So, you won the contract. Hurray! Time to celebrate! But did you think you were done? Not yet.

(This is a timely topic for me, because I DID just win one – hurray for me). =)

That aside, I wanted to introduce to you a powerful concept today I developed called the 4 Fights. You should be aware of this anytime you embark on a strategic or complex capture. You see, most people think of winning the contract as the main event when it comes to capture. But, it isn’t. You can’t stop there. In the mind of a capture manager, there are 4 fights.

Fight 1: the fight to WIN the contract.

Fight 2: the fight to KEEP the contract after you win it.

Think: protest. In my career, I’ve won and then had to turn around and negotiate directly with protesters after the award announcement. I’ve had to give them a piece of it, in order to get them to drop the protest. Of course, if you’re thinking of doing it, that tactic only works if you have a real case. You risk ticking off the Prime and Customer, or not getting what you wanted, if you don’t think this all the way through.)

Fight 3: the fight to be ACKNOWLEDGED after you win the contract.

“Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan.” In other words, many people will try to take credit for the win, even if their work or ideas ultimately didn’t lead to it. I’ve even seen people take and receive credit for the win, when they opposed going after the contract in the first place. And I’ve seen people who are new to an organization receive credit for winning a capture that began many months before they joined the company.

Fight 4: the fight to get PAID after you win the contract.

I’ve heard presidents of 2 of the largest government contractors describe the job of capture manager as “the hardest job in the company” and say “capture is god.” While I personally think only God is God, these are both exact quotes. Any GOOD capture manager expects to be paid handsomely for their wins. (You should worry if they DON’T expect to be paid). The comp plan should be laid out and agreed upon well ahead of winning the job and not be altered after the win.

If you fail to think through the 4 fights in capture, you could either lose your contract just as quickly you won it, or lose your best capture managers and fail to repeat your successes.

I re-shared a great blog on my LI account this week about why great salespeople leave, which totally applies to capture talent as well. You should check it out.

Feel free to HIT REPLY and let me know your thoughts on the 4 fights, or anything else on your mind.