Within the CapturePlanning.com MustWin Process we measure progress and quality against what it will take to win. During the critical pre-RFP phase of the pursuit, we use Readiness Reviews to ensure measurable progress towards discovering what it will take to win. Readiness Reviews bring structure to the pre-RFP phase of pursuit and help ensure that you arrive at RFP release and begin the proposal prepared to win.
Each Readiness Review has specific questions, goals, and action items that must be completed. We recommend having four Readiness Reviews. With four readiness reviews you can use this technique to schedule them flexibly no matter how much time there is between lead identification and RFP release.
This way if you find out about the opportunity one month before RFP release, you have a week to prepare for each review. If you are tracking a year in advance you have three months to prepare for each review. And if you find out about it at (or even after) RFP, it tells you what you need to find out in order to get caught up. If you finish the Readiness Reviews and the RFP is delayed, you have the right foundation to wait and monitor, or continue to prepare.
Each Readiness Review builds on the previous one so that information is collected, assessed, and transformed into what stakeholders need. We do not expect people to be able to answer all of the questions we ask. Instead, we look for them to answer as many as are humanly possible, and to provide help, guidance, and alternative approaches for the questions that they have been unable to answer.
Smoothing the transitions from business development to the proposal
Readiness Reviews also provide a means to transfer knowledge and streamline the transition from business development to the proposal. They help ensure that you can answer the questions needed to write a great proposal and do it from the customer’s perspective.
Metrics and Management by Measurement
Most companies have regular meetings where they review their leads, gloss over what the don’t know, and put the emphasis on the fact that calls were placed or meetings held. Instead, Readiness Reviews enable you to measure your progress towards being ready for RFP release. You can quantify whether you know what you should. This feedback is important. It shows you how much more you need to do in order to be prepared. It can also be used to show trends or areas of weakness across multiple pursuits.
When you score your Readiness Reviews, you can generate a ton of metrics that you can use to assess what impacts your win rate and improve it over time. You can use Readiness Reviews to turn business development from an art into a science.
At each review, assess whether the answers provided and actions taken are sufficient to prepare you for RFP release. We use a Red/Yellow/Green scale to grade the answers to each question. You should see answers that score a “Yellow” or “Red” in an early review move to “Green” by later review. While movement in the other direction is bad, it’s good to have an objective way to identify it when you are slipping.
Readiness Reviews connect strategic planning to the proposal
Your strategic plans should point you in the direction to prospect and provide high level positioning. This positioning lays the foundation for developing your value proposition. When you identify leads, you bring those strategies to the customer. During the pursuit, as you build the customer relationship, gather intelligence, and develop an information advantage, Readiness Reviews guide you through gathering information, assessment, ad articulating your bid strategies and themes. Along the way they also give you the means to connect your strategic plans (3) all the way to the proposal.
Improving ROI and making effective bid/no bid decisions
Each Readiness Review is essentially a bid/no bid decision. At each review the question becomes whether the lead is worth the cost of preparing for the next review. If a review shows that your company does not have an information advantage or is not prepared to win, you have the opportunity to stop the pursuit without incurring any additional cost. Readiness Reviews help you break out of the idea that a bid/no bid decision happens at a moment in time, and replaces it with a continuous focus on ROI.
The following items provide the list of questions, goals, and action items in a table that can be used as a scoring and signoff sheet.
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Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY.
The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is an expert at winning in writing. He is a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant.
Carl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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