I am unique as a proposal professional, as I am a generalist! I have worked on local government, national government, oil and gas, and commercial bids and proposals for projects around the world. That diverse experience has taught me a few things along the way.
I learned that a proposal touches all aspects of a company’s business – from client relations to the technical team, to financial to legal. Companies that engages all critical staff have a much higher success rate in winning, and they actually save money! For example, on teams where I have engaged with the client representative or sales lead, as well as the project manager, the company has a much higher success rate. In companies where sales and technical solutions are in separate silos, all I end up doing is putting together a pretty document that 70% of the time does not win.
Training your staff in bid and proposal best practices will save your staff time and effort in winning opportunities, because everyone understands what best practices to apply from day one! There is less rework and a more unified approach. Most importantly, it saves significant man-hours, which improves a company’s bottom line.
Sales Professionals/Client Representative – Training sales professionals in bid and proposal best practices is smart, whether they are preparing a sales quote or bid or serving on the team of a large formal proposal. Why? The principles of developing client focus, persuasive writing, and developing competitive pricing is the same for quotes and bids as they are for proposals. Training also helps your sales team understand your company processes when it comes to formal proposals, so they are effective in providing the information to develop an effective and compelling strategy, identifying what the client wants, and developing client focus.
Estimators and Pricing Professionals – Training your estimators and pricing professionals in bid and proposal best practices is smart, whether they are developing a standard estimate off a program or developing a custom bid estimate. Why? The principles of applying strategy to pricing is the same for quotes and bids as they are for proposals. Training also helps your estimators and pricing professionals understand how to read a Request for Quote, Bid or Proposal, so they prepare an estimate that is responsive. This saves your company money from having to redo an estimate because it is not compliant or submitting a quote that is not even close to being in the client’s sweet spot.
Project Manager/Technical Lead – Training your project manager or technical lead in bid and proposal best practices is smart, even if all you submit is quotes or bids. Why? Your price or bid needs to be based on sound business and technical practices. If your Project Manager does not understand the principles of strategic bidding, they have a hard time delivering that project within budget. For formal proposals, project managers who understand proposal best practices are valuable, because they understand the proposal is a sales document, not a technical report, and they are able to effectively work with your proposal team. This saves extensive time on rewriting and man-hours for the proposal.
Executive Team – Training your Lead Executive or Principle-in-Charge in bid and proposal best practices is smart, no matter your business sector. Why? Your Executive Team are the people who are ultimately responsible for the project and its risk. By understanding the value in not bidding, the importance of a strategic approach, how the processes work, and what processes make the difference between winning and losing; the Executive can bring a new level of accountability to your company’s bid and proposal management. This can deliver huge savings to a company’s bottom line.
These are just a few examples of why training all your staff who engage clients is critical to increasing a company’s win ratio and reducing your business development costs.