RFP Analysis

Step 1: Score yourself against each requirement in the RFPs

Look at each requirement as it is articulated in each of the RFPs that you mapped. What we want to do is to assess how strong your team is at each requirement so that we can see your strengths and the places where you need to think about teaming. This kind of assessment is fuzzy, we know that, but even a slightly flawed assessment is better than none at all.

What is the context: If the requirement is for a new thing that the government has never requested before, then even having five years of experience might make you an industry leader, or it could be a requirement that the government has had forever, so to be seen as an expert you need 20 years and a PHD.

So while we lay out some rules of thumb please think of these as loose guides.

If your team collectively is in the top 10% of companies your size that can do this task then shade that cell Dark Green

If your team collectively is in the top 25% of companies your size that can do this task then shade that cell Light Green

If your team collectively is in the top 50% of companies your size that can do this task then shade that cell Yellow

If your team collectively is in the top 75% of companies your size that can do this task then shade that cell Light Red

Otherwise shade it red

Interpreting the results:  What we are looking for are trends among the kinds of requirements that the government is asking for. And the reason this is important is that places where we are strong are going to point us to places that we should highlight in our value proposition while places where we are weak should spur us to ask how we will will those gaps, either by hiring new people, or by finding a complimentary company that we can team with

  • A bad column:  If you see one or two columns that are much worse than the rest then scan that RFP again. What may have happened is that you got a contract that had your key words, but that isn’t really in your space. If that is the case no worries, just delete that column and add another RFP. If the contract is in your area of focus, but you scored badly on it keep it and it will inform our partnering and hiring plans
  • A row that is mostly dark and light green:  If you see a row that you mostly scored green in (such at the Training row above) then than is a strong candidate for a service line for you and you are going to want to highlight that in your marketing materials and elevator pitches
  • A row that is mostly red and yellow that has one or two dark greens (such as Program Management above): This is an interesting case, and a bit of a judgment call. The first question is what was different about the RFP that scored green, why is it different from the RFPs that scored red and yellow? If you scored Green because that RFP asked for something slightly unusual that you are really good at, then note it, as it will likely be a secondary value proposition for your company. What ever that thing is doesn’t get asked for enough for it to be a primary value proposition, but if few other companies have that capability then when an RFP with that requirement comes out you may be one of the few companies that can meet it, and that gives you a pretty commanding negotiating position
  • A row that is mostly red and yellow: If you see rows that are mostly red and yellow its a good sign that those will not be part of your value proposition and that you will want to start identifying other companies that you can team with to meet those requirements.

Don’t worry if a majority of the rows are red and yellow. As a new business it’s better to go after the work you are uniquely good at rather than trying to be all things to all people. At the end of the day all you need is one green row.

The other clusters: Now do this same analysis for each of your anchor customers and if you notice that one or two of your anchor customers aren’t scoring as well think hard about archiving them for now to focus on the ones that look more promising and you should end up with something like this:

Interview With A Founder