Before he was officially hired as Executive Vice President of Government Services at Perot Systems, Richard Pineda let it be known: He wanted to “deliver a clean sweep” on 10 sizable contract re-competes for his division. Since taking on the role of EVP in February 2008, Pineda has been true to his word. Under his leadership, Pineda has led the establishment of the consulting and professional services division within Perot Systems. That, along with the information technology and health-care divisions, now makes the company a full-service provider. Pineda’s division also achieved a 100 percent re-compete win rate in 2008. As he gears up to leverage that growth, Pineda recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about what it takes to secure a strong re-compete win rate.
What’s the main secret to a solid re-compete win rate?
Richard Pineda: Having the right people on board. Your people, both on the operations and pursuit teams, are absolutely critical to a successful pursuit that ends in an award. In the consulting industry, the strength of our service offerings are only as good as the people we recruit, retain and deliver to our new and repeat customers. Our Perot Systems associates on current engagements are the core reason why our customers want us back. If you lose the key personnel on an account, you’ve lost your competitive edge. On the capture side, assembling the staff and having the right pursuit team is equally critical. In the end, they are your strongest asset. The processes and technology follow. With the establishment of our consulting and professional services offering, we have boosted our recruitment. Despite the recession, Q4 2008 showed an on-boarding of 132 new associates because of the growth we had on re-competes and same store sales. It’s also beneficial to have thought leaders, like the chairman of our consulting practice, Jim Champy, on the team.
What other strategies further your high re-compete rate?
Richard Pineda: Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed success recipe for winning re-competes. And let’s face it, even if I had the secret, I’d certainly keep it close hold! The key to winning is really an art and comes through disciplined planning, organization, and managing two primary stakeholders: customers and associates. Balancing the requirements of both under competitively priced bids while socializing our desire to continue the work and (if possible) grow our relationship is challenging but certainly fun and rewarding when executed well.
Any last tips?
Richard Pineda: Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. If you have customer intimacy, knowledge of the competitive landscape, and the right team with the proper frame of reference, it will be a hard team to beat. The trap that many fall into on re-competes is companies think they’re locked in — that’s otherwise known as the curse of the incumbent, right? You have to look at any deal like a Rubik’s cube; you have to be willing to turn it upside down and forecast every turn and move all under a rigorous schedule. In today’s ever-competitive and economically charged environment, my leadership team and I treat every deal as a must-win with no room for error or sacrifices in the evaluation criteria. That’s what will help (not ensure) increase the probability win rate.
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