable and realistic measures of readiness. For example, consider the following:
|Score||Condition to be met|
|0||Pop up opportunity with no advance understanding. No key personnel available to fit leadership or SME positions.|
|1||All key personnel requirements understood, but no candidates are in place.|
|2||Less than 25% – 50% of key personnel positions are filled.|
|3||More than 75% of key personnel positions are filled with qualified candidates.|
|4||All key personnel positions are filled with qualified candidates.|
|5||Key person(s) create a differentiator for the team from the customer’s point–of–view.|
How one adjusts or refines the above is up to the decision of the business. However, criteria must be consistent and mandated. While realizing high scores in readiness in several or all measurements of readiness does not guarantee a win, it does enable informed decisions to both press on to pursue and to develop solutions that address what that customer actually needs.
What is the point of such a system vs. rough Pwin figures?
FedSavvy Strategies takeaways
- Connect actions and actual capture work to likelihood to win
- Reduce your susceptibility to “feelings” to judge a strong pursuit to win
- Without progress towards readiness means you have no business pursuing an opportunity in the first place
- Eliminate ridiculous Pwin figures based on no meaningful and systematic process to evaluate your prospects to win
- Realize early on that you are simply not ready, accept that and then move on to the next opportunity
- Capture is part science and part art, but while there is a lot of creativity, treat it like a true discipline which means you must base decisions on facts and measured progress
As always, do your capture work! It may not pay off every time, but you will succeed if you put in the work.
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