APMP Bid & Proposal Con 2019: Lessons Learned

APMP’s annual Bid and Proposal Con was another highly successful and insightful APMP event for everyone. The Privia team was on site throughout the week, meeting with professionals from across the world and discussing some of their biggest proposal management challenges and best practices. I wanted to share some of my thoughts, insights and lessons learned from the conference.

How to Win Friends and Influence People Panel

Following some great networking and Privia demonstrations, my week really got into high gear with a Panel discussion, hosted by Kristin Dufrene, Capture Manager at CACI. Based on Dale Carnegie’s body of work, we focused on how to influence people to better support the proposal process and build high-performing teams.

Mr. Carnegie once said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” We panelists could not agree more - one of the reasons proposal management is so tough is coordinating all of the differing points of view. Here’s what the panel recommended:

  • Praise, not criticism: People are more inspired to do better if you maintain a positive environment that emphasizes strengths, not weaknesses. Praise must be real – but it goes a long way to get people motivated to do more.
  • Take the high road: Resist the urge to “win” when there is a disagreement. Emphasize instead where there is common ground and how to move forward together. If you “win” your teammate “loses” and nobody likes to lose!
  • Get to know your people (team members, employees, etc.) personally so that you can relate to them and them to you. This builds trust, team cohesion and loyalty to your shared mission. High performing teams have a lot of trust – and trust is key to collaboration.

A a recent survey by Strategic Solutions claimed that buyers felt that over 40 percent of bidders should be ashamed of the quality of their proposals. That shows us that we can do better. Proposal development in the modern digital environment requires collaboration and cooperation, and Mr. Carnegie’s advice still stands. To win bids and influence people, and to deliver the quality evaluators crave, managers and leaders must build an environment of collaboration and trust.

Learn more with Universal Proposal Manager Character Traits.

Content Collaboration Platforms (CCPs) Session

Next up was my session on the Content Collaboration Platforms (CCP) Market. Collaboration is a big buzz word in our industry. In fact, a study by Google and Raconteur found 56% of respondent’s ranked collaboration as having the greatest impact to profitability.

With the growth of Cloud and SaaS, there are a lot of technology options available to facilitate collaboration. While these tools are useful (and necessary), they are not magic. Teams still need processes and cultures that collaborate – tools or no tools. So how do teams leverage collaboration tools to improve proposal efficiency, productivity and quality?

  • Time remains the biggest challenge. An overwhelming number of attendees cited “Time” as their biggest proposal management challenge. According to McKinsey Global Institute, introducing communication and collaboration into the process can increase productivity by as much as 25%.
  • The cost of miscommunication: While attendees underestimated the cost of just one business trip per proposal they were spot on when it came to the high cost of miscommunication – a whopping 37 Billion a year according to Mitchell Communications Group in their recent survey.
  • The search for information continues: The International Data Corporation claims “the knowledge worker spends 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information.” While Clear Company reports 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.”

During the talk I emphasized the importance of culture and collaboration, but also of picking the right tool for the job. Content Collaboration Platforms come in many flavors, and comparing content management to proposal management capabilities can be like comparing apples and oranges.

The key to selecting the right proposal management software for your team is to focus on the specific functionality your process requires, such as pipeline management, hooks to your CRM, and workflow, among others. On-Line storage alone is not “content collaboration” or “proposal management"!

Learn more with my presentation, Content Collaboration Platforms (CCP) Market – What is it, and How Do You Best Use It?

To round out the week, I had the opportunity to speak with the team of national APMP Chapter Leaders as part of their best practices workshop. These professionals are the driving force in the worldwide APMP community, and they had a lot to discuss. I would ask everyone in the Proposal Management profession to join APMP (of course) but to also become active with your local chapter. Much of the great work that leads to BPC happens here, and you will have great opportunities for mentorship, professional networking and more if you do.

APMP BPC 2019 was a very busy and insightful experience. So I’ll leave you with one more thought. The majority of my Session attendees believed that their company employees were not using free file sharing tools (“freeware”) – which runs counter to industry statistics that indicate that 65% are in fact doing that, as reported by AIIM. The information in your proposals, proprietary and non, is your crown jewel. Know the risks that lack of control, visibility or accountability bring.

Learn more with Warning: Sharing May Not Be Caring.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our Booth and searched me out on site. We hope our team addressed your questions and introduced some thought-proving solutions. Feel free to reach out and schedule a demo to learn how Privia can help you and your team save time, reduce costs, and improve the quality evaluators crave.

About Privia

Privia is the "Proposal Company" known by its 10,000+ users for providing the software and services needed by today's government contractor market to bid and win government contracts. Industry-leading organizations including IBM Watson, Huntington Ingalls Industries, CGI, Noridian Health, and Sotera Defense, use Privia to collaborate, manage and build winning proposals every day. Privia software streamlines their capture and proposal management process – from opportunity, workflow automation, and content reuse to real-time reviews, contract management and business intelligence – while expert services ensure teams are working as efficiently and effectively as possible throughout the process. At Privia, we are business developers and proposal managers, technologists and innovators. We want you to win. We're here to help you save time, reduce costs and increase proposal quality.

Topic(s): Events