All companies that are willing to participate in the federal market make every effort to provide the most efficient solution consistent with the requirements of an RFP. Many of them start working on the proposal months before the final solicitation release. Although the risk that your work may result unfruitful due to several factors, the risk of waiting is higher. Your opponents are already doing so! Despite the fact that many federal agencies don’t give details or specifications in their draft RFPs and their requirements may change, preliminary market intelligence can serve you in many ways.
Investing time and money to gather valuable, relevant information is a very smart way to achieve competitive advantage. Besides, market intelligence will help you gain broader knowledge about your target federal agency including their demands, contract performance expectations based on previous projects. If you’re entering this competitive environment, seek professional consulting services. Subject matter expertise will help you plan your assessment strategy by focusing on the main sections of the solicitation, your client and competition.
How to organize your assessment?
Once you decide to pursue a contract, starting your preparations early to be able to respond adequately is an indispensable process. Determining the aspects you’ll focus on will improve your approach for establishing a definite return on investment. On my personal opinion, I would absolutely suggest you to acquire knowledge on these categories:
- Draft RFP Analysis including scope of work, budget, acquisition requirements and evaluation criteria;
- Customer Intelligence to know who your customer is and establish a relationship;
- Competitive Intelligence to know who your competitors are and learn about their capabilities;
- Competitive Advantage to use all the information you gathered from CI in order to plan your strategy, and generate greater value than your competitors;
How will you benefit from it?
To evaluate at what point you stand with the preparation process, you must be able to interpret correctly the answers you got from your research and then measure the advance against your readiness for solicitation release. Your preparations depend on the time you have before the Federal agency issues the request for proposal. At our firm, we prefer to divide the review process in for main stages to track the progress and determine whether there is any information gap you still need to fill.
After you’re satisfied about the facts you’ve managed to collect about your customer, their goals, and requirements; about your established contacts and work performance, you’ll be able to determine your chances of a win and whether the opportunity is worth to pursue. Once you’re at this point, you have what you need start preparing your winning proposal, and advance your competition. It’s time to take your pen and paper, use all your gathered data to develop your winning strategies, appealing themes, and necessary actions related to the start of the proposal.
This phase is particularly important because it will boost your proposal team to begin the development process successfully. You must have understood the project’s performance requirements and specifications. It will allow you to develop your technical approach and comprehend why the decision makers would prefer your solution over your competitors’. However, you must be aware that changes are very likely to happen. Be cautious for any improvement or adjustment you might need to conduct after the final RFP release.