The Capture Process

The Capture Process – Preparing to bid

Why is it important?

Comprehensive planning and preparation is a feature of all successful bids and should be undertaken long before the formal request document or invitation (RFx) is issued. Proactively capturing capture intelligence to create a living, dynamic record of your customers’ hot buttons, your competition, and your proposed solution ensures your bid response meets customer requirements and is compelling.

Capture Planning is an opportunity-specific process following the pursuit decision milestone (full support by corporate leaders is critical to capture process success), and continues in parallel with proposal planning and preparation until the opportunity is awarded.

Capture process objectives

The purpose of a Capture process is to:

  1. Identify and qualify opportunities, including risk assessment
  2. Develop a win strategy – document your understanding of the customer problem, value adding solutions, price to win, and any capability requirements needed to pursue and win the opportunity
  3. Transfer intelligence of the customer, the specific opportunity, and the competition, to the proposal team
  4. Identify, analyse and mitigate contract performance risk as perceived by the customer.

Essential tools

The power of research

Often, the people you do business with are not always the ones who evaluate the bid. If you prepare a bid full of assumptions it can result in low evaluation weighting scores that can compromise the overall outcome. Being informed and having accurate information will enhance your chances of success.

TIP: Never assume you know exactly what a customer needs. Research their industry, their company and competitors. Use the knowledge of your sales team or other customer-facing staff who are active in the sector or know the customer well to obtain as much intelligence as you can.

A Capture Plan is a living, dynamic record of customer and opportunity insights that supports informed decision-making at all levels of the company and for every opportunity. The plan is ideally prepared by customer-facing individuals or teams (sales or account management teams) – and can be tailored according to the expected contract value, the procurement timeline and the strategic value of the opportunity to your organisation.

In large organisations a Capture Manager is a dedicated role responsible for positioning the business to win larger-scale programs of work and secure opportunities offering strategic avenues for growth.  In smaller companies, the capture process is often skipped, which  places the proposal team under extreme pressure to deliver a competitive offer under severe time pressure.  A capture plan saves time and money, and has also found to improve retention rates.

The Capture Plan contains customer insights, identifies issues, scopes the solution and captures ideas from people that would otherwise get ‘lost’ within and across organisational silos. Including the business development, marketing, sales and subject matter experts in on the Capture process allows you to respond better and faster once the RFx is released.

By capturing knowledge of the customer’s business issues and needs, long-term goals and short-term objectives, you will be in a great position to:

  • Create compelling win themes that connects with your evaluators.
  • Develop a clear value proposition (the argument on why choose your organisation) which is consistent and logical.
  • Be convincing and show that your company has the capacity, capability and experience to help the customer achieve their objectives.

Remember, customers outsource for a reason, and the general reason is that there are problems or issues to be solved which they believe are better handled by an outside ‘expert’. If you can demonstrate that you can help the customer achieve their goals, then you will leave a better impression than a competitor submitting a weak solution with little thought process behind it.

Key elements of a Capture Plan

  • A situation analysis that documents and describes the present status (the opportunity);
  • It analyses the customer needs and problems to be addressed (hot buttons);
  • It scopes the initial the solutions to address the problems or needs; and
  • Briefly describes what the customer has done previously, or is planning to do, to address the problem.

 Capturing evidence

There are two main types of research that you should consider incorporating into your Capture Plan (and your bid response) to make for a strong selling proposition to the customer:

  • Quantitative data – source information such as statistics and market share. Quantitative data, while supplying easily digested facts about your share of market or success rates can provide evidence of your track record.
  • Qualitative – using information gained through relationships with the customer or market. Examples include citations from customer listening feedback sessions, focus groups and third party endorsement through case studies, testimonials and media mentions. Qualitative data can provide a more complete picture by providing the reasons why you have a superior service.

All good researchers will combine both kinds of data to provide the most strategic and significant tender response.

The Bidhive default Capture Plan tool provides the starting point on which you can build your own Capture Plan for every qualified opportunity.

TIPS on what to include in your Capture Plan:
  • Customer and market insights could cite research reports or provide links to strategic plans, annual reports, regional plans, community stakeholder plans and/or media stories
  • Market intelligence into whether the opportunity is market driven or policy driven, probable decision makers, issues or risks perceived by the customer, budgets, previous history of the relationship (stakeholder and competitor perceptions),  and previous debrief feedback and lessons learned
  • Positioning strategies could highlight unique selling points that differentiate you from the competition (draw upon previous won/lost bid data, previous track record/methodologies in your Content Library)
  • Important action items that need to happen before the proposal schedule can be prepared, such as investment, additional resources, teaming strategy or MoUs signed.


Other topics

The Bid Lifecycle





The Bid Lifecycle

Bidding is a craft, but a repeatable process that needs to be shared – especially as the future of work continues to automate, and supply chain ecosystems become more digitized and connected. If you’re a bid manager, or are involved in evaluating opportunities and participate in the proposal or submission deliverables as a subject-matter expert, project lead, estimator, strategist or business owner – learning about the bid lifecycle and bidding best practice is relevant to you. 

Bid Opportunity Management

Having full visibility across your opportunity pipeline helps your organisation to selectively bid, and provide transparency into past Bid/No bid decisions; and ultimately whether the opportunity was won or lost, and why.  

Bid / No Bid Decision

Bid/No Bid Decision - Qualifying an opportunity Why is it important? Bid qualification is the front door to opportunities and having a bid/no bid decision process results in routing deals to the right experts to ensure your organisation optimises time and resources to...

Planning your Bid Response

Developing a bid response is very time consuming and usually high pressure work that involves large amounts of documentation and numerous content contributors. Timeframes are being increasingly compressed while documentation has become increasingly complex.

Kick Off Meeting

The Kick Off Meeting sets the bid on the path to success and is the critical meeting or workshop that brings your subject matter, technical and bid writing experts together to get them on board with the bid management and proposal process.

Lessons Learned and Debrief

Lessons Learned & Debrief - Committing to continuous improvement Why is it important? As soon as you start tracking and measuring your bid and contract delivery performance, you can better identify areas where you can improve. When the bidding phase ends, your...

Win/Loss Analysis

While there are many variables that can influence the outcome of a bid decision, measuring the return on your bidding investment can help you build a better picture of your bidding process including your qualification criteria. Make sure you record the outcome of bidding efforts.

Post-bid Presentations, Clarification & Negotiation

Any presentation, clarification or contract negotiation activities should be a lot like your written submission: well-prepared, clear, relevant and focused on your customer’s needs.  The post-tender presentation and clarification period is your time to leave a good impression with the buyer, and clearly reinforce your ‘value for money’ proposition. Most evaluation committees are acutely aware that a bid team has prepared the response, so they now want to meet the service delivery team, obtain additional information (or see a product demonstration), and be sure that they feel comfortable working with you.

Proposal Development

Proposal Development - Making your proposal compliant, compelling and competitive Why is it important? Bidding is a very different form of sales method that relies on a competitive, arm’s length process where compliance and transparency of the process is just as...
Share This