Every time I go shopping, I try to stretch my dollars to get the best possible products for the most favorable prices. Consider using your Bid and Proposal (B&P) funds in the same way. Spend just enough money to create a winning proposal and use the leftover cash to fund new bids, improve your B&P infrastructure or enhance your team’s skills.
However, maximizing your B&P is difficult due to unknown variables. Changes in the customer’s priorities and budget, moving Request Proposal (RFP) release dates, unforeseen RFP amendments, and internal workforce constraints can easily derail a B&P budget. However, through careful planning there are measures you can take to stretch your B&P dollars, including the 12 tips listed below.
- Identify the amount your company can comfortably spend on B&P, without impacting its competitive edge or profitability.
- Create mock customer score cards and debrief statements to help identify the level of effort you must expend to each win bid. Using this information, identify the bids most likely to win.
- For bids with the greatest win possibility, create a B&P budget and schedule with milestones.
- Allocate business development, capture, and proposal resources to the bids. Identify any resource gaps and dependencies, while keeping in mind your two most important bids are likely to occur at the same time, so identify flexible support options to fill gaps.
- Develop an efficient information collection plan to obtain the best customer intelligence and corresponding processes to keep the information efficiently updated and disseminated.
- Conduct just-in-time training so your bid resources understand their roles and responsibilities.
- Update your corporate infrastructure documents such as past performance summaries, resumes, customer recognition documents, and awards store them in a central repository.
- Verify your collaboration tools are in good working order and quickly assign new IDs and passwords to new users so their work is not delayed.
- Update your bid plan and schedule at least every two weeks to reflect new priorities and dependencies. Use action item lists, a Kanban board or ticketing systems in combination with daily standup meetings to quickly brief status, remove blockers, and enforce accountability.
- Keep the mock score card and debrief statement updated to brief executives. If a bid is unable to make progress, the executives can pull the plug early to stop wasting B&P.
- No writer should stare at blank page, pair writers with experienced writer buddies to accelerate their productivity.
- Reduce the number of reviewers down to those who can score like an evaluator and provide actionable feedback.
Performing initial planning and keeping the plan updated every two-weeks in addition to maintaining accountability can help a company stretch its B&P dollars and keep those dollars focused on efforts that are best placed to win new business.
By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow
Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.
As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Go-to-Market Strategy, Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $135B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.