Now we’ve long advocated the importance of pre-proposal planning – engaging with the sales team well before an RFP lands. To a large extent, this simply boils down to making the following dreams come true: by the time the RFP lands:
- The customer has a good idea of our capabilities and competitive advantages.
- We've influenced the customer's requirements, criteria & process towards our strengths.
- We've established a good relationship with the customer’s key decision makers.
- We understand the customer's view of our competitive position.
- We know the timescales for the RFP / proposal.
- We've built our proposal team & they’ve allocated time.
- We've pulled together any raw material that we'll need when we come to write the proposal.
- The customer is looking forward to reading our proposal and expects us to win.
My Qatari friends have one extra phrase, that I really loved. One of their goals for their sales colleagues is as follows:
Be the first to know.
I think I’ll use this as a test when qualifying deals in future – along with my old favourite: “what do we know about this deal that our competitors don’t.” If we’re late to the table, and don’t have an inside track, why would we bother?!
Posted by Jon