The first full day of APMP, and the schedules have been packed as usual. My favourite session of the day was Martin Andelman’s slot, opening the conference. One particular slide struck a real chord. Martin bemoaned the fact that “Every company has spent time and money to get better at selling in person”, but that they seem to lack the same focus and effort at improving the way they sell in writing.
If I were a sales director, I’d certainly have proposal skills up near the top of the training syllabus for my team. Yet many proposal teams always seem to battle to secure funding:
“Have we run that course on ‘Keeping Your Desk Tidy’ yet for all the sales people? No? OK, well we obviously need to do that before we run the writing ‘Winning Proposals’ session.”
(Typical sales director / sales training manager)
Most of all, I’ve relished chatting to peers from other organisations. Conversations today have covered building new proposal centres in Canada, bringing together proposal teams after a merger, and the challenges of training an expanding proposal team. It’s truly refreshing to have a relaxed and open forum in which to share experiences and ideas with so many other proposal folks.
And then there was the small matter of our own presentation, “Two Proposal Managers Walked Into A War Room”. I think this defined the term “packed house” – I never would have thought that we’d have been able to cram 180 people into a room designed for 100 (and, presumably, neither did the venue’s fire marshals!). I’ll let BJ update you on the session itself in a later post.
Favourite comment of the day came from Sandy, who was helping us to devour the pack of Starbucks chocolate-coated cherries on our stand. “You realise they’re good for you?” she asked. We looked puzzled. “They contain fruit.” I can now indulge my new-found addiction to my heart’s content.