This is our final article in the Finding Contracting Teammate series. The first article explored the advantages and risks in teaming. The second article explained our detailed process for finding federal contracting teaming partners the right way.
So, let’s say you’ve narrowed down your list of potential teaming partners to a few great candidates. Let’s say they all have high chances of winning and you feel compatible with them. . We’re talking about matches that feel right.
You may then stop and realize that now you need to prepare for meeting with them. You may go through your mental to-do list and go through items such as calling a prospective teaming partner to request a meeting, and updating or tailoring a capabilities statement.
But there is another marketing document that works well to entice a teaming partner and convince them to team with you. It’s a teaming value proposition.
Preparing for the Call to Ask for the Meeting
GovWin IQ, Bloomberg Government, and LinkedIn usually serve as sources of contact information. Sometimes the company’s website contains the names and bios of contacts, along with how to reach out to them.
If you are reaching out to a large company, and don’t know who the relevant business development person to get in touch with is for the subject matter pursuit, you may have to do more research.
One option is historical information on industry day attendees that you may get in DACIS. An FBO interested vendors searches for subject matter opportunities is another option that may give you the right names and contact information. Also, if you’ve developed your LinkedIn network, people at your prospective teammate’s company may already be in it – so don’t forget to check.
Remember, LinkedIn InMail is the new cold calling. While people generally ignore cold phone calls and emails, they will often respond to a tailored InMail message if the pursuit is of interest to them. You can even give them a teaser that contains one of the reasons why you should be on their team. Needless to say, don’t put any sensitive information in that message.
What Do You Say Over the Phone?
Similar to an email or LinkedIn InMail, give people a compelling reason to meet with you. You can mention an innocuous teaser about the opportunity that doesn’t include anything they couldn’t find online, to show them that you are a credible resource and you’re serious. One of our recommended teasers is to briefly summarize why you think they could win as a prime or why you could win as a team, and/or your own value to them.
Many people will make time for a 30-minute appointment, so suggest that you get together for a shorter duration than an hour. 60 minutes may be too long for a busy person. It’s easier to establish trust through an in-person meeting, more so than a phone call. A video call using a web meeting tool may have to suffice for those who live far away.
Signing a mutual NDA before the appointment is a great precaution and sets a professional tone. This implies you will have a more specific discussion when you meet, as opposed to generalities.
Before the meeting, create a slide deck of with no more than 6-8 slides describing your understanding of the opportunity and your value to the team. It’s a good idea to print your slides out and leave them behind with the person you’re meeting. If your meeting is virtual, you can share your screen, displaying the electronic version.
Building Your Teaming Value Proposition Slide Deck
It’s best to do your Teammate Value proposition in a PowerPoint format instead of a Word document. Certain slides you won’t spend much time on, like your title or contact slides. Remember, you only have a 30-minute time slot, and you can expect to spend about 10 minutes on small talk. Expect, therefore, to spend only 20 minutes with your deck.
Your conversation may go a bit longer but don’t count on it, as your counterpart may have something else on their schedule.
Your first slide should include the pursuit name, your company name, the date, and your contact information. Here are some other slides you should have in your deck:
The pursuit summary slide shows that you’ve done your homework on the opportunity. At the very least, you should include:
- Opportunity name
- Contract type
- Key dates (RFP issuance date, customer industry days, award date, etc.)
- Other factors (incumbent, clearances, locations, unusual requirements, even competitors if these are obvious and you aren’t giving away too much information.)
Relevant Past Performance
Drop this slide if you don’t have past performance. If you do have the past performance,mention that the customer would give you a great recommendation. You must communicate that you performed the work well.
Showcase your relationship with the customer, but be careful to not give away all of the details or compromise your connection. Your counterpart may probe so you have to be polite but firm – you will be happy to give the details once you become teaming partners.
Be careful how you speak and what you reveal in general. And always consider how your words could be used against you if you don’t end up teaming.
If there’s a protest, you don’t want the protestor using your slides to substantiate their complaint. Customer relationship can be the reason someone would choose to team with you, you just have to be judicious in what you tell in that initial meeting.
Why This Would Be a Great Team
On your next slide, explain why you’d make a great team. You want to illustrate how each companies’ capabilities augment one another, increasing your overall win probability. Highlight any “force multipliers”, like a process you use that makes their technology more effective. Force multipliers create a sum that’s greater than the individual parts.
Keep in mind, people like to see passion because it lets them know that you’re invested in the process. So, let them know verbally that you like to win, which is why you’re approaching them.
Finally, be sure to explain why this partnership will benefit the customer. This will be the angle you use in the proposal, so be explicit.
Resources You Can Bring to the Table
Include another slide that highlights resources that you bring to the team. Explain assets like:
- Facilities in the right location or with the right infrastructure
- Sources of funding
- High-value personnel
Your proposal development ability is another less thought of resource. If you’ve created an internal proposal team that writes outstanding proposals, consider it an asset you can leverage. If you outsource your proposal development to a team like OST, you can also present that as a company resource.
Your final slide is simple: include the name of the presenter, and how your prospect can contact you. Be sure to leave yourself a little time at the end as a buffer as your prospective teammate may have questions.
Providing the slides to your prospective teammate along with your capabilities statement is a great move. Promise to email them the slides as well. This makes it easier for your contact at the company to brief others in their organization on what you have to offer.
This meeting is your sales opportunity. Make sure that you leave with some definitive next steps.
- Are you contacting them?
- When should you expect to hear from them?
- If you don’t hear from them, on what date should you contact them?
- Who would be the final decision maker and what is their internal decision process?
Whatever arrangements you make, ensure that both of you are on the same page, instead of leaving it with “we will reach out to you with the decision” instead of a specific plan.
OST’s Capture Process Includes Finding Great Teammates
Although capture is a must in winning government contracts, many organizations still don’t conduct it methodically. This leaves the playing field wide open for those companies who do. OST has developed a winning capture management process that includes:
- Teaming strategy development
- Partner selection process
- Value proposition development
- Teaming Agreement negotiations
If you need capture management support for your company, contact us today about bringing the OST Capture Process to your company. If you’d like to bring this process in house, then our capture management courses are just what you need.