Do the right job – then do the job right

Last week I explained how bidding less can actually help you to win more. While being more selective helps position you to be more successful, it’s not enough by itself. It is also important that the people who are writing your proposals are true subject matter experts – people who really have the knowledge and experience to really understand what the customer is asking for.

When professional services firms want to grow and win more work, they’ll usually assign a team of proposal writers to produce bids. These teams are often made up of administrative staff and junior consultants who don't yet have a great deal of field experience and might otherwise be underemployed.

While this approach might save money, or be more efficient, it certainly isn’t effective. Proposals lack depth of knowledge, and are a signal to clients that your firm really just sees bids and tenders as paperwork, and not as an opportunity to be of service to them.

To win, you need to convince the customer you’ll do the RIGHT JOB; not just do the job right. That’s why the subject matter experts in your firm will always be your best proposal writers. However, they do need support to do this. Their comfort zone is writing reports, not proposals. They have day jobs to do as well, under significant time pressures.

And let's not forget that your experts are rarely in it for the money. To be more successful, inspire them with the intrinsic rewards they'll achieve by winning work they really want to win – don't just make proposals an extra task they have to do. 

Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant specialising in business won through formal bids, tenders and proposals. She is the author of two books on proposals and sales, including Winning Again: a retention game plan for your most important contracts and customers. Read more about it here.