Capture if you can!

Image of Pete Nicholls
Pete Nicholls
Capture if you can, with Jeremy Brim

Episode Summary

Jeremy Brim shares the importance of opportunity capture and account planning well before the tender or RFP is released.

 

EPISODE NOTES

  • Capture is about being engaged long before the Request For Proposal (RFP) or Invitation To Tender (ITT) is released

  • The Real prize is upstream, as an estimated 60% of decision-making power is before the ITT is ever released.

  • Engaging clients in that thinking process is more profitable, as it creates value and we earn the right to take a share of the value we create

  • Bid responders should be Snipers, not infantry.

  • Better to win 1/100 large deals than 100 small deals

  • A lot of firms scattergun their approach

  • Bidders are great "midfielders" but if you wait until the ITT comes out you have missed the bigger opportunity.

  • Capture is based on an opportunity.

  • Account planning positions for opportunities to come. Pick a leader for the account and build a plan, connecting with who and in what order to inform the next connection and build momentum.

  • The CRM dirty secret is that real adoption is spectacularly low. CRM implementation is treated as an IT project instead of cultural change, and those who sell CRMs aren’t very good at it. Drive the transformation into how you win work.

  • 80% of B2B biz should come from existing clients, which is a reflection of how well you look after them

  • If you don’t know the economic buyer's partner name and success measures you are in deep shit :)

  • One UK example is with Morgan Sindall https://www.morgansindallconstruction.com/

  • Focus on winning deals in accounts that will have more ongoing projects rather than a single deal with nothing to follow. Build the account plan and capture plan.

  • When driving change, not all people make the change.

  • At ISG it was a challenge keeping pace and affected how I had to change the approach to brief senior people. COVID-19 made us isolated and so I had to relearn how to give updates.

  • My role has been to bring expertise the CEO does not have, but my advice is as the caddy to help their success, not to. be the golfer.

  • Maturity in Capture differs around the world. In Capture, the US is pretty mature.

  • The UK is the leading nation in bidding as others are derivatives of the UK's lead, and Americans are a bit behind there.

  • But Capture is the opposite, where almost all capture roles are in the USA, but not many "get it yet" in Europe. Capture is the next key step.

  • US capture managers see the opportunity it all the way through. This creates continuity as most bid teams elsewhere don’t look at the relationship and what has happened upstream.

  • The bidding person should mentor upward: invite a senior sponsor. * The biggest factor in winning is a board member, mentor them in what you need.

  • Capture works for a smaller number of bigger deals, otherwise, focus on account management.

  • Bid teams are helpless when forced to bid everything, it’s "bullshit".

  • To influence the business and the bidding decisions, show data and win rates and feedback.

Links to free tools, useful tips & offers for our listeners

About Jeremy Brim

* Jeremy Brim brings 20 years of experience as a capture and bid management professional across both the public and private sectors.

* Leading successful bid function spanning professional services, outsourcing, and construction - Jeremy has secured an enviable collection of high-profile projects, programs, and frameworks with blue-chip clients around the globe.

* Jeremy founded Growth Ignition in 2018, where he works with leadership teams to plan and execute interventions across the sales cycle.


To speak to Pete about your Proposal issues or Software needs: www.bookachatwithpete.com


 

FULL TRANSCRIPTION or LISTEN: 

https://proposal.works/episodes/capture-if-you-can

Pete

Greetings everyone. And a very warm welcome to another edition of the proposal works podcast, where we talk with proposal experts who share real stories of how they win. I'm your host, Pete Nicholls. I'm coming to you from Copenhagen in Denmark, and I'm joined today by Jeremy Brim, Jeremy. Very good day to you. Where are you today?

Jeremy

Thank you, Pete. And thanks for having me. Uh, I'm in Cambridgeshire in the UK today, back at home.

Pete

And a very hot one in Cambridge, from what I hear from UK friends.

Jeremy

Yeah. It's just starting to cool off. So it's around half past five in the evening here as we're recording and it's still 25 degrees and it was 29 during the day, which is not unheard of, but not a little bit unpleasant in the UK. I would say for us, yeah.

Pete

Uncomfortable for the office in the loft situation.

Jeremy

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So I'm coming to you live from my shed. So I've got fishing gear and bikes and all sorts behind me rather than my usual office, cause it's too hot in the roof today. Okay.

Pete

We're glad you could join us so great to see you, Jeremy. For our listener's if you haven't yet heard of Jeremy Brim, Jeremy is based in the UK and brings 20 years of experience as a capture and bid management professional across both public and private sectors. Leading successful bid function. Spanning professional services, outsourcing construction. Jeremy has secured an enviable collection of high-profile projects, programs and frameworks with blue chip clients around the globe.

And Jeremy founded Growth Ignition in 2018, where he works with leadership teams to plan and execute interventions across the sales cycle. And Jeremy, the things that aren't on your published profile, but I see on your LinkedIn, cause you are an APMP accredited trainer. You are the host of your own podcast, the red review, which has been running for over two years, and I've caught a few of those episodes and a roll on various boards as well.

So you keep yourself busy. You're a capture manager is one of the things that you do so our topic for today is capture. If you can, let's kick it off. Jeremy, who's your ideal client and what do they truly want?

Jeremy

Oh, wow. That's a good question. So I think an ideal client for me is one that lets you engage or, or actively wants you to engage with them far, far, far before an ITT is even written.

One that you can engage with to co-solve the answer to their problems to come up with the most valuable way of delivering the business outcome or the social outcome that they're looking to achieve. That's the utopia and the utopia is that you get to negotiate that piece of work, you know, your competition never even heard of it until it hits the press that you've delivered it.

Pete

Now that's very different to a lot of the speakers that we've had on the show so far, who are the proposal writers, they get the bid, they organisation says we're responding to this, let's give it our best shot. And hopefully it's gone through a bid, no bid process to decide whether it's something you should be bidding on anyway. So you're talking about something that is much further up the food chain in the decision-making process of where the business is heading. So let's expand on that. What are the kinds of problems that they normally face at that part of the business cycle? What does that look like?

Jeremy

Yes, it's really interesting because, I'm a bidding professional by my true background, as it were, I started out as a lad to doing, I get typecast often, you know, I'll get senior execs asking me to come and work on bids or engaging with their bid teams in teaching them how to write bids and all of this good stuff.  And I'm very happy to do that, but very often either in the pre engagement where I'm working with them to shape their course, that they want me to deliver or in the conversations just around work we need in that organisation, you, you tend to find that there's the classic challenges that they're bidding too much, they're bidding for opportunities that they're never going to win. You know, obviously their bid decision approach is flawed. You know, their win rates are very low and actually what they haven't clicked, which is what we spend actually most of our consulting time and Growth Ignition doing, is up stream where the real prize is to be had because, you know, procurement friends of mine will never say publicly, but they will tell me over a beer that they would say that estimate more than 60% of the decision making power in a procurement decision happens before the ITT is ever released. Right?

Because if you look at the chartered Institute of purchasing and supplies, a strategic sourcing process, which is kind of part of what they learn is part of their studies to become professional procurement people on the other side of the fence to us, most of the activity happens before they execute the procurement. You know, they've got their category strategy piece, they've got their business strategy piece on the actual need for whatever it is that they're looking to purchase. And so as a supplier in whatever market, really, if you can engage them whilst they're in that thinking process, you've got a much higher chance of converting the business, but actually converting business that's far more profitable for you and for them. Cause the utopia should be that you come up with a solution that's so valuable for them that they can't go to anyone else, and you get to take a share of that value you create in effect is, is what we actually all do in business and in life, we're all taking a share of the value that we create for organizations or for clients.

And so if you look at the world that way, it kind of changes the game for bidding people because bidding people, as I say, they should be snipers, not infantry. You know, we're, we're there to take that one important shot or, you know, a year rather than bidding a hundred bids and winning 10 wouldn't you want to win one that's worth the same as a hundred, you know? So, yeah, that's, that's where I think the challenge lies is really, it's really getting ahead of the game,

Pete

getting ahead of the game. So the upstream to work out, if you are going to take one shot, What should that be? And positioning that maybe the ITT, the tender won't even be released, if it's something that meets whatever criteria that doesn't require that. What mistakes do you see?

Cause you mentioned about, uh, one mistake of just bidding on things, too many things. What are the mistakes that you see companies make when they are trying to influence upstream that way? What are the things that they do that don't work out?

Jeremy

I see a lot of organisations “scattered gun” their contacts. So just randomly talking to anyone , rather than having a really focused campaign around either an opportunity or if a scale above that. So actually there's kind of a continuum if you like from business plans strategically at the top. So your three to five-year business plan, the business is going over there. It's going to turn over so much, so many people, et cetera, which should be so often in business, uh, when I'm engaging boards, that tends to be a spreadsheet with some numbers in it. When actually it should be a market research led exercise that tells you where the money is going to be and which types of clients you want to work with, or that kind of stuff.

The level below that is then account management of your key accounts and or prospects. Right. And so there's another activity space there. The bidding people are actually really well adept at working in. And so I guess where I'm going with the conversation is bidding professionals are fantastic defensive midfielders, if you like, if you want to use a soccer term for the rest of the business, because we're really good at the process, we're really good at the right sort of detail and understanding clients. We have empathy and we understand how to pull the strings of the business to get a value proposition out of it and get a coherent story out of it.

But, uh, if you wait until an ITT comes out from a client, you've missed all of that opportunity to align the activity in advance. So I'd much rather that bid teams expanded their sphere of influence in their business and started writing white papers for clients on how you might be able to add value to their business or the outcomes they're looking for as part of an account management piece, or certainly a capture piece for a specific opportunity that's a year away or, or actually that they don't even know they need.

So that's yeah, that's the kind of space really. It's about us as a discipline gravitating upstream.

Pete

That business planning and then account planning, there's a lot of noise in the CRM space, uh, around this, um, uh, account-based marketing and ABM and a whole plethora of tools coming out around that.

Do you see the situation is improving there or companies getting better at being focused on, on an account and the roles that the different stakeholders play to influence?

Jeremy

Not really. So actually I didn't finish answering the last question properly did I? So in terms of the mistakes that I see made, it's people randomly talking to people in the client organisation without a campaign, without a, you know, an agreement. So in really basic terms, one of the things I teach in the bidding stuff, let alone capture, is as an account team pick a leader, first of all, someone's got to be the account lead, who everybody else channels information into, and then build a plan that you're going to, who are the contacts that, you know, will need to know and in which order do you speak to them? Don't all run off like kids playing, you know, soccer, five sides, soccer, and all chasing the ball, you know, agree in order because you can then have that first conversation and use the outcomes from that conversation to inform the second one and the third one and the fourth one, et cetera.

So it builds momentum. These things are all about building momentum. And so in terms of the CRM space, it's really interesting that you mentioned it because the dirty secret is, you know, you can go and buy yourself a, you know, a big brow. I better not say names in case they sue me had I, but you can go and buy one of those big, expensive CRM platforms, and there is some value in people putting their contacts in it and it's quite smart if you can use it for your pipeline management, that kind of drive some behaviours around people using it. But in reality, the real adoption of CRM platforms is spectacularly low. And because people treat it like an IT project, not a cultural change project. And so the organisations that do get the value out of it are the ones that really go on the journey with it and it becomes part of the DNA of the business. But what you tend to find is the organisations that sell those platforms aren't very good at that. You need to find some professionals and build some capability, really build a proper business case about the transformation that you're looking for in how you win work.

But to be honest, putting all those systems and big numbers and stuff to one side, 80% of your turnover should come from existing clients. And so it's not, particularly in B2B businesses or B to G businesses rather than B to C. So B to C here, we've got lots of tiny things going on. I can't really speak to that, it's not my space, but 80% of your turnover should really come from existing clients. And so it's about how you look after those existing clients, rather than a database led approach of almost email marketing. It's alright, you know, you can have the user journey coming through your website and funnel and all that kind of caper.

But fundamentally, if you don't know the partner's name of the person who signs the checks and your biggest client, you're in trouble. If you don't know what's on their personal scorecard, that gets them, their appraisal score and their bonus at the end of the year, you're in deep shit. So, you know, that's, that's where you want to be, and that doesn't take an nth degree of systems. Uh, what it needs is a fairly simple account, the plan, and then maybe some measurement  in your staff's appraisals in when that account plan was last updated, what the net promoter score client feedback score was from that client. And when you last it, an annual report for them, quite a nice thing to do is to go see a client and take them through an annual report of your business's performance for them in the last year and what you're going to do for them in the coming year and build some commitments in that kind of stuff. There ain't any systems that do that. You need to create a little campaign group, maybe if it's only even for your top five clients or top 20 clients.

But what you'll find is there's probably quite a small number of clients that actually steer the vision of your business or the future of your business,

Pete

That ABM, account-based m the M is, is generally account-based marketing, but what you're describing really sounds more like account-based management and management of the relationship, but who or the key relationships are with an existing customer and being able to influence the projects that are going to appear. Whether it's the challenge of sales or other types of methodologies get brought into play. So could you share with us Jeremy, some examples of where you've helped, where you can see that maybe things wouldn't have gone so great, but you've through your training or direct involvement. Can you share with us any examples of how you've helped?

Jeremy

Yeah. So I guess the one that I can really talk about because it's finished and it's on our website is, uh, I did some work with a business unit of Morgan Sindall in the UK. Who are 3 billion pound turnover, main contractor in construction. And I got brought in by one of their regional managing directors, if they're a regional construction business. So the business that builds schools and bits of hospitals and offices and things like that. So built assets rather than infrastructure like rail and roads. And they had a little office in a place called Welwyn Garden City, just north of London. It should turn over a hundred million pounds easily. And some of its competitors turnover 300 million in the same geography.

So if anyone knows it, the Northern home counties were the geography it covered Hartford, shear Bedford share, Buckingham share. And then the Northern London borrowers like Enfield and Barnett and places like that. So Willmott Dixon for instance, their HQ is in Hitchin just down the road I think.

They're doing way more money. And, but this business had kind of bumbled along and then really lost its way a bit. So they bought it with a new leadership and area director called Dave Rousell. Who's quite a thrusting, fairly young bloke for that kind of gig from Waits and they bought in a couple of other people as ops directors and things like that.

And I was brought in to work alongside them for their first year, really on their growth strategy and the execution of it. And so, as I, as I said, kind of that continuum top down there, that's what I delivered for that business unit quite successfully. So I did a whole bunch of market research on where the opportunities were going to be in which sectors in that geography.

And then of that, what was addressable for our business unit, where we were credible, where the competition was weakest, or at least palatable, you know, where the money was going to be etc. And then we built a business plan out of that, which we agreed. And then I executed that as the growth strategy. So we developed account plans for their top five clients and pursuits. And then as a subset of that, we created a top five capture plans for their key pursuits, the key anchor projects in the pipeline. And that was important for not just winning work reasons. The selection of those opportunities were important in terms of the structure in the future of the business.

So we selected that some of the five capture plans for instance, were fairly small projects, but the first project in a program. So we'd selected clients to target who had what we call platform clients. They had programs of work off into the future. A mistake a lot of clients make is spending a lot of time and effort in pursuing or tendering once in a lifetime projects or pieces of work with clients where you win that piece of work, but then you'll never need to talk to them again.

Whereas I try and coach clients, my clients into looking for clients that have got programs of work off into the future, which seems really obvious, but you would be amazed how many people don't do that. And so, yeah, but the capture plan, some of them were for small first jobs in a program like that, but some of them were for bigger projects that were important to win for attracting and retaining people, which is so important these days.

And you want to work in a buzzing place that's got some really cool work, cool stuff to do, you know? And so it's quite important to, you know, go and win some sexy projects. We used to say, And, uh, we quite successfully did that. So the commission came to an end. I ended up staying for 18 months in the end.

I left in June last year and they, so they, when I joined, they’d turned over 30 million with it. By the end of year one, they turned over 45 and this year they've turned over 75 and they're tracking to that hundred next year. So really pleasing outcomes by instilling some fairly simple stuff around that stuff. We put in a B2B strategy. So we looked at that pipeline of opportunities who were their consultants or influences that were touching it. Who did we need to meet? You know, did a bit of entertaining that kind of stuff, as you'd expect and tactical marketing plan around that, key themes, round table dinners on key themes that were intersected the pipeline.

So there's a bit of a matrix approach. But none of it, rocket science really, but, um, yeah, really what's lovely is they've got, they've brought on some great people. They've got some great youngsters coming through who are now getting to work on those big jobs. So they've  just won a really fantastic building with the University of Hertfordshire, their engineering building, which is quite challenging structurally, they're going to actually teach continuing sort of high powered construction methodology in the building. So you've got to do a good job of building the building. So that's fantastic that they've, they've got there, some of the youngsters working on that too. So that, that was, that was really nice to be part of that.

Pete

That sounds like a great turnaround story. Given the situation that they are in, that you described at the start. So this, uh, David and others hand-picked presumably had come into the organisation to affect change, but not everybody would have been you. I imagine that the account teams and so forth.  Were there folks there that then had to go through a change from how they had run things in the past to think differently. And how did that go?

Jeremy

Many change projects, the slightly sticky bit is that some people will stay on the bus and will stick with the change and understand where you're going with that change. So there's a whole vision piece, you know, we're going over there. This is what we stand for you know, our why all of that good stuff.

And some existing staff will bind. And some staff won't and I get off the bus. And so there probably was a 20, 25% turnover of staff whilst I was there of people who'd been there a long time and didn't want to stay on the, on the journey we were going on. You know, some people retired, some people just left and went and got jobs elsewhere.

And you know, that's part of life really that that happens. But also there are some people, my friend, Chloe, actually, who worked for me in effect when I was there, who's their business development coordinator. She hadn't really been particularly well treated I think before I'd come along and our career, it sort of bumbled along a bit.

She'd been off and had kids and stuff, and they hadn't really engaged her back in the business effectively. Whereas now she's absolutely flying and doing a great job working with Dave on their stuff. I saw actually today, one of their newsletter emails come out and it's just really nice. Some of the stuff they've got going on.

So, and I know she's at the heart of it, she looks after a lot of their social value stuff and things. So there's some stories there, pros and cons.

Pete

Better for the, for the folks who've stayed on there and, and created an exciting environment for the others to come through.

Jeremy

It's probably better for everyone actually cause the people who have exited they've gone off and got jobs in organisations that would seek them, et cetera. So it's, it's better for everyone all around in the end.

Pete

Yeah. I wasn't going to go well, if it continued as it was by the sound of that.

Jeremy

No, it would have closed. Yeah. They closed the office and everyone would have been out of a job. So, and it was on, it was on that sort of wire. So yeah, it's a better outcome for everyone.

Pete

So in that opportunity or maybe in another Jeremy of effecting change like that, what's a really big challenge that you personally faced and what you've learned as a takeaway from that.

Jeremy

There's another example, so more recently after, after I'd finished working with Morgan Sindall, I'd taken on some work with ISG who are another major contractor. And I think some of the challenge ISG are a much more fast moving organisation, much more agile and entrepreneurial, much more aggressive, a bit like Mace, who I'd worked for when I had a real job before I started my own business, but not as good in truth Mace, pretty elite stuff. They've got ISG on a bit of a journey; they're fairly mature.

And so I think being fluid and agile and keeping pace with ISG was probably a challenge. Cause I'd probably been a bit sleepy when I was at Morgan Sindall because the pace of that business is slower. They're bidding lots of smaller things, rather than a small number of big things. Yeah, that  challenge was probably keeping pace with all, all of that change that was going on in the business and how you brief senior people and take them with you.

So we've got there in the end and have successfully onboarded. I guess my role with ISG was I sat in as director of winning work nationally for six months while they recruited someone into that role. And then I've carried on with a capability development program. So they're buying one of our enterprise big toolkit sites as their internal, not just bid process, actually it's if it's got a work stream for beds capture and for account management, actually. So it digitised their processes, baked  training content into that, but that project was quite challenging because the business has changed and all that kind of stuff as we're trying to, it's a bit like nailing jelly to a wall.

So I had to really think about my, in the end, my stakeholder engagement skills. Briefing people properly, keeping them up to speed, using some technology to do that with a team site, that kind of stuff.

Pete

What was it about that? Do you think that you changed the most to adapt?

Jeremy

I think it was just getting back to, of course this was during the pandemic so my work with Morgan Sindall was pre pandemic, so I was in the office with people quite a lot. Whereas the ISG thing, it was people spread across the country, but also, you know, we were all isolated for quite a lot of the work. And so it was just relearning that I needed to, you know, people couldn't be out of sight out of mind, you need to pick up the phone to people and talk to them and keep them updated, rather than just relying on them, reading an email perhaps, or just the odd message in a team site or something.

I had to relearn a skill, which is a core skill of mine back in the days, you know, picking up the phone, going and seeing people making stuff happen. And so, yeah, I had to, I had to get back into that.

Pete

That's incredible. How about smartphones? That seems to be the one app that gets almost no usage is actually just phoning people. Now the phones do everything, but that, which, uh, personally, you know, I miss that, uh, you just get on the phone, but it always seems to need to be a zoom meeting. So I'm pleased to hear that you adapted and just, just call people, give them an update. What is it about what you do, Jeremy, that really floats your boat in all of the work that you do here there's transformational work at the upstream end. What is it about that that you find most fulfilling?

Jeremy

It's interesting because I was thinking about this the other day. It's changed quite a bit. So, you know, when I was younger and had more hair, less weight and more energy, you know, it was about winning bids, really big bids.. So I've been very, very lucky. To work with some really sensational, bid teams and sales teams and got to be part of some really big wins, like all the cost management of all of the Qatar World Cup Stadium, the program office for all of Microsoft Estate, all around the world or the Goldman Sachs Estate Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the UK Battersea Power Station in the UK.

These are all CapEx wise, more than a billion dollars each. And, you know, being part of those teams or touching those, or, you know, having people work for me who are engaged in those, it's a really proud moment. It's quite nice when I worked for Mace who are the people who built the Shard and the London Eye, for instance I did four and a half years there as the business partner for growth to the board for the construction business..

And if I'd had a night out in London on a Friday night, for instance, and stayed in a hotel, what I used to really love was getting an Uber rather than taking the tube back to King's cross to get the train home and getting the driver to drive down the embankment. Because if you drive down the embankment, there are a number of Mace buildings.

They built all the way down there from the mayor's office to, you know, more London, to all sorts of stuff including the Shard. And it's really, I find it quite fun, you know, irritating Uber drivers by pointing out all these buildings. It's quite a nice thing to have been involved in, but actually as I've got older, it's less about individual big deals and more about the success of business, businesses or business units that I'm working with.

And actually the individual leaders it's quite difficult for some leaders to work with me. Cause I'm probably better than them. A few things are going to be better than me, a lot of things, but I'm better than them at things that are fairly over in terms of winning work. And I'm not backwards in coming forwards, I guess, in, in telling them things. And it can be quite challenging. I have to have some quite difficult conversations with people, but I have to remind them that I'm there to make them successful. I'm a caddy, not, not the golfer. Yeah, it's their success, which is my success, you know? And so that's why, you know, I'm quite good friends with the guys that I worked with at Morgan Sindall in that senior team because I really enjoyed the journey and I take great pride in their success now because they're probably going to go on, you know, and I know I was only playing a part in it and I had to do a lot of work to make it happen, but it's quite nice that the strategy stuff that I did with them, they believed in bought into and we executed and they've gone and won some stuff that's changed the direction of that office, that business for the better they'll probably go on and get promoted and all that sort of stuff in the fullness of time, off the back of some of that. So I take a lot more pride in that now that's what gets me out, uh, but I would say.

Pete

That's a nice shift. The success of, of people from taking an Uber driver on a drive through your trophy cabinet, which is a pretty darn impressive trophy cabinet when you can point at these billion dollar plus developments. So on the people's side, in that leadership position, how well do you find today, Jeremy, that even the term capture management, our session today is on capture if you can, how well understood if you talk about capture. That they know what you mean? Really?

Jeremy

It depends where you are in the world. So it's quite interesting the maturity, I talk about maturity quite a lot, which sounds a bit management consultancy, but it sort of does the job until I can think of a better word, but yeah, the maturity is different in capture around the world. So in the States, on the East Coast, particularly linked to Washington, around the defense market,  big multi-billion dollar defense deals, all that sort of stuff.

There are lots of people who have the title capture manager or capture lead, and relatively speaking, it's pretty mature, which is unusual. So normally if you talk about bidding and proposals and I'm sorry, the Americans won't like this because they might not see it coming, but probably if we, if we had a real vote on it, the UK is actually probably the leading nation in bidding in the world. And a lot of other nations are kind of their approaches, their procurement approaches, et cetera, derivatives off of that historic UK leads. Now I shouldn't say, I think the UK will lose  that in the next decade, I would guess as we're de evolving a bit here, Brexit and all that, but  the American's tended to be a bit behind in proposals and bidding despite the fact that the APMP is American, our association, the professional body for proposals is American had been established for 30 years. It's been quite focused in some little enclaves, I would say in the States where there was a bit more professionalism around it. Whereas in the States they're, they're more mature than us in Europe by quite some distance. So one of the ways that you can tell the maturities, if you look at LinkedIn at the jobs bit of LinkedIn, And search for capture or capture manager. All of the jobs that come up pretty much are in the States, there's hardly anything in Europe. There's the odd people here that work for American organisations or in certain sub-markets like bits of defense organisations here as suppliers to the DIO and things like that. It's in its infancy here. And even talking to people like Tony Round at the APMP, for instance, putting on a capture conference that's got a European element to it is a bit of a risk because there aren't that many people get it yet, but it is building. And it's important that it builds as we've talked about in terms of that. I think there's how bidding people build their sphere of influence is through capture back up that arc to account management and beyond to become the sort of heart, the engine room of work winning in the business.

I think capture is the next key step and we, my business spent a lot of time and effort in last year through the pandemic in focusing on that space, you know, launching capture services, consulting services, we launched the first APMP accredited course in capture both video based. and Live webinar based last year for the capture practitioner accreditation that the APMP launched. We launched our training within a week of them launching the accreditation, which took a few late nights and a weekend of work for me to beat the competition to that. Because it is important, but it's in its infancy. I would say in the UK, there are only a small number of organisations that are anywhere near elite in it.

Pete

What do you think is a standout characteristic then of what's happening on the east coast, in that leadership capture position? What are they doing differently?

Jeremy

So it's interesting I had a podcast episode on my podcast with a lady called Jen. Who's a capture manager for Leidos on this subject of the difference between capturing the States and in the UK or Europe, I guess. And it was really quite interesting that they, in my world of capture, we just operate, it's running a campaign pre-bid and we use that campaign to position for hopefully a negotiation, but worst case we've shaped the procurement with the client. Right. And then you hand that on to the bid function and they take that on and you might stick around and get drawn into some strategy stuff. And reviews, but you, you kind of hand it on. Whereas in the States, it's quite interesting. Their capture managers actually see opportunities through, from cradle to grave all the way through and so in effect, they act as a leader in that bid or proposal when it's, when it's a live deal in effect all the way through to mobilisation, even working on the mobilisation of it, which thinking it through is actually pretty smart isn't it it's an investment. But if you do, it was big enough, or you believe in the return on investment  for that cost of sale. I think that's probably a smart move because you, you and I both worked on bids, I'm sure where you kind of think to yourself, hang on we've we've done all of this engagement with the client before and where we don't seem to be putting it through into the bid or you get through to the review and think you get invited to review and a bid, and you think, well, why haven't you looked at all that stuff all the conversations we had with a client before the tender came out? We've been talking to them for years. I know for some reason when bid teams get focused on a bid, they get so focused on it they forget what's happened before. So that continuity makes some sense to me. I think that's clever, although what would be obvious, yeah.

Pete

That, that end-to-end ownership right through. So what would be a valuable tip then as we leave today, Jeremy we've talked capture if you can, as it's all about capture, which sounds like that's an area that I probably get to see quite a bit of change in. What valuable tips or, or resources. Could you suggest that the listener could take away and it might help them today?

Jeremy

I think a key thing to do, if you're a bidding person, that's concerned about the amount of bids that you're working on, or certainly losing more than you'd hope. I think I'd try and deploy some upward mentoring. So, you know, set on a bid, get yourself a war room, invite senior, you know, a senior sponsor because the key thing here is what we find in all the transformation stuff we do is the biggest defining factor in success is having sponsorship from hopefully a board member, but certainly someone senior.

So get yourself a sponsor, an upward mentor there on what you need or the direction of travel you think that the business should go in around how it approaches work winning. And so if you can open their eyes to making good bit decisions as the first step, obviously is if you know, anyone would really, and showing them some data on your win rates and where you've been successful in client feedback away, you haven't that kind of stuff, uh, build from there, but build towards capture.

If it's appropriate for your business. I mean, capture works where you're bidding a fairly small number of bigger deals, it might be that actually, if you're bidding lots of mini beds in a marketplace, lots of smaller bids, that account manager focusing on  account management is the more important piece you're looking to steer at the oil tanker rather than, you know, an individual opportunity.

The point is use upward mentoring, engage a sponsor to try and build your sphere of influence up the pipeline so that you become masters of your own destiny, because I've been there it's horrible when you feel helpless, when you're bidding, you know, being forced a bit, everything, you win rates, sub 10%, all that sort of stuff.

And people, stakeholders around you say, oh, that's just our market. And it's bullshit. Isn't not. In any marketplace, you can find a way to stem the tide and really drive success. So it’s about getting upstream and getting some decent strategy.

Pete

Yup. Certainly de-motivating if you're, if you're losing a lot of them, but then it's having the courage to reach out to the execs, get comfortable in the conversation that you're going to have with someone like that, be ready to answer the questions that they are going to ask. So, um, one of the earlier episodes we had with Kathryn Bennett from Loopio really touched on the need to build that business acumen, which is great.

So I guess just for the time today, Jeremy, it's been an absolute pleasure talking with you. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. What's the best way for people to get in contact with you.

Find me on LinkedIn, Jeremy Brim, B R I M, for Mother. It's probably the easiest way or go to our main website Growth Ignition.co.uk. And you can link up to me there. Oh, and of course you can find the read review podcast on all major platforms alongside yours. You can find our Patreon community on Patreon.com as well online.

Fantastic. I'll make sure we've got the relevant links in the show notes. Just to wrap up Jeremy, thanks so much for your time.

Jeremy

Thank you very much for having me Pete. Really good chat, it's good to see you, thank you.

 

strategy vs spaghetti
Image of Pete Nicholls
Pete Nicholls

Strategy vs Spaghetti: Why Strategy Always Wins

 

Episode Summary

Caryn Kent Dean MLIS CP APMP explains setting a strategy to answer good-fit...

Read more
Striving for Bid Nirvana - Jack Wills
Image of Pete Nicholls
Pete Nicholls

Striving for Bid Nirvana!

Episode Summary

UK-based proposal expert Jack Wills draws on 40 years of experience to describe how...

Read more