What do sales and bid teams really think of the way they’re engaged via their clients’ procurement processes?
I get to see several hundred proposals a year – and, in parallel, very many of the RFPs to which they’re responding. And whilst the proposals vary from poor to very good, I’d argue that the RFPs vary from very poor to… well, mediocre at best.
Many of our readers will be aware of, and some of you may even own, a semi-autonomous vehicle.
I’ve recently purchased one and it’s been very interesting adjusting to the vehicle handling some of the driving automatically.
These days, a great proposal not only needs to “superbly articulate a compelling story” – to quote BJ’s memorable phrase. It needs to be bring it to life superbly visually, too. And if you don’t have the resource and skill in your team to achieve that, you’ll almost inevitably be falling behind your competition.
A company that provides software for proposal automation ran a survey asking the question, “Who should own the RFP response process in your company?” and posted the findings. Based on the question asked and the functions responding, this survey concluded that the RFP response process should fall under marketing. My comment on that post follows.
The survey asks, ‘Who owns the RFP process within your company’?
We often talk about the need to justify the decision to bid – using our proven mantra:
– Is it real?
– Do we want it?
– Can we win it?
– Can we do it?
Sometimes, though, it can be just as powerful to focus on the negatives. Here, then, are my top six warning signs that you should ‘no bid’:
I was fascinated to read a review yesterday in The Times of the new edition of their Style Guide, whilst I flew over from London to work with our colleagues in the Netherlands running APMP courses here this week.
A fellow proposal professional, to whom I am a mentor, was describing the many challenges they were having with a particular client. These ranged from the sales person not having much information about the opportunity, to subject matter experts repeatedly missing deadlines and to production time being decreased to the point that quality was being seriously jeopardized.
I recently attended a session at the SPAC conference (Atlanta, March 23rd) wherein the presenter stated, “Proposals don’t lose business.” That certainly raised a few eyebrows (and a few butts as several people – coincidentally? – chose to leave the session at that point).
How good are your organisation’s proposal capabilities? Are you doing great stuff, or doing great stuff against the odds. Does your process work like a dream – or feel more like a nightmare? Are you winning lots, or losing too much?
Ours is fast-moving profession. When I moved from procurement into proposal management back in 1999, there were relatively few written resources available to provide ideas or inspiration. Now? Well, I’ve seen three things so far this week – since returning to work after moving house – that each seem to contribute to developing what APMP calls the ‘art and science’ of proposals.