Nothing is more frustrating than a string of losing proposals. It demoralizes the bid and proposal (B&P) team, wastes B&P funds, and results in operations personnel losing their jobs. Despite observing some impressive losing streaks, Lohfeld Consulting Group has seen many companies turn losing streaks around. We consolidated some of our observations into the following 10 tips to help you turn around (or avoid!) a losing streak.
Tip #1: Reflect
- Conduct lessons-learned reviews to evaluate your proposals’ strengths, weaknesses, and costs.
- Analyze the customers’ debriefs to assess your scores against all evaluated criteria.
- Contract with an unbiased third-party to assess your proposals and recommend improvements.
Tip #2: Formulate your game plan
- Create a step-by-step plan and schedule for converting your lessons learned into actionable tasks.
- Implement milestone reviews and metrics to measure and assess your progress.
Tip #3: Re-evaluate your pipeline
- Evaluate your business pipeline to verify you are bidding on jobs you are well-positioned to win.
- Ensure you have the right resources in the right quantity to support your bid pipeline.
Tip #4: Allocate sufficient B&P funds
- Most companies allocate .5% to 1% of a contract’s value to fund a proposal; however, until you turn the corner on the losing streak you might consider bumping that number up slightly.
Tip #5: Re-energize your B&P team
- Don’t point fingers. Tell the B&P team you are tackling the losing streak as a team.
- Re-energize the B&P team with morale boosters, training, and industry certifications.
Tip #5: Develop your win strategies and capture plan
- Develop an overarching win strategy for each of your bids.
- Translate your win strategies into capture plans that provide blueprints for winning the business.
- Develop strengths and discriminators across all evaluated criteria of the proposal.
Tip #6: Understand where you fit in the marketplace
- Conduct a realistic assessment of where your company fits in the marketplace.
- Determine why the benefits you offer deliver greater value than those of your competitors.
Tip #7: Build customer relations and determine how to deliver best value
- Do your homework. Become knowledgeable about your customers’ backgrounds, objectives, directions, budgets, requirements, users, stakeholders, dependencies, risks, and problems.
- Build customer relations by showing your customers that you understand their objectives and offer best-value solutions at a competitive price to fulfill their objectives and requirements.
Tip #8: Create solutions that put you in the customers’ most favored position
- Engage with your customers early to discuss and refine your solutions.
- Provide customers with white papers or demos to influence the statements of work.
- Create distinct solutions that offer greater value at more competitive prices than your competitors.
Tip #9: Power up your proposal writing skills
- Improve your team’s capabilities through training, mentorship, and professional coaching.
- Conduct informal interim reviews to quickly assess and correct proposal deficiencies.
Tip #10: Fail fast
- Catch your failures fast by continuing to conduct lessons learned after major milestones.
- Immediately determine how you can turn around issues and maintain a positive attitude.
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 $170B 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.