Updated: May 13, 2019
JONATHAN CORRIE ON WINNING BIDS
Companies across all industries are looking for new ways to grow as they face increasingly complex sales cycles, customers who are empowered with information, new forms of competition and the need to be more responsive to customer demands.
Within this environment commercial organisations, including their pre-sales and consultancy teams, face a range of challenges that impact their ability to be successful:
Getting the best team onto bids with the right knowledge to win the deal
Ensuring the bid is of a high quality and ready on time
Consultants having the capacity to work on proposals
Getting this wrong has a direct impact on revenue which can mean suppliers not being shortlisted, RFPs being submitted late (and so aren’t accepted), or the poor quality of proposals with staff overstretched between billable work and pre-sales efforts.
However the personal pain that this issue causes is significant because of the time sucked up negotiating for pre-sales resources or figuring out availability of people with the right knowledge to win deals. This frustration becomes acute when bonuses are impacted if deals close late or not at all.
Creating alignment between sales activities, pre-sales teams and consultancy support requires connected people via communications, process and technology - these three elements need to work in tandem, if one of them fails then keeping up with demand is impossible.
Sales teams should be able to request the relevant skills or knowledge for a deal in their CRM as they manage the opportunity. When the relevant team member is assigned, the sales executive would be notified and can begin collaborating on the deal straight away. For this to work at scale, mapping out the key skill-sets, technical knowledge or industry experience needs to be done first so that you can map deals to the right people quickly. The skills matrix needs to be simple and easy to access, not locked away in a clunky ERP or HR solution that no-one in the commercial team uses or has access to.
Agile bid management can be achieved by reducing the bottlenecks that occur when requirements only going through the hands of a select number of staff. To create more agility, consider rotating staff into pre-sales activities on a regular basis. In this way you can give staff more exposure to navigating sales cycles, face-to-face meetings with clients and writing proposals.
If you can carve out time to socialise your sales, pre-sales and delivery teams - this will create a lot more long term value for your business. Disconnected teams who don’t know each other will only ever lead to animosity when things go wrong. Through ensuring there is more familiarity about how things work across sales and delivery, you can build a more integrated and ultimately responsive unit.
Precursive knows how resource management isn't just about placing people on projects once the work is won, it's key to know your skills matrix and availability in order to win the work. Our Agile Workforce research highlights how process and technology is often underestimated; the knee-jerk reaction is often hire when the problem might be more systemic. Agree or disagree? Let us know!
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