This year's theme was “Onward As One”, a call for all Singaporeans to look forward confidently and move onward together in building a shared future as one united people. The government has spent a lot of time and money on the celebrations that took place at five locations across Singapore. Who could forget the sky coming to life on the day to give all Singaporeans a spectacular event.
National Day only goes forward, with no visible hitch, because there is someone who oversees the whole plan. In larger business-to-business opportunities, it is the Account Manager who oversees the pre-bid phase. The bid manager then manages the bid until it is handed over to the transition or transformation team. That is if all goes to plan.
ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
The change in management from the Account Manager to Bid Manager is a sensitive time that requires a special touch and a high-quality capture plan. In most companies, there is some sort of plan that must be passed from the Account Manager to the Bid Manager, but it is often neglected.
Most opportunities get a green light because the Account Manager, Pre-salespeople, and a raft of others have met with the customer. They have determined the needs of the customer and roughly scoped how your company will meet these needs. But a capture plan needs to include a lot more than just a statement about the person in your company who is running the opportunity and a vague description of what the customer wants.
A great capture plan should be a living document from the time you first set eyes on the customer, just like a project manager has one for a National Day Parade.
A great capture plan:
1. Assesses the needs and wants of each decision-maker and influencer.
This includes trying to determine both the company’s known needs and your decision makers unknown and personal desires. For example, one of your decision makers may be on the retirement path and want the lowest risk solution so that she doesn’t have a lot of problems in her last year. Despite being one of the decision makers who had a high risk tolerance in the past.
2. Finds out everything you can about how the customer perceives the competition.
Especially in the areas of need your decision makers have. For example, the customer may have just hired a VP from one of your competitors. You may see this as a negative, but in actual fact this decision makers knows where all the skeletons are hidden and won’t go near their old stomping ground.
3. Includes the various ways you will emphasis your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses, highlight the competitors’ weaknesses and downplay the customers perception of your competitor’s strength.
You may want to talk about how you will lower risk for the first decision maker and not be held back by the second.
4. Tracks everything you have execute on all of the tasks you have come up with to make your win strategy sing.
Without an executable, trackable task list you have wasted your time in the strategy session!
ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
If you are an excellent Account Manager, you might be able to remember all of this information in your head. I have worked with a few of these people, and they are truly remarkable. But whilst their memory is truly great, it doesn’t help them when communicating with the rest of the team. Unless they spend all of their time in meetings. And then you rely on them never forgetting everything. This includes the things that DID NOT work. They are almost always the things that get forgotten about.
When handing over to the bid manager it is far more effective to have all of this written down. The bid team will then know that you have advertised at the airport during the presales phase, and changed the website so that it included a case study of a customer you took them too. It will also include a strength of your competitor and your mitigation which must be highlighted in the bid.
The capture plan provides the bid manager with the information they need to run a truly customer focussed bid.
It is even better if everyone on your team can run the process of putting together a capture plan. Then each person can run the process, keep the plan up to date and badger those people who haven’t completed their sections. It will also help if your bid manager knows what is missing and can quiz the rest of the team on what might be missing and what gaps might need to be covered.
Don't underestimate the value of a brilliant capture plan to execute a winning bid. Onward as one!