Are your proposals on life support?

In organisations that aren’t winning enough proposals, I find any number of processes and procedures that are propping up the proposal effort. This calls to mind the life support given to critical care patients to keep their vital organs going. Life support may help to sustain life, but it doesn’t deliver any kind of quality.

What would happen if you unplugged your status meetings? Tollgate checks? Draft reviews? Content library? What about graphics support? Would your proposals be able to live, breathe and take on a life of their own when they leave your door, and find their way in front of the customer?

Unfortunately, in many cases, the answer is “no”.

Your proposals live or die on the quality of effort, energy and enthusiasm you get from your people. They are the vital organs that give life to the body of work you want to do.

Does your team know how to build a pitch strategy that represents what the customer most wants, what you can best deliver, and what positions you most favourably against competitors? Can they analyse and answer the question behind the question in a customer briefing or tender request? Do they know how to structure their writing so that it is clear, convincing and compelling? Are they truly committed to making your proposals the best they can possibly be? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then you need to make this a priority.

Just like the human body, your organisation’s proposal effort needs all its vital organs working together. And when it comes to proposals, withdrawing life support is not an option.

You simply can’t afford to let your proposal effort pass away – there are millions of dollars riding on its success.

Once you get the life back into your proposals, everything gets better. You’ll start winning again. You’ll get to do the work you deserve to do – work that builds your profile, your bank account and your legacy. Your people will be happier and more enthusiastic about winning work.

And that’s an outcome worth investing in.