When I talk to revenue owners who are responsible for leading bids and proposals, one of the frustrations they often mention is that there has already been a fair bit of effort expended to document their quality assurance process for bids. Often this involves multiple stages and toll gates and is meant to be followed rigidly for every opportunity that they pursue. Now, I'm not knocking process. Following a process is important to get a replicable result.
My question is —what result are you modelling your replicable process on?
One of the problems with bid quality processes is that the result that we're looking to achieve is an elusive one. A successful bid strategy is like a snowflake – no two are ever exactly the same. Bid strategy can’t be pinned down just by following a series of steps, particularly when those steps don't provide enough instruction to actually help people to do the tasks within the steps.
For example, I've seen bid quality processes which just say "Step number 23 - develop win themes." Okay, that's great as a headline, but what if your team doesn't have a process to develop win themes? What will tend to happen is that everybody sits around in a room and kicks around the reasons why they think the customer should choose them. This then ends up in the document as some kind of laundry list titled "Why You Should Choose Us". This is rarely effective.
Developing win themes for bids is a creative process —it's not about producing a widget to a certain standard or tolerance. It's about being able to recognise all the factors that are going to shape and influence the customers' decisions; particularly what they most value, what we can best deliver and what positions us best against competitors.
A quality process isn't enough to deliver a winning bid, unless there are also instructions, training and practice built in for the people who will actually be executing the process. Some big organisations do this very well, but there are many others that need help to be able to follow a quality process effectively.
These days, I very rarely work with organisations on routine bids where their staff haven't first been through my Persuasive Tender and Proposal Writing Master Class Program. There are many techniques in that program that help to fill in the gaps of the quality process and actually give people the tools that they can use to follow instructions like "Develop win themes."
The May Master Class Program sold out early, but we are now accepting enrolments for July.
Contact me if you would like a detailed syllabus and overview for the Tender and Proposal Writing Master Class.