In this era of fierce competition among cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) providers, and digital consulting firms, the decision to pursue public or private sector RFPs is one which you shouldn’t take lightly.
Much like in a game of high-stakes poker, business executives need to decide whether it is worth the risk of being “all-in” on dedicating valuable resources towards developing competitive RFPs and proposals.
By resources, I mean:
- Human resources; developers, designers, business development teams and architects
- Time and focus, which you would otherwise invest with existing clients or projects
- Intellectual capital (IC), as RFPs often ask for detailed methodologies, and approaches to problem-solving which are generally closely-guarded company IC
- Customer reference call coordination activities. Most IT services firms will admit that it’s challenging enough to get customers to make themselves available for reference calls. It doesn’t take long for reference-willing customers to become burnt out on providing reference conversations, case studies and testimonials.
- Financial resources – such as investing in proposal printing and delivery, legal review plus the indirect costs of burning through the resources listed above.
Though public sector and non-profit organizations are generally considered to be a primary source of RFPs, RFIs, and other RFx competitions, private sector companies are increasingly having technology firms compete for their business through a bidding process. Especially companies in regulated industries, such as utilities, medical device manufacturers and natural resources firms.
Mitigate risk by outsourcing proposal management
For high-growth companies in the digital, content and data management sectors, disrupting project work and diminishing utilization by assigning valuable expertise to proposal writing simply isn’t feasible.
There have been great strides in AI-driven applications and services to make RFP management more effective. Yet until RFPs and RFx documents all fit a “cookie cutter” model, there will always be a need for proposal managers, writers, editors and desktop publishers.
It takes human expertise and intuition to ensure bid documents give tech firms the best possible opportunities to be shortlisted on, and ultimately win high-value contracts.
For technology services companies without the necessary in-house experience or “bandwidth” to properly evaluate RFx competitions, build winning proposals, and deliver them before strict deadlines – outsourcing all, or parts of the proposal management process is the best option. Similar to outsourcing the creation of any content that bears your brand, contracting with a proposal writer who is a technology-savvy wordsmith is absolutely critical.
A technology RFP writer worth your investment requires a good balance of:
- Technical acumen
- Business eloquence – to explain complex topics in conversational language
- Time management skills
- Process discipline
- Knowledge of where to find RFPs, and how to best respond to them
- Attention to detail
- Organizational skills
- Appreciation of caffeinated beverages
- Enough love of writing to do so at all hours of days, nights and weekends
You might be looking to augment your existing business development team with an extra brain, pair of hands, and set of eyes for an RFP that you don’t have cycles for right now.
Alternatively, you could be on a quest for a reliable, proven resource for pursuing bids on a regular basis. Whatever motivated you to read up to this point in this article, a contract technical proposal specialist could be the catalyst to helping you meet your recurring or project revenue targets.
Minimize writer ramp-up time and increase odds of winning
Has your company hired a full-time or contract employee in the past to manage the proposal process? You’ll appreciate that it takes time to help a new-hire navigate your document repositories of previous bids, get up to speed on the services your company offers, and attend all of the internal stand-up meetings and scrums that go with being an employee.
A contract proposal manager can (under a signed NDA) be provided access to a limited set of relevant documents, given some high-level details about your company’s methodology, team resources, pricing information and other data to meet RFP compliance criteria. They can then be tasked with “fleshing out” your proposal with supporting content which can increase your odds of success.
Executives within technology consulting firms usually understand staff augmentation outsourcing better than any business leaders. Let’s face it, they live and breathe that business model every day. It shouldn’t surprise you that outsourcing proposal management isn’t a turn-key process.
You’ll still need to allocate resources such as technical experts, product managers or services leads. Yet their time allocation will be significantly reduced compared to what it would take if they were involved in the proposal writing process directly.
Other potential benefits of outsourcing the RFx process, either on a one-off basis or long-term, include:
- Assistance in making educated bid/no bid decisions without having to read through the entire RFP yourself
- Insights into the kinds of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your company, and the RFP itself
- The types of responses and content that wins favor with procurement teams, technical evaluators and executive decision makers
- Assurance that on or before the RFx due date, you’ll have an electronically deliverable proposal, or that it will be either en route via courier to the customer or on their desk before time runs out.
The odds of victory will be significantly improved by outsourcing with an RFP specialist. Your team already has many other responsibilities/priorities including client work and internal reporting requirements.
Whether there’s an RFP due date looming large on your calendar, or if you are looking to extend your business development practice, contracting on-demand proposal management is a great way to compete at, or just above your current business “weight-class.”
Interested in exploring other benefits and strategies of contract RFP services for your technology services firm? Contact Boardroom Metrics for a no-obligation consultation at your earliest convenience.