Category Results for Tools & Tips

Strategic differentiation with a customer focus

Highlight real differentiators to emerge as a leader

I recently worked on a proposal that required – not an executive summary – but an introduction that called out the vendor’s differentiators. Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of our industry is coming up with real differentiators to cite in our proposals. In his book, “Collapse of Distinction. Stand out and move up while your competition fails”, Scott McKain suggests we spend too much time trying to duplicate and outdo our competitors. When we compete rather than emerge as a differentiated leader in our field, we are driven by the competition and not by the customer. McKain says that to have an advantage, we must pay more attention to what the customer wants than to what the competition is doing. Has this happened in your organization? The competition creates a point of distinction, so you duplicate it and try to do it even better. Each competitor introduces incremental changes … Continue reading Strategic differentiation with a customer focus

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The Impact of Mergers and Acquisitions on Proposal Professionals

Get the facts and make an informed decision

Every year mergers and acquisitions impact the positions of many proposal industry members. For example, this year, General Dynamics acquired CSRA, a $4.3B company. Like many proposal professionals, I have gone through several acquisitions and mergers. In one five-year period, I worked for three companies that were acquired by larger companies. If you find your company is being acquired or merging with another company, here are five tips to consider: Get the facts Learn why your firm was merged or acquired. Learn who is in authority and their roles and responsibilities. Identify the objectives of the new company and determine if there is a timetable for organizational and policy changes. Determine if they plan to consolidate operations or move the business to a new location. You may not get all the facts at once; new leadership frequently takes a few weeks or months to implement their changes. Determine how your … Continue reading The Impact of Mergers and Acquisitions on Proposal Professionals

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Think Positive for Positive Results

Attitude is everything

We’ve all heard the saying about the glass being half empty or half full. Your answer to this question can have profound affects on your proposal group and your bottom line win rate! About 20 years ago, I went through a divorce. It was the worst and most painful experience of my life. I lost two years grieving, feeling like a failure, and sitting on a real pity pot. My glass was completely empty. Thanks to lots of counseling, pastoral support, and the love of friends, I came through that period and learned that I have a choice today – the choice to be happy! And when I am happy, those around me are happy. It has become one of my primary life goals – to be happy. Studies have long shown that not only does success at work lead to individual satisfaction and happiness, but that happiness leads to … Continue reading Think Positive for Positive Results

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Seven Keys to Successful Solutioning

A compelling solution speaks directly to what the customer values.

A compelling solution speaks directly to what the customer values. It details your discriminating value proposition: how your solution exceeds customer expectations for quality, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, compliance, mission success and/or risk mitigation. The emphasis is on the how: in what specific ways your offering will accomplish contract performance objectives resulting in specific proven benefits the customer values. The how is exactly how many of our proposals fail. Here are seven keys to successful solutioning that will improve your win probability. #1: Begin earlier: Once you have qualified an opportunity, immediately begin the process of defining the how (people, processes, technology). Understand that solutioning is an iterative, time-consuming, evolving process. You will not arrive at your solution in one or two sessions. Once your team identifies an initial solution, capture professionals (and the project team on the ground in the case of a re-compete), must vet this solution. What solution elements … Continue reading Seven Keys to Successful Solutioning

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