I’ve been working with a team lately who’ve been in the early stages of discussion with a client about a very major opportunity – think ten typical deals added together, then add some.
They’re doing all the right things at this stage – building up trust with the client’s decision-makers, shaping the requirements in our favour. Their best guess is that this influencing phase has another couple of months to run.
“So let’s start talking about the proposal effort,” says I.
Cue a workshop looking ahead to the proposal phase, involving a core team of senior managers. As I explained it, “At some point we’re going to have to get serious about this – and I don’t want that to be once the RFP’s arrived.”
So we’re now off identifying and talking to the probable contributors. We’re trying to secure war room space. We have experts assessing our likely competitors. We’re booking a strategy session, and a stakeholder analysis meeting (”I want everyone who’ll evaluate the proposal to be favourably disposed to our cause”).
We’re working out what content we can pull together before an RFP lands. We’re lining up internal stakeholders. We’re making sure that we are definitely going to bid – perish the thought that the qualification decision happens so late that we waste resources, or don’t secure resources soon enough, or mislead the client.
We’re building a plan as to how we’ll manage the proposal when the client does press ‘go’, and making sure everyone understands what will be needed. We’re trying to inject a will to win in the whole team.
Will we win? I have no idea yet, although you can bet I’ll do everything I can to help the team to do so. And it’ll be so much easier if we don’t start off on the back foot.