Learn how to make the most of the busy ‘dog days of summer’ in the proposal shop, where the government’s fiscal reprogramming brings a flood of contract opportunities. This article discusses how Capture/Proposal Managers can benefit from using third-party proposal resources to expand response capability, maintain activity on long-term solicitations, and alleviate pressure on their teams, ultimately increasing their chances of success.

The “Reality”

You’re in the middle of the “dog days of summer” and your proposal shop is getting ready for the upcoming whirlwind time of year. When the thoughts of contracting officers are running to the halcyon days to come, all of your competitors are salivating at the opportunities that will soon appear, and your dreams of fallout money run hot and heavy during the couple of hours of sleep you get each night.

You live for these several weeks every year when the fiscal reprogramming of monies by the Government takes place, and you have multitudes of opportunities to win big for your organization (or at least a few small wins to tide you over until the next BIG solicitation is released).

And the data supports you — It’s been reported that last year, 40% of the 60,000 contract actions on NASA SEWP V took place in August and September.

How Do I Take Advantage?

This time of year, you, as a Capture/Proposal Manager, face the quandary of what to do to maximize your efforts with the resources at hand. The Government may take it easy on you with reduced page counts that don’t require a 100-page response for a 250-page statement of work. But you still need to marshal your forces and arm your team with the tools they’ll need for those 20-hour days to come. Or do you?

The fact is, you can use third-party proposal resources to expand your reach during these “dog days” by using one or both of two main approaches: (1) Extend your response capability by bringing on additional resources for the sure-to-come raft of RFP/RFQ/TORP releases; or (2) Use those resources to maintain activity on longer-term solicitations (think OASIS+) while your organic resources focus on the low-hanging fruit coming from your favorite clients.

Each of these approaches will require a little upfront work on your part to prioritize the influx of work and then assign the right resources to the right opportunities. Just one or two external resources can dramatically increase your capacity, lessen the pressure on your team, and increase your P(win) for those bread-and-butter opportunities.

Senior Managers Don’t Care

Of course, they care, but they have other responsibilities to the organization beyond reviewing the multitude of responses you and your now expanded team can produce in the less than 60-day run-up to the end of the fiscal year. Again, you can take advantage of the vast experience of third-party resources to ease the burden on your senior management. Let’s say you are responding to five solicitations. Rather than have the same executive read/review all five, split the response up to an executive a piece and then supplement your review team with outside resources. This will give you in-depth expertise for your response and ensure you get the best and most efficient use of your executives’ time without burnout, or worse, dereliction due to more important business priorities. A couple of days’ labor for each outside resource can help your executives out and get you the benefit of a “second (of third) set of eyes on your response. That outside review can be crucial in picking up on things missed due to familiarity.

Or with more robust use of outside resources, how much can you increase your bottom line?

The End Game

The most important thing for you during this time of the year is to generate the best responses, to the greatest number of solicitations, in the most efficient manner possible. Outside resources can be a great asset in making this happen. As always, OCI stands ready with our more than 400 active consultants to give you the best chances of getting through this hectic time of the year (and maybe help you get a few more winks of sleep!).