5 perspectives connecting business development, proposals, and winning

A key part of winning in writing is having the ability to write from the customer’s perspective instead of your own. Not everybody can write from someone else’s perspective. It turns out that seeing things from other perspectives can also help with other parts of the process. Here are five different ways of looking at your pursuits and how they impact your ability to win:

See also:
Assessing and filling your business opportunity pipeline
  1. The forward perspective. Looking forward is about anticipating and preparing for what to do next. It is about starting from where you are and saying "what do we need to do?" Looking forward is the easiest perspective for most people, what they focus on, and some never look at it any other way. It works great, until you run out of time or get to the end and find out that you don’t have what you need. Most people start their proposals feeling unprepared. Do you think there might be a connection?
    But looking forward also means laying the right foundations. It means creating a strategic plan that tells your staff how to position the company. It means collecting intelligence so that you’ll be able to articulate what it will take to win. It means having the right processes and methodologies for pre-RFP pursuit and post-RFP proposal development. Looking forward should not mean making it up as you go along.
  2. The backward perspective. Looking backward means starting by thinking about what it will take to win your proposal. Each item you think about will lead to more things that you need in order to get there. Each step you take will take you further back in time. Looking backward tells you what you need to do at each step to arrive at the winning proposal. It is a good perspective for showing people why they need to take action early in the process instead of waiting until the end.
  3. The information perspective. Winning proposals is all about finding and assessing information so that you can articulate what the customer needs to hear in order to win. Most people just take what they know and try to present it well. Winners base their presentations on better information. The entire process can be looked at as a flow of information that gets assessed, converted, and ultimately becomes the proposal. Instead of thinking about gathering intelligence, obtaining a competitive advantage, or writing a winning proposal, consider looking at it from the perspective of where you have an information advantage. Then translate your information advantage into winning strategies and themes for your proposal.
  4. The progress perspective. How do you know if you are on track to be ready to win when the RFP is released? The only way to track your progress to ensure that you accomplish everything you need to before time runs out is to start already knowing what steps you need to follow, questions you need to answer, and goals you need to achieve. Then you can measure their completion. Another perspective is to look at your pursuit not in terms of time, but in terms of progress. How much have you completed out of what you should have? To visualize this, you need a process that is measurable.
  5. The scientific perspective. If you have a process that is measurable, you can track metrics. If you correlate those metrics with your win rate, you can determine which things have the most impact on your win rate. If you’re going by conventional wisdom, you’re probably wrong. One of the best things that result from this perspective is better bid/no bid decisions. The hardest part about bid decisions isn’t deciding which leads to pursue, it’s deciding which pursuits to pull the plug on because the pursuit has fallen too far behind. Metrics and a scientific outlook take the emotion out of that decision.

 


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Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing. The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

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