So what is a Capabilities Statement? If you are have attended any procurement conferences or agency training sessions, you undoubtedly have heard people recommend developing a capability statement. A government capability statement is an essential tool for federal business developers to use in developing a relationship with federal agencies, prime contractors, or potential teaming partners. It has become a marketing prerequisite for talking with federal buyers.
This type of capability statement is often called an introductory capability statement, or a door opener. It is a 1 to 2-page document that summarizes key information about your firm. In other words, it is a type of company résumé.
An introductory capability statement is an early stage tool to show your firm’s bona fides, capabilities, past performance, and important company information. Often times when you meet a federal buyer, they will ask you for your capability statement in order to gain a basic understanding of your firm and to determine if they should continue the conversation. If done well, it can help set you apart from your competition.
Don’t confuse this with other types of documents that are similar to capability statements but tend to be lengthier documents used for different purposes. Examples include qualifications statements that are prepared in response to specific solicitations or those lengthy documents that many architectural and engineering firms use to demonstrate their prowess. Capabilities presentations are used after you get your foot in the door. This training covers the introductory capability statement only because it is the most commonly used.
Purpose of a Capability Statement
So what purpose does a capability statement serve and why should you create one?
More often than not, it is used to open the doors to a conversation with an agency, or potential teaming partner.
Firms use it to establish enough credibility so that the agency agrees to schedule a follow-up call to discuss needs, get invited in for a visit, or to arrange a presentation. It is not intended to sell anything or magically close any deals.
Other times, you use it to re-engage an agency or continue the conversation. Some have used it to solidify a relationship with an agency by expanding awareness with a broader group of agency personnel.