Capability briefings: Setting the stage for your next proposal

Posted on April 24, 2020

A capability briefing is a meeting where you present your qualifications, case studies, and innovative ideas to federal government purchasers. Done well, capability briefings—and their companion statements—will ultimately lead to a proposal discussion.

In this time of social distancing, virtual capability briefings are a good idea because you won’t have to create a travel budget for in-person meetings, or worse, risk your health. A virtual briefing can be challenging if you don’t follow these steps:

Communicate clearly
To begin with, you must demonstrate that you have the experience, bandwidth, and financial backing to get any project done. You must also tell them what certifications (think 8a, HUBZone, WOSB, EDWOSB, or veteran-owned) you have as well as what contracting vehicles (e.g., GSA, IDIQ, and BPA) you use. Be accurate and thorough, but don’t overwhelm.

Do your homework
Make sure you learn the basics about the needs and desires of your prospective client before the meeting, and don’t ask standard questions that their website can answer. A slipshod approach shows that you haven’t done your research, which in turn could cost you your chance of working with that agency. On the other hand, relevant and thoughtful questions will make a good impression.

Select the best webinar technology
Whether you are in construction, logistics, engineering, cybersecurity, or some other industry, it is important to know how to use webinar technology. You may know how to conduct your business operations in person, but the arrival of COVID-19 means that business owners and their employees must communicate effectively online. Fortunately, a number of virtual solutions are at hand.Robust webinar technology can make the difference between an ordinary meeting and a presentation that shines. Take full advantage of what Skype, Zoom, and similar videoconferencing tools can offer.

Know that personal connections matter
Building relationships with contracting officers after the capability briefing is essential; always follow up to see how your organization can help. Having these relationships is important—especially now, because federal and state governments will have an urgent need to purchase additional goods and services as a result of COVID-19. There may not be time for the normal purchasing processes to be used, so sole-source procurement requests can be issued to small businesses. However, don’t count on these requests being your only revenue stream. Procurements unrelated to COVID-19 can be delayed if the items in question aren’t needed immediately. After the crisis has passed, remember to get in touch with contracting officers regarding procurements that have been on hold.

Present your content consistently
Submitting a well-designed, error-free capability briefing document will show that your company presents itself in a professional manner. Whether you’re refreshing your brand identity or building one from the ground up, follow a consistent visual and verbal style that promotes your organization’s mission and vision. Intentional content marketing is a powerful tool for reaching a broad audience. Be sure to evaluate everything from logos to list formatting, and always keep your content relevant.

A capability briefing is an extremely valuable way to approach prospective clients long before an RFP. We can help you write and design your briefing materials before you present. Contact us today to learn more.

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