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37 problems to solve for successful pursuit and capture

You'll need to solve these problems to get into position to win before the proposal starts

Pursuit and capture set the stage for the proposal. But while the proposal process gets a lot of attention, pursuit and capture are often left to someone to just figure out. The roles are commonly referred to as sales, business development, or capture. Without much process or at least guidance, the entire pre-RFP phase can devolve into an exercise in lead tracking instead of lead pursuit and capture.

This table implies what you should accomplish during pursuit and capture. You can build a process around it. But even if you don't have much of a process, you can improve performance simply by using it as a checklist.


Many of these problems can't be solved by the people responsible for pursuit and capture on their own. Each of the layers has a different set of stakeholders. The strategic layer acts as input to pursuit and capture and should be addressed before it even begins. The executive layer contains decisions that are usually made higher up in the organization's hierarchy. The systems layer are things that you should address if you want to win all of your pursuits and not just the one you're chasing in this moment. The pursuit layer is specific to this opportunity, and curiously it's only a small portion of the issues faced. The offering layer requires partnership with the technical and operations side of the company. The proposal layer does not define the proposal effort, but merely what you want to deliver to the start of the proposal.

One additional thing that this table can help you realize is how much of a disadvantage you are at if you start your proposal without having solved these problems. If your proposal win rate is low, the first place to start improving it is making sure you've addressed these issues before the proposal even starts.

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