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By Molly K. Gimmel & Diana Dibble Kurcfeld
e previously wrote about the importance of Threats) is a good place to start. Below are some The SWOT analysis is only part of the question. assessment seriously. If shortcomings outweigh the
developing solid relationships with potential examples of things to consider when conducting a The following questions also need to be taken into successes, it may be wise to no-bid the solicitation.
government customers and the value of pre-mar- SWOT analysis: account when considering to bid or not:
keting opportunities. In brief, we said it is essential
Do we have the appropriate proposal
to start the sales process before the solicitation or • Strengths: We have experience working for Can we make a good case for the government
development resources? Your company should
Request for Proposal (RFP) is released. In this article, this customer or at this agency; the services/ to select us? Potential customers want to know
determine whether you have the resources
we’ll discuss an often overlooked component of the products are our core competencies; we are the that you can provide exactly what they need.
required to write a winning proposal. Resources
sales process, specifically the bid/no-bid decision. incumbent (and they are well liked); we have the Know the customer’s business objectives and be
include personnel, technical and managerial
incumbent on our team; we have the required able to prove to them that a partnership between
expertise, time, and your company’s financial
Given today’s economy and the limited resources key personnel; etc. you and them will be beneficial and rewarding
status. As proposal responses often require late
that most companies have, it is important for for both parties. You should also consider the
night and weekend work, you may want to consider
businesses to identify the criteria they will use to • Weaknesses: We don’t have experience at competition. Develop and sell your discriminators
how this effort will impact existing customer
decide what opportunities to go after and which this customer; we do not have the incumbent to the potential customer. Discriminators are those
projects and/or staff morale.
ones to let go. The Government procurement contractor or any of their personnel; we don’t factors that set you apart from the competition.
process is a resource-consuming business with the have the required key personnel on staff; we Identify your competitors, what services they offer,
The bid decision process can include a formal
potential for big gains if a business wisely executes don’t have a presence in the location where their past performance, and their strengths and
checklist with specific questions and associated
all moves; however, the decision to go after a work is to be performed; etc. weaknesses. If the incumbent can’t bid on the
scores, or it can be a roundtable discussion.
contract should not be a gamble. The bid/no-bid re-compete as the prime, then determine if they
Whatever the format, it needs to happen.
process enables a company to make a realistic • Opportunities: We have experience providing will make a good teaming partner. You have to
assessment of the resources required to produce the same or similar services to a customer with understand the customer and its environment to
In many cases, the best decision may be not to bid
a proposal and the chances of winning. Even if an a similar environment OR our teaming partners determine if you should team with the incumbent
if your company is lacking in resources, capability,
opportunity has been pre-marketed, a final bid/ have experience working for this customer/ or approach their personnel to be part of your
and/or identified strengths or differentiators. The
no-bid decision should not be made until the RFP agency; we can bring a fresh perspective to proposal.
is actually released. Keep in mind that the bid/no- the agency (if that is what they want); we are
bid/no-bid process is designed to aid a company
bid decision process may continue if amendments recruiting the incumbent personnel; etc. Does our company have the capabilities to
in making an intelligent, informed, and realistic
significantly change the RFP requirements and/or complete the work successfully? Carefully
decision regarding its chances of winning. The
evaluation criteria. It is much better to pull the plug • Threats: There is a well-liked incumbent examine the scope of work to determine that all
results of an informed decision could mean your
on an opportunity than to submit a non-compliant contractor; the incumbent contractor isn’t well requirements, tasks, and deadlines are feasible.
company wins the contract, or you save your
proposal or a proposal for an opportunity that you liked but their people are (company who has Review your company’s project history for
company from investing in an opportunity that you
can’t win. incumbent personnel in their proposal may examples of similar work performed as outlined in
are ill equipped to handle.
have an advantage); our team is unknown the Statement of Work. Make note of all successes
Molly K. Gimmel & Diana Dibble Kurcfeld are the owners of
The process involves self-evaluation as well as an to the customer; we haven’t marketed this and shortcomings. You want to prove with past
Design To Delivery Inc, a government contracts consulting firm
assessment of the competition. A SWOT analysis opportunity; etc. performance that you are capable of providing
based in Bethesda, MD. For more information, they can be
(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and the services requested in the solicitation. Take risk reached at (301) 657-4440 or visit
 ThinkBusiness April 2009 
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