A winning strategy is a simple set of bulleted statements outlining how you will win the targeted bid, which leads to a comprehensive plan that prepares you to finish on top. It looks at all aspects of the opportunity and leaves no stone unturned. It incorporates a priority-driven action plan with deadlines and belly buttons assigned to each task. Win strategy also incorporates the development of resulting win themes and the best value story.

The winning strategy identifies the set of top-level actions that, if taken, would create a winning offering.
–  It does not describe what is – It describes what should be
–  It does not defend previous actions –  but guides what must be done between now and source selection
–  It does not include unenforceable promises about the future (post-award activities), nor unenforceable comparisons with competitors.
Win strategy is defined from the top down

The “secret sauce” of Win Strategy development is to focus more on the desired outcome of the whole effort. When people think to capture, they typically think of what they should offer, what their win themes should be, how they could outdo or ghost the competition, whom should they talk to in order to build a team, and how to best plan for the proposal effort. Sure, all of these are absolutely necessary, but often focusing on these very activities makes people mistake movement for progress.

The driver of capture should not be the steps of the process, but rather the strategy that gets you to answer three questions:

1. What would it take to win—what would a potential winner have to have to make it an obvious choice from the customer’s standpoint?
– You must define every aspect of what the customer would ultimately desire, whether you have it or not at the moment, and visualize and document your desired outcome as if it were an ideal world.
– You can derive the understanding of what the customer most desires from the key issues facing the customer – their hot buttons, fears, and worries – or whatever keeps them up at night.
– It should not be limited by what we think is possible – this conversation is about winning in “Nirvana” – or an ideal world. You have to ask yourself:
– What could we do so that winning is a slam dunk – if the world were perfect for our company?
2. Where are you now? You should assess where you are in comparison to that ideal winning scenario.

3. What are the steps to get you there? You must come up with a plan and a schedule of activities predicated on getting you from where you are now to where you need to be in an ideal situation in the fastest way possible.
– Eventually, you may conclude that we can’t quite do what one would do in “Nirvana”– so the question is – what could we do to come as close to this as possible?
Then, and only then, your capture process becomes meaningful. It is your focus that makes all the difference. Instead of asking “what steps do I need to take to get through the capture process?” clearly define the purpose first, then describe in enough detail the desired outcome. Next, assess where you are and apply the steps from your normal capture process to serve this outcome. You may repeat this exercise as you discover more information in the course of your capture effort.

This is classic strategic planning. Smart strategic planning is the path to efficiency since all your efforts are naturally focused, rather than being scattered without a precisely defined purpose.

P.S.: If you need Business Development, Capture, Proposal Consulting, or Training Support, contact us at (301) 384-3350 or at [email protected]. We have 800+ fully vetted capture and proposal managers, technical writers, graphic artists, orals coaches, editors, subject matter experts, and other proposal support, with a track record supporting 18 out of the top 20 Federal Contractors, winning $18 Billion since 2005.


Olessia Smotrova-Taylor, CEO/President

OST Global Solutions, Inc. www.ostglobalsolutions.com.

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