This entry again comes from a response to a question from a colleague, this time regarding e-procurement and whether or not additional information – such as an executive summary, cover letter, solution details not specifically requested, etc. – should be included.
I stated in my response:
This is a wide open debate (probably because it’s a relatively new process)…and there’s much to consider.
Your observation that it shouldn’t be included ‘if it’s expressly prohibited’ is correct (Amazingly, I have been in situations where I’ve had to debate this with a subject matter expert who felt information should be included – against the customer explicit statement not to do so.)
The decision becomes tougher when isn’t clear how the inclusion of additional information will be received.
The answer here, as with most things related to proposals, is, Proposal Rule # 1 – ‘Know thy customer.’
Even on e-procurements (or more correctly perhaps especially in such cases!) it’s critical to have done as much pre-planning as possible. As you’re NOT going to have as much opportunity, if any, to provide information outside of the specific request, it is critical to ensure the customer understands your position and ‘why they should select your offering’ – BEFORE they even issue the e-procurement.
With that said – I would, in most instances – as in those where it is NOT expressly prohibited – be lobbying for the inclusion of executive summary and other information appropriate for that specific opportunity. This of course needs to be – as with everything within a ‘first class proposal -strategically focused, customer oriented and supporting the customer’s ability to make a fully informed selection.