Congratulations! You're the lucky recipient of an RFP. Before you jump headfirst into a proposal, it's worth considering the benefits of hiring an experienced consultant to head up your proposal team. To help inform your decision, we've laid out the top five ways proposal consultants affect the proposal process and outcome.
1. Understand and Respond to an RFP More Effectively
Winning a bid is not just about answering all the questions in an RFP and submitting competitive pricing. It's also about reading between the lines — knowing what your audience expects and what will separate your bid from others that they'll receive. Every party that responds to an RFP answers the same set of questions, but a well chosen proposal consultant will have an informed idea of "what else"a contract is looking for beyond RFP guidelines. Going above and beyond in a proposal requires a thorough understanding of what works for specific government contracts and what doesn't; a seasoned proposal manager will have the breadth of experience necessary to make those difficult decisions, gather the right resources and deliver a competitive proposal in the specified timeframe.
2. Ensure reliable and consistent process management
Proposal management and oversight is a full-time job that often requires more commitment than professionals with other daily responsibilities can provide, despite their best intentions.
Hiring a proposal consultant is an easy way to take the burden of managing a proposal off of your core staff, so that you don't overwork your employees and ultimately produce a lower quality proposal.
Proposal consultants are also specially trained to understanding what's involved in a proposal process and to execute each stage with maximum efficiency. They're experts at coordinating reviews, sourcing subject matter experts when necessary and making sure that companies do everything within their power to increase the likelihood of winning a bid and seeing a return on their investment.
3. Access a network of established subject matter experts
Many proposals require you to look beyond your organization to consult subject matter experts (SMEs) in a specific area or field. Even if you're planning on executing the bulk of a project, some RFPs may require you to name individual's who you'll be consulting with on specific areas outside of your organization's purview (specialists in logistics or engineering, for example). An established proposal consultant will keep a rolodex of reliable and knowledgeable SMEs from a variety of industries that they've worked with to execute successful proposals. Having the option of drawing upon this network takes the responsibility off of your organization to source SMEs and instead allows you focus on what you do best. It also gives you the option to draw upon SMEs outside of your existing contact list and/or geographic area.
4. Improve your ROI
Even before accepting an RFP, you've likely already begun investing time and resources into understanding and planning your response. Proposals can take months of planning and hard work to create and often involve many individuals within an organization. Poorly planned proposal processes create churn, burden employees, and ultimately cost more money. Hiring a proposal consultant will increase the probability that you'll win a proposal and help ensure that you're using your time and resources to the greatest effect— thus increasing your probability of seeing greater ROI on your efforts.
5. Leverage your in-house expertise more effectively
Proposal managers have experience stepping into new environments and effectively managing different roles and personality types. Their profession demands that they learn quickly and leverage their past managerial experience to get the most out of their proposal team, no matter how many people that involves. Online proposal management and collaboration tools help proposal managers establish a repeatable process and hold all participating parties to a set timeline and list of responsibilities. It also gives everyone involved visibility into the status of a proposal at any given time, while allowing the proposal manager to maintain the control and direction of the document.
The bottom line
Accepting an RFP and submitting a proposal is a huge undertaking that can pay off in a big way if done correctly. Hiring a proposal consultant is a great way to ensure that you create a competitive and compelling proposal — and that the process runs smoothly from start to finish.
About The Bid Coach
The Bid Coach helps organizations bid and win Federal, State, and Local Government Contracts, while developing their own strong Business Development capability, offering Consulting, Outsourcing, and Training along with proven Processes and Tools.
As a Privia Service Partner and an ISO 9001:2015 certified organization, The Bid Coach is committed to delivering high quality products and services that consistently meet or exceed its Client’s expectations.
Learn more at www.thebidcoach.win