A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The BAFO (12-21-13)
Every competitive bidder needs to know who they are competing against. Why? Because this knowledge helps a bidder gauge where, within its range of possible bid prices (presumably from low to high profitability), the bid can most likely be won and executed profitably.
Speaking with a friend and colleague who is authoring one of the books in CAI/SISCo's Roadmap To BD Success series, we fell to trading stories of some of the crazy things that we have witnessed over long careers supporting government business developers. The story I am about to relate was set back in the days before email became ubiquitous and bidders had to physically deliver multiple hard copies of their multi-volume proposals. This usually involved the employment of some sort of delivery truck.
Well it appears that the CEO of a moderately sized government contractor was fond of haranguing his capture managers about the importance of learning who his firm was competing against before developing a Best And Final Offer (BAFO). This need led his capture manager for a $100M opportunity to set up a tripod and camera, complete with telephoto lens, in a parking lot that provided a clear view of the proposal delivery location. The camera was trained on the agency's loading dock where competing proposals had to be delivered by the noon deadline. The theory appeared to be that having shots of the conveyances and their occupants as they arrived to disgorge competitive offerings would offer clues to bidder identities. He was happily clicking away when, all of a sudden, he was tackled by four burly guys, thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and hauled off to the 6-hour grilling of a lifetime. It seems that a military intelligence activity was located in the same building that housed the customer's loading dock, and our hero's setup had been spotted from a window by a naturally suspicious military intelligence type that had concluded that, perish the thought, they were being spied on.
Happily, because CAI/SISCo's Price To Win (PTW) framework is designed to identify our customer's competitors and their most likely bid prices, 1970s-era information gathering approaches are no longer needed. This is why PTW, whether performed as an internal or an external function, has become integral to most firm's capture process.
Please call me, Kent Bartlett, or Rich Brown to request a proposal for an independent PTW study, facilitated Black Hat review, or pricing strategy development from CAI/SISCo. We are the market-leading provider of external PTW studies and, if we are available to help you, we will be happy to propose to support your next capture activity with information that is designed to help you avoid blind price bidding.
Good luck and happy hunting!