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Amy LeesNov 28, 2023 11:37:54 AM3 min read

From strategy to evaluation: How defence companies win big with their Capture Plan

Defence organisations are commonly known as the best capture people. 

Defence companies tend to have the most mature bidding processes. Their whole marketing and sales organisations are focused on capturing their target! They can spend years capturing business with Governments worldwide long before a tender is released. 

So, what can professionals in other industries learn from the approach of the business-winning processes by the more mature defence bidders?

The capture plan can be split into several stages - likely familiar to bidders in most industries. It is the pre-tender and data intelligence gathering and analysis that is the hallmark of the better defence bidders:

  • Defence Strategy 
  • Solution Development
  • Request for Proposal or Tender (RFP or RFT)
  • Post-purchase evaluation
Defence Strategy 

Most Defence Departments have publically declared strategies for their approach and the spending to get there. When a Defence Department develops its strategies, it collaborates with many other stakeholders. These can be other sovereign nations, global and local defence companies and various consultants.

By holding information sessions for consultants and other stakeholders, for example, Defence companies can influence the direction of the strategy. 

Companies will also hold marketing events, take out advertisements and any other actions they can take to influence strategy and better pre-position for subsequent purchasing decisions. 

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Solution Development

Then comes the scoping exercise. The Department will scope out their requirements. They will often call on the industry to put forward their ideas as to what they need. Previously, this would have involved discovering the industry's latest and most significant planned and potential developments.

These days, according to AUKUS, this is more about finding out what is already available that will best meet their current needs. 

Sometimes, they are buying maintenance, which they have purchased time and time again. Therefore, the solution development phase might be pretty brief. Other times, they are purchasing a billion-dollar aircraft carrier, so the scoping exercise could easily last years! 

In this stage, Defence companies will demonstrate their products, showcase their maintenance prowess or take Defence to see the latest in-service management. A company’s ability to demonstrate the product or service is being judged as much as the product itself. 

People buy from people. When Defence teams don’t like the people presenting - if they are disorganised or any other number of issues, their product will not be as positively viewed. 


To spend years on the pre-sale / pre-tender or Capture phase and then fail to capitalise on it during the RFP phase would be a crime.

Defence companies have often spent years defining their hot buttons. Taking the time to flesh them out with the client, then reviewing and refining them. 

The critical thing to note here is that all the effort, energy and money can only provide a payoff if your response includes all of the information, photos, case studies, etc., that go into substantiating your support for the customer's hot buttons.

The RFP Response is a written record of everything the companies have done to secure a favourable decision with Defence.

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Post-purchase evaluation

This is one of the critical phases in most Defence companies’ arsenals. They speak to the client, their team members, and anyone else involved to determine why they won or lost. They record it and use the information to carry out the next bid better. 

So, how can your companies use this information? 

Left shifting the selling effort leads to a more significant win probability.

When you put in a bid, your capture phase should have determined:

  • Who your customer is—both the company and the people in it. 
  • What are they buying the product or service for?
  • The best version of your products especially the people who will be delivering it.
  • Your refined hot buttons responses.

Therefore, when you put together your response, it is your best foot forward. 



Amy Lees

Amy Lees is a Senior Consultant for Shipley Asia Pacific and leads the Singapore business. She is able to achieve success by interpreting issues, both explicit and implicit. From there she is able to produce customer focused pursuit strategies and compelling proposals. Amy utlises the skills and experience and experience developed from - Nine years in Bid Management - Five years in Business Management - Six years in Account Management - Bachelor of Business - Masters in Commercial Law.