You have just received a proposal for a client you may or may not have worked for previously. You know you can do the services requested and the submittal is “little” effort to put together. In fact, you have a go-by from a previous submittal that you can just update for this one.
You are now at a decision point. This is a no-brainer: GO. You know that you can submit a proposal by the deadline that showcases your qualifications for the work. Since you already have a go-by proposal (remember that one you submitted last year), it will take no time for you marketing coordinator to put this new one together.
The obvious costs are the billable hours technical staff will need to spend to update the original go-by, arrange a team, and possibly develop a new approach—activities needed just for two-page letter of interest. Some might think these can be done “outside” normal business hours. Another obvious cost is the overhead marketing time and expenses to produce the document. Okay, you would have those overhead costs no matter how many proposals you submit.
What you might not be thinking about is how this proposal impacts your entire sales goal.
Let’s assume you have a list of key pursuits. You have assigned project/client managers for each; and he/she are forming teams, meeting with the clients, doing field reviews, etc. Your marketing coordinator may have even begun tailoring resumes and project descriptions, specific to these key pursuits. Even if you don’t have this list (which you should, contact me immediately to begin one), this proposal go/no-go decision affects your sales.
Your project manager only needs one hour for this proposal. Even that one hour spent on this proposal, is one hour away from that key pursuit identified. He/she could have spent that one hour meeting with a client to test a key strategy, making phone calls to form a team, or conducting research on that innovative approach—activities which have been proven to increase win rates. Instead of that one hour being spent on a targeted pursuit to increase your chances of winning, it is being spent on chasing a proposal with little to no-chance of winning.
In other words, would you rather spend one hour of billable time with let’s say a 20% chance of producing a sale (which is very conservative) or 5% chance of producing a sale? That is the decision you are making by chasing this proposal. For every distraction from your key pursuits, you are decreasing your chances of winning them—which jeopardizes your entire sales goal.
But, you need sales now. Your backlog is going to peak in three months. You can’t pass this opportunity up.
Doesn’t that make every proposal even that much important to win? Instead of chasing more proposals, shouldn’t you be using your limited resources to make sure every proposal has the greatest chance of winning?
You should be making decisions that increase your chances of winning every identified key pursuit. Those often included passing up on those proposals that take valuable time away from your key pursuits.
Take action now. Share one instance in which you knew you should have made a no-go decision and what stopped you.