All my clients seem to be inundated with bid requests right now. Request for proposals (RFP’s), request for information (RFI’s), request for quotes (RFQ’s) – the activity levels are at a fever pitch. Are you involved with an increased level of request for proposals? If so, I have several sales strategies that will make a noticeable difference in your close ratios.
But first a few words of advice…
We all Fall Prey at Times
The pitfalls associated with bids are as numerous as fantasy football teams. And when bid levels are high, the tendency to fall prey to landmines is also high. The worst pitfall of all, which happens all the time, is to not take the time to make a go/no-go decision. If the prospect isn’t a solid fit for your company, then it’s generally not worth your time to submit a proposal.
The second most common mistake is to skip the strategic planning phase of the bid process. Teams are overwhelmed by the task at hand and jump into responding to proposal requirements without a clear strategy and Win Themes™. Even when time is short, the highest value activity to ensure a winning response is pre-proposal strategic planning.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Sales organizations today are short on resources, yet bid responses are almost always a team effort. It takes a lot of experience and expertise to develop a winning strategy, pull in the best resources, use the appropriate sales tools and keep the team focused and energized around the task at hand. Don’t be afraid to tap into outside help to improve your chances of success. Sometimes the smallest details mean the difference between winning and losing.
A Final Thought
Bid activity can be misleading. It often feels a like a productive sales effort and sometimes it is. However, just as a plan without goals or milestones isn’t efficient or productive; bid responses without clear Win Themes™ or points of differentiation will represent ‘activity’ but rarely ‘achievement’. If you don’t believe me, try reading through the top three bid responses of a prior RFP. Even your worst competitor can seem strong by comparison.
If you want to ‘win’ more bids, more often, then be selective, start doing account strategy work well in advance of the RFP and pull out all the stops for a differentiated response.
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