Author: Helene Johnson, President, Bid2Win Consulting
The only thing better than being mentored is to be the mentor!
The number one question we get asked by a new client is: What do we need to do to win a deal, and how do we do it?
The most common follow up question we get asked is: Can you teach my team what needs to be done so we can do it ourselves?
One would think that the first question is a consultant’s dream come true. In many cases, it may be. After all, the answer is – hire us, and we will do what needs to be done to win.
The second question, however, is much more fun to tackle than the first. After all, any good consultant should already have all the tools and processes needed to build a pipeline, qualify a deal, and run a capture. The only thing left is to customize the processes and tools for each client. Of course, there is the expertise needed to help develop the win themes, value propositions, and messaging to win a deal. These tasks are the main reasons one hires a consultant.
But let’s face it: After many years of doing this, it becomes repetitive.
For some of us, there will come a time when a client asks us to train their team to do that same work. This is where things start to be fun. This progression of roles may not be ideal for someone who is in the middle of their consulting career. After all, once a client has staff that can do the work, they may not need you anymore. For someone that has 20 years left to build their consultancy, this may not be the smartest move.
But for those of us that have put in our 30 or 40 years and are now looking for opportunities to advise and mentor – this is awesome. And this is where we, the leadership of Bid2Win, are currently at. As the saying goes, ‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ We would be just as happy to teach a person to fish rather than simply do all the fishing for them.
Happily, we often find ourselves in this position of mentoring with our own team as well as with our customers’ teams. This is why, early on, we at Bid2Win developed our offering of CaptureGuide®. What is CaptureGuide®?
Putting it simply, CaptureGuide® is a service that provides a combination of support based on the client’s needs.
As part of the Business Development team, a capture manager, proposal manager, or program manager are assigned to lead a capture. They have run captures before, but perhaps not one the size or complexity of this opportunity. Or this is a recompete that is a must win and therefore senior mentoring or oversight may be needed to ensure no stone is left unturned. These situations are perfect opportunities to leverage CaptureGuide®. Bring in an experienced capture consultant, either hourly or on a retainer for a period of time, and have the internal resources rely on the consultant to make sure they are leading the capture correctly and that nothing is overlooked.
Or, let’s say no one in your company has been trained in capture, and while you have some review templates somewhere, they are rarely used. Or your resources that have been assigned capture are billable and you need to leverage someone on the bench who is not a capture manager. Maybe you are a small company, where everyone wears multiple hats, and you have no idea what needs to be done to run captures the way your competitors do. The bottom line is that your staff needs training and you really want to grow their skills instead of outsourcing for every capture.
Once again, CaptureGuide® is perfect for any situation. We have training classes in BD and Capture. They take 8 hours in total. We can do the training in one day but prefer to break it up to allow the participants hands on training. If you are already our client, we charge a minimal fee by class instead of by number of students. We do this because we want to mentor your staff as they work – not just teach a class and leave.
Is this the only mentoring we do? Absolutely not! We believe it is our duty to train the next generation of sales and BD consultants, just like others trained us. I remember talking to a senior capture manager 22 years ago. I was watching him put together a capability matrix for a capture that was a year and a half away from an RFP. I asked him, “What do you do every day? I mean, how can you work on the same thing for a year and a half?”
He smiled at me and explained that he works on lots of captures at different phases of the capture. He then showed me all his templates and processes. He taught me about strategy, black hats, customer calls, and so on. He was my first mentor, and years later became my boss. He has remained my friend way after his retirement. He follows my career and has told me how proud he is of me. And I tell him, it is because you took the time to mentor me.
I have had others that have taught me as well. I still do. My clients teach me their business. My colleagues teach me about the changes in the marketplace. My team teaches me their tricks of the trade. We never stop learning. But it is that early mentoring that will never be forgotten.
As you begin thinking about your own legacy in the business you have devoted your adult life to, there will come a time you want to be remembered as that person who taught others from your own experiences and then stood back and watched them grow. This cycle is a wonderful thing to see. Now, who wants some help?
We are ready for you!