A solid win strategy is key to winning Government contracts, as well as to defending your incumbent work. A solid win strategy is a guiding mechanism and the rocket fuel that propels your entire capture effort. It enables you to select and prioritize the right actions to position yourself to increase your Probability of Winning (Pwin). Our Win Strategy Development Workshop enables you to get your team trained on developing a winning strategy for must-win contracts and producing powerful proposal-level win themes. It even drills down into your solutions and detailed themes that permeate your proposals at the section level. This workshop is hands-on and uses your own opportunity as the subject matter. We start with just-in-time training in OST’s methodology for win strategy development, then we work on your win themes, finally arriving at a list of prioritized Strategic Action Plans that will position you for a win prior to issuance of the RFP. We prepare by researching your pursuit in advance, and then we usually run a 2-day workshop (although we can be creative about setting up sessions to accommodate your busy billable Subject Matter Experts). You will get notes and win themes, as well as an action plan to assign to specific members of your team.
What Is Win Strategy?
Win Strategy is a practical action plan that enables you to outdo your competition every step of the way. It shapes your offering, directs your steps to position yourself to win, creates a certain image of you in the eyes of your Government customer, and guides your team’s preparation so that winning is a slam dunk once a Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued. Actions may include finding the right Program Manager, signing on the right teaming partner, opening an office in another country, making a capital investment, or even winning another contract to position yourself for the upcoming bid. Many of these actions take time to complete once you determine the need and strategy for each. Therefore, running a Win Strategy Development Workshop as early as possible in the capture process is paramount to success.
What Are Win Themes?
Win Themes are messages that get a customer excited to select you for a contract. They are delivered to your customer during capture and make your proposal compelling. They give your customer a solid reason to select you over the competition. Win themes fall into four general categories:
- Discriminators or Differentiators: Unique strengths that nobody or nearly nobody has that matter to the customer now or that will in the future
- Common Strengths: Advantages that you have, but that others have as well, which must be presented in a unique light to be compelling to the customer
- Turnarounds: Themes based on you having a negative performance experience and therefore requiring you to own up to your mistakes and turn them into “valuable lessons learned”
- Ghosting: Themes based on exploiting your competition’s weaknesses and past performance shortfalls, without naming directly who has been having those problems, to showcase yourself in a positive light by contrast
Coming up with win themes is difficult, and many companies don’t do themselves any favors by doing it late, during the proposal development process. They end up with an uninspired, general list that looks something like this:
- We are the best value, lowest price provider
- We have CMMI Level 3 (or ISO, or some other credential that many other companies have)
- We understand you very well
- We have excellent past performance (or we are the incumbent)
- We have a well-rounded team
Our Win Strategy Development Workshop will help you come up with highly-tailored, customer-focused, detailed win themes that look nothing like the washed-out themes above. You will differentiate your company and your solution so you stand out from the rest of the bidders. They will help organize your team around a central message, focus your proposal effort, and make your proposal memorable to the evaluators so they are compelled to select you.
How win themes relate to winning strategies.
Typically, a company would prioritize developing a strategy over win themes. Win themes are an afterthought and often considered a pre-proposal (or even proposal) activity. Companies do it because their instinct is to move from general (strategy) to specific (a statement encapsulating the results of implementing this strategy). OST, on the other hand, has developed a methodology honed over the course of more than 100 successful workshops that starts with the themes and backs into a winning strategy. This counterintuitive, reverse methodology speeds up the entire process, makes it more specific, and produces tangible products—a Win Strategy White Paper and a prioritized Strategic Action Plan. These products will guide your capture effort. The Win Strategy White Paper is indispensable in proposal preparation as it contains oodles of golden nuggets that will add sizzle to your proposal and make it unique (even when it’s hard to differentiate yourself from competitors). It helps tell a more cohesive and persuasive story because the process of developing Win Strategy and Win Themes is simultaneous.
Who should attend the workshop?
You should plan to invite your business development personnel with customer knowledge, Subject Matter Experts in your subject pursuit, possibly your exclusive teaming partners, and any other team members who know this opportunity and customer. As this is not only an alive win strategy development workshop but also a training opportunity, you may invite anyone else in the organization who could benefit from the training and apply this knowledge to your future pursuits.
Additional just-in-time training/workshop options.
Often our Win Strategy and Win Themes Development workshop attendees end up developing the overall Solution for your proposal and the Concept of Operations (CONOPS). We could also run a separate Solution Development Workshop, as we have mature methodologies to guide that process. Additionally, if you are doing your workshops close to the proposal or have a Draft RFP, your team may benefit from our Writing Persuasive Proposals Workshop. This workshop focuses on compliant and fast writing and persuasion. We will combine the right types of training and hands-on workshop modules for a tailored experience custom-fit for your pursuit.
Contact us to learn more.