The Keys to Effective Capture Management

May 29, 2013

Capture is as much an art as science.

The best Capture Managers are not made in a classroom. The best capture techniques are learned from a mentor in the heat of battle.

Capture Management is too important to be delegated to the last individual standing when all of the direct charge numbers are handed out elsewhere. Inexperienced Capture Managers need tips, tools, methods, processes and insights on how to conduct effective capture.

We often assist clients by helping to train their Capture Managers. We have learned that every individual is different, and as with management training, we need to identify their strengths and build on them. We also identify their weaknesses and show them workarounds. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that these lessons need to be reinforced by upper levels of management, so we can give practical and proven suggestions on how, as a senior executive, they can help develop executable and winning capture and win strategies.

Capture Managers must come to realize that an effective Win Strategy does not consist of:

“The client loves us;” “The client knows what we can do;” “As the incumbent, no one knows the client the way we do;” “The RFP says best value, so they will buy our higher-priced service because it is better than the competition.”

The job description of the Capture Manager can be simplified as: Take all the information obtained by the marketing staff regarding the identity of the decision makers and influencers and their needs, wants, and biases, and facilitate the generation of unique technical and management solutions that build upon your company’s strengths in light of the capabilities of the competition. Furthermore, ensure that you can obtain a blue or green in every category of the Notional Winner Profile either with in-house capabilities or through teaming with industry-leading companies.”

World-class Capture Managers blend a process with insight, strategic thinking, interpersonal skills, and the ability to influence and lead a team that they may not have line authority over. They must know their marketplace very well, including the capabilities and past performance of likely competitors and teammates, and they must be excellent negotiators for resources from inside their companies and to get the teaming partners they need to win.

World-class Capture Managers use well-defined techniques to their advantage, including the Notional Winner Profile (a critical element), realistic self-assessments, third party assessments, competitive assessments, and Black Hats, and the use of a devil’s advocate to challenge all their assumptions, strategies, and tactics. They will ensure that both technical and management solutions are created and that they are meaningful and strategic. And then they will pull it all together like the fine systems engineer they are to create a complete win strategy, but especially including an offer design, value proposition, 30-second win message, and a strategic pricing plan.

What are your keys to effective capture management? 

Dr. Richard Nathan

Written by Dr. Richard Nathan

Dr. Richard Nathan, PhD, is the former CEO of Key Solutions. He has over 45 years of corporate management and federal proposal development experience. He has served as strategic lead, capture manager, proposal manager, orals coach, and review team lead. His ability to develop and integrate effective win themes and discriminators unique to a given contract opportunity has resulted in multiple large contract wins with DOE, NASA, DHS, DoD as well as state and local governments.

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