Many companies miss the mark in developing a balanced pipeline, particularly when centering on a LPTA bid strategy.
By Kyle Green
One of the overall themes of this series has pointed to knowing and understanding the discrete customer needs. It is essential to identify and develop relationships with all the stakeholders in your target customer market. As you build these relationships, you will begin to uncover key information opportunities that can help you bring balance to your pipeline.
Here are six tips to execute a balanced pipeline approach:
1. Protect Your Core
When identifying new business opportunities pay close attention to your current work. Competitiveness on contracts, even recompetes, has taken away some of the “favored child” status for incumbents. Only those who execute well and perform capture on their current customers are assured the highest probability of win.
2. Strategically Position Yourself
It seems like every large opportunity today is a multiple award indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ). Don’t overlook opportunities to build a team or be a subcontractor if the services you provide are being consolidated into large competitive procurements. If your incumbent work is being consolidated under an IDIQ, ensure your teaming agreements effectively protect your performance areas.
Use the “swim lane” strategy to effectively find new work. Identity those services that best match your capabilities and position yourself as a preferred subcontractor with a specific technical expertise. This will ensure you are not lost in the shuffle on very large IDIQ teams.
3. Expand Your Core
Once you have secured your current work (Step 1), look to other places in your customer organizations and operating locations to identify who is buying similar services. What else are your customers buying? If your capabilities are broad enough to meet the expanding needs, you may be able to leverage your existing customer relationship to expand your core offerings.
Ensure that your Program/Project Managers are being taught to pick up on key indicators they hear during regular interaction with their customers. Also populate your pipeline with opportunities based on current customers and use your current contracts to support your capture efforts.
4. Strategically Expand to New Customers
Identify “near-adjacent” opportunities to expand to new clients with your current offerings. Execute a strategy that reinforces the business lines you already have and seek opportunities in agencies that fit your strategy. For example, if your primary customer base is within a larger organization, such as nuclear nonproliferation within the Department of Defense, your strategy should focus on near adjacent customers (e.g. Department of Energy) and adjacent capabilities (e.g. counter-illicit trafficking).
5. Don’t Get Distracted
The dreaded “bluebird;” the opportunity that seems to align perfectly with your strategy but is not in your pipeline. In most cases these are too good to be true. If the first time you hear about or see an opportunity is when the RFP drops on beta.sam.gov, you are late to the game. Bluebirds can be won, especially when the acquisition strategy points to LPTA. However, every new opportunity you chase diverts resources away from already validated, higher probability of win programs.
6. Measure Effectiveness
It is an important practice to measure the effectiveness of your new business development, pipeline execution, and market research efforts. Take time each quarter to meet with your business development team and do a full assessment of the pipeline. Early identification of flaws in your process will allow you to adjust your strategy and ensure your bid & proposal (B&P) dollars are spend in the most efficient manner.
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