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How to Maximize your PWIN this Federal New Year with a “Hot Wash” Review

business colleagues performing a hot wash or lessons learned

How to Maximize your PWIN this Federal New Year with a “Hot Wash” Review

Improving the PWIN (Probability of Win) for Federal government contractors requires reflection and analysis—an October priority.

In this article, we will review:

  1. What Exactly is a “Hot Wash,” and How can it Support a Stronger PWIN for this Federal Fiscal Year?
  2. How Do You Do a Hot Wash?
  3. Checklist for a Successful Hot Wash to Start Your Federal Fiscal Year Off Right.

“Hot Wash” is a term for taking an objective look back at your processes and patterns from the past year to capture lessons while they’re fresh in your mind. Examine what worked, what didn’t, what’s promising, and create a strong foundation for your federal new year plan.

The hot wash process is a proven and effective way to assess the ROI on the time and money you spent finding, getting, and closing sales.

It’s a great review to help find places to cut costs, find operational efficiencies, and improve the processes that help you win more Federal government bids and proposals.

Anyone in the Federal market who is serious about success should make this a top priority to complete by the end of October. Whether you are contracting on a GSA Schedule or other contract vehicles, as prime, sub, or both, and no matter how many certifications you have, the process is valuable.

Who Should Do A Hot Wash

This exercise benefits you most if your GovCon company is:

  • Wanting to grow
  • Already growing – whether you’re hitting a new growth curve or entering a new trajectory
  • Facing a make-or-break year – where something big has to happen
  • Approaching a critical transition — for example, a couple of years from graduating from 8(a), or anticipating outgrowing one or more of your size standards
  • Utilizing new contract vehicles —where you need to drive task orders and wins
  • Losing or gaining key certifications

Download Federal Sales Q4 Hot Wash Checklist

Get on track for the best year ever with this Federal Sales Q4 Hot Wash Checklist.

What Exactly is a “Hot Wash,” and How can it Support a Stronger PWIN for the new Federal Fiscal Year?

One definition of a “hot wash” is a quick after-action rinse of a military weapon after firing to remove grit and dirt. If it malfunctioned, figure out why, and get it ready for action at the next opportunity.

Another is an after-action review, especially of crisis management, emergency response, or other intense, high-stakes activity: again, see what worked well and what needs attention for the next engagement, and capture the lessons learned to improve processes and outcomes.

For government contractors, this process is a way to analyze the ROI on your investments in business development, marketing, and sales.

It can also help you build on your most effective processes, course correct any ineffective tools or processes, and altogether strengthen your business as you move into this new sales cycle. It’s a great complement to your business planning for the coming year – a worthwhile exercise.

How Do You Do a Hot Wash?

Doing a thorough review requires a committed and honest look back. Consider these six topics as a way to gather information, starting with the goals of your last Federal fiscal year.

Topic 1: Your Federal Business Development Plan

Did you have a plan?
Did you follow it?
What are the results of your implemented plans?
Review your plan versus your actuals: not just the numbers, but the whole works.
What did you think was going to happen versus what ACTUALLY happened?

Topic 2: Business Development, Marketing and Sales Activities Analysis

Identify key success factors — what went well, and can you do it again?
Can you do it MORE?
Can you do it reliably?

Topic 3: Business Intelligence

Become a detective and do your own intelligence deep dive.
Notice what you tried that just didn’t work, and figure out any lessons learned.

Topic 4: Implementation strategy and process

How can you improve your planning and operational processes?
Consider what else you need to know: what additional skills and resources will you need for the year ahead?

Topic 5: Win Rate

Know your win rate: your win rate is a benchmark. Learn from it and course correct.

Topic 6: Keep it Easy

You want to find the fastest pathways to working with your preferred agencies. Do your research to know what each agency is looking for in contract vehicles, timing, requirements, etc. Also, make the most of Micro Purchase & Simple Acquisition in the process, if applicable. This can get your relationships growing exponentially for the next round of bids.

Integrate a bid/no-bid process and checklist into your proposal cycle to avoid wasting time and money on bids you will not win.

The overall idea is to do more of what works well, fix the things that can be fixed, and be honest about what doesn’t make sense to do again.

Also, consider factors for your close – how are you addressing each of these factors (or others that are most relevant for you?):

  • Price
  • Technical Specs
  • Past Performance
  • Lead Time
  • Proposal Resources
  • Client Engagement
  • Operations & Service
  • Partner Strategy

Once your data is gathered, convene a core team and review it honestly and thoroughly. Consider hiring a facilitator to encourage full transparency in the team’s reflections. And put some accountability processes in place for follow-through after the session.

Checklist for a Successful Hot Wash to Start Your Federal Fiscal Year Off Right

A hot wash will help position you in a positive direction to reach your goals and maximize success. Support your efforts to grow, build stronger relationships and maximize your probability of winning more Federal government bids and proposals by getting your hot wash on the books before the end of October.

Here’s a checklist to check off as you work through your Hot Wash process:

  • Commit to New Year’s success and set a date now for your hot wash.
  • As soon as you can after October 1st, circulate your pre-session worksheets.
  • Consider finding a facilitator.
  • Plan your agenda.
  • Host your session.
  • Own the actionable items.
  • Be accountable for follow-up tasks.
  • Prepare for a great New Year!

Summit Insight is here to support you as you set yourself up for your best Federal fiscal year ever.

1. Get your complimentary on-demand kit today! ==> Get The Federal Q4 Sales Hot Wash Resource Kit
2. Done your Hot Wash? Book a Federal Business Breakthrough Call with Judy Bradt.
3. Finally, Launch Your Federal New Year with the four steps to success you’ll find in my special blog post.

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