Leverage These Three Simple Strategies to Boost Your Bid Success

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Drawing from over 25 years of experience collaborating with numerous bidders, three pivotal quick wins stand out as catalysts for improvements in win rates.

Here they are:

  1. Tough Bid Decisions: Work Less, Win More
    This is certainly the biggest lever for any bid team! Still, far too many organisations regularly shoot at everything that moves… instead of making informed, tough bid/no-bid decisions. By implementing a systematic approach (such as the simple but effective Six Magic Questions) your bid team can focus on winnable prospects leading to increased win rates, turnover, and profit. With more wins and fewer rejections, it also improves your troops’ morale! The bad news: To do this professionally requires discipline. The good news: It requires only a little know-how and doesn’t require any financial investment.
  2. Invest in State-of-the-Art Document Templates: It will pay off, soon!
    Honestly, over my entire career, I haven’t seen many good proposal templates. Most templates (regardless of document format) either don’t have any visual appeal, or they are not user-friendly at all (lacking proposal-specific features), or both. A professional proposal template will save you from plenty of stress and time spent creating and formatting. Your proposals will also make a consistently good first impression on your client. And last but not least: Your proposals will comply with your corporate identity (CI), meaning that your proposal documents will be immediately recognisable to your customer as YOUR proposal (don’t even think of imitating your customer’s CI!).
  3. It’s a sales document, stupid!
    Include document quality into your review and approval process. Let’s not forget that a proposal document is first and foremost a sales document. It may or may not trigger your customer’s buying decision! Surprisingly, many organisations overlook this aspect in their processes, focusing on product/service design and business case approvals (costs, risks, margins, price). They have forgotten the proposal document as such. As a result, great solutions are often poorly sold!

If you care about the way your products/services are presented to your customer, always invest some time in reviewing your proposal document as a standard step in your process. Plan a red team review (often called final document review). Proper red team reviews are conducted by independent and objective peers not previously involved in developing the proposal! They assess the proposal by simulating the customer’s perspective and by providing fresh, constructive feedback. This significantly enhances the overall quality of the proposal, potentially providing you with the leading edge over your competitors’ documents.

Finally, ensure management both approves the products/services and prices and signs off on the proposal document. This will increase the attention given to the overall proposal management.

This article was written by Chris Kälin.

Chris is a global authority on bid and proposal management. He was cofounder and chairman of the German-speaking APMP chapter and regional director for Europe/Africa. He is APMP-certified at Professional Level (CPP APMP) and is an APMP Approved Trainer. In 2013, he received the prestigious Fellows Award.

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