Customer focus is central to effective Capture Planning and execution, and subsequent proposal or bid planning and execution.
Across the Shipley BD-Lifecycle – adopted by many leading businesses as their Business Development (BD) process framework – many Shipley clients work with us to assess the changing context in which they take key BD steps.
For example – in Phase 0: Market Segmentation. To make better market entry decisions, it helps to understand what is happening politically, in business, or socially in the different markets under consideration.
In Phase 1: Long-Term Positioning. Clients prepare more specific thought-leadership and capability collateral based upon awareness of broad, high-level customer issues and concerns about their markets.
In Phase 2: Opportunity Assessment More constructive and better-informed capture investment decisions (what opportunities to spend money on) are possible from understanding prospective customers business and social context – and how they are coping with these.
In Phase 3: Capture Planning: Good capture planning depends upon your potential to add value to prospective customers in the particular situation(s) they find themselves in. This encompasses both specific needs and broader, significant issues impacting their market, customers, operations and profit. PESTLE represents a useful tool to structure thinking for this process of understanding your customers and their evolving environment.
In his 1967 book “Scanning the Business Environment”, Francis Aguilar, a Harvard professor, included a tool called ETPS. Successive thinkers modified it to PEST, then expanded to PESTLE. The letters PESTLE represent the Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental contexts.
Many organisations use PESTLE internally to plan product development, supply chain operations, human resources and growth (or contraction). In this article we look at using the PESTLE model to better understand and support your customers.
The PESTLE factors provide a simple checklist of focus areas to review at each BD Lifecycle phase as you develop your market and identified opportunities.
Typical areas you could consider under each heading include:
POLITICAL: Tax policy; environmental regulations; trade restrictions and reform; tariffs; political stability
ECONOMIC: Economic growth/decline; interest, exchange, inflation and wage rates; minimum wage; working hours; unemployment (local and national); credit availability; cost of living
SOCIAL: Cultural norms and expectations; lifestyle trends; health consciousness; population growth rates; age distribution; career attitudes
TECHNOLOGICAL: Emerging technologies; robotics; artificial intelligence; digital security; disruptive technologies, and the rate of change itself
LEGAL: Changes to legislation impacting employment, health and safety, access to materials, quotas, resources, imports/exports, standards and taxation.
ENVIRONMENTAL: Climate change; emissions and waste; sustainable supply of raw materials; ethical sourcing. (Source: CIPD UK PESTLE Factsheet)
Scale to suit. Remember, how you use PESTLE will depend on the BD Lifecycle phase you are working in. So you might do a single PESTLE analysis for considering entry into a single market. Then you might later run multiple iterations for each significant opportunity.
You can do a light version to identify the potential current or pending issues your customer is facing, and shape your offers and messaging accordingly. This simplified approach to defining and claiming value from customers is very accessible, even for less mature organisations.
Keep it fresh. PESTLE data does require updating, of course; it is rarely a static view. As the economy, political or social changes occur, the implications you’re your response will need updating as well.
Let us know if you’d like to include a PESTLE analysis in your next Shipley win strategy session with us.
BEEVERS, K. and REA, A. (2016) Learning and development practice. 3rd ed. London: CIPD. (Section 2.2: Understanding organisations, p28). MORRISON, M. (2013) Strategic business diagnostic tools: theory and practice. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. (Chapter 3: PESTLE). TURNER, S. (2002) Tools for success: A Manager’s Guide. London: McGraw Hill.