Next up in our occasional series of discussions with some of the leading lights of the proposal profession: Kris Sæther, Sales Director of software company Xait.
Please could you describe your current role?
As Sales Director for Xait, I am responsible for XaitPorter for new and existing clients, in addition to partners/resellers. All sales people at Xait are also responsible for training and follow-up of their clients.
This means that we need to deliver what we promise when presenting XaitPorter to prospects.
I believe that most people would agree that there are several things that can make their proposal processes more efficient. Biased as I am, I would look at the tools you have at hand. Do you have the correct kit in your toolbox to deliver as required?
In addition, surprisingly many contributors to a proposal merely want to get their bit done and are not concerned about making it easy for the prospects to understand. Giving the proposal participants a better understanding of what is expected of them and more guidance, could go a long way.
How do you respond to those who claim that, “It’s all about price”?
I would say that while there can be some truth in the statement, normally prospects look at the value of your proposal compared to price. If you can’t convince your client that you give them more value for money than the competitor, maybe you should start looking closer at your proposals? Are they compliant AND responsive?
What’s the worst (or funniest) proofreading error you’ve ever seen in a proposal?
This was in a previous job when the law firm White and Case was replaced (mistakenly) with Whore and Case. The lawyer whom received the proposal luckily took this fine and replied; “A lot can be said about lawyers, most of which is true, however I would prefer if you referred to us in the future as White & Case”. By the way, we won the contract.
If you had to recommend one book to proposal managers, what would it be? (It doesn’t have to be specifically about proposals!)
I would recommend the article “A Bidder’s dozen – Golden Rules for Winning Work” by David G. Pugh, published by APMP in 2002. Excellent article.
Thanks for your time, Kris!