The bid process is designed to generate competition in the marketplace. Cost/price analysts do their best to compare apples to apples when reviewing proposal submissions, but there are a few ways you can increase your chances of standing out in the process. Here are five of the most important things you can do to stand tall against the competition:
- Specify and quantify.
Always send a proposal that is customized for the opportunity you’re pursuing. Pay attention to every part of the RFP, even if you think you’ve read it all before–don’t miss the bid because you skimmed the requirements. Once you have the details, respond with accuracy. Instead of simply writing job descriptions, quantify accomplishments with numbers, detail relevant successes and highlight key benchmarks.
- Be Prepared.
Establish reasonable milestones and due dates as soon as possible for all inputs and review points. Getting Director level buy-in and the ability to have management support the proposed schedule helps ensure your success. If you are not well organized, you’ll flounder at the finish line.
- Know the field.
You know your own challenges, hurdles and obstacles. But how familiar are you with those of your customer? Or your competition? Make sure time is spent researching the project and your competitors. Convey an understanding of these core issues throughout the proposal process and with your team. Demonstrating a clear comprehension of the issues will help you stand out.
- Be clear and compelling.
Everything in the proposal should be in direct response to the RFP. Keep text simple, concise and direct. But remember that human beings are on the receiving end, and everyone appreciates a narrative that can paint a picture. Using compelling language to tell your story will help an evaluator get a sense of who you are beyond the hard facts.
- Price to win. Period.
Everyone is getting pinched for time and money. At the end of the day, we all know the most important factor in the bid process is PRICE. If you employ tactics 1 through 4, but are still priced significantly higher than your competitors, you’ll lose. Cost-effectiveness is critical, as is making sure your company benefits from the contract.
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