Consistent and positive messaging in early capture activities is easier to manage because the capture manager often plans, attends, facilitates, or arranges these activities. As an opportunity progresses, bidder conferences, site visits, and questions regarding solicitation documents introduce new individuals, including senior executives, who might know relatively little about the customer and the opportunity.
Throughout, the capture manager should define, schedule, and manage customer contacts so that the outcome advances rather than impedes the sale.
The usual meeting guidelines apply:
- Name the event leader.
- Plan the event.
- Define each participant’s role.
Establish common expectations, objectives, and ground rules with your team prior to the event and with the customer prior to or at the event.
- Prepare and rehearse, if appropriate.
- Follow the facilitator’s lead during the event.
- Conclude events by reviewing and confirming next steps.
- Debrief the team immediately after the event, summarize results, inform others as needed, and assign follow-up actions.
Every proposal team will have questions about requirements, conflicts, and omissions in solicitation documents. While the proposal manager, legal, or contracts representative might collect, review, and refine these questions, the capture manager should be aware of each question and strategize with the proposal team regarding if, how, and who will pose questions. Apply the same approach to additional customer questions.