30-Minute Planning Power!

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Watch Lorraine’s Win in 60 Seconds video here

Even if you have as little as 30 minutes, you can still plan to get better responses more quickly from your subject matter experts.

Time is precious…yet we all love a bit of procrastination don’t we? That brilliant Ted Talk about the instant gratification monkey and the panic monster hits it on the head for me – if you’ve not watched it, it’s a must.

Your subject matter experts (SMEs) will procrastinate if you send them off with a blank sheet of paper to provide their responses to an RFP/ITT question. It’ll be pushed to the side of the desk and be picked up last minute when the panic monster kicks in. What did you expect? Goodness knows what you’ll get back.

How can we get our SMEs to provide proposal content quicker? And how can we improve the quality of what they give us?

Let’s not send them off with a blank sheet of paper. Even with just 30 minutes together, you can devise a high-level answer plan.

The key thing initially is to capture bullet points. Don’t worry about how anything is written at this stage. This is about making sure you’re on the same page with your SME, agreeing on what should be included, and why.

First, discuss these two questions:

  1. Why has the customer asked this question?
  2. What are their real underlying issues and concerns?

Answering these questions for the SME will help ensure a shared understanding of the customer’s requirements. You can show you know why they’ve asked the question, the benefits sought, and perhaps risks to avoid in the response. You can consult with other team members to fill any knowledge gaps.

Next, you can discuss building your response:

  • Break the answer into subsections in the order of the customer’s question. We all know customers tend to include multiple elements in their questions! Ensure each subsection is addressed.
  • Capture bullet points for each question that cover the technical content required to answer each part – solution, options you considered, process, approach, etc.
  • Add further bullets where appropriate, e.g.,
    • Benefits to the customer
    • Proof points – where have we done this before successfully?
    • Differentiators
    • Do we have a graphic that could articulate our message more clearly than words, or can we create one?
    • Keywords from the specification/criteria to reference
    • Win theme/s to be brought to life

Even this short 30-minute session can make a big difference. You’ll get better quality content faster, and your SME will find they save time too.

Let’s avoid that procrastination!

This article was written by Lorraine Baird.

Lorraine specialises in helping organisations to win – evidenced by her personal win rate of over 85%. She’s recognised for equipping bid teams with the right skills and tools to produce winning proposals and pitches for their organisations. Formerly heading up the bid team at Aviva, Lorraine’s career in sales and bidding spans over 20 years. Lorraine is qualified at the highest level of certification in the profession – APMP Professional – and also recently attained the new APMP Capture Practitioner certification.

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