How your approach to proposals determines the prosperity of your company

It's not about the effort, it's about the results

You will not become prosperous by producing lots of cheap, low win rate proposals. 

The secret to business success is not to find as many leads and submit as many proposals as possible.

While you may catch a fish by randomly casting your line over and over, you will not feed a village that way. The solution is not to cast as many random lines as you can. You need to become smarter about fishing and invest in your gear. Maybe buy a net and a boat. You need to put some effort into it. Fishing at random is a pleasant, lazy way to while away the time and just maybe, occasionally eat. But if you want to feed your village every day and grow the population, fishing at random will lead to starvation and failure. 

See also:
ROI

For a business, trying to do a lot of quick, easy proposals is a great way to spend yourself into a hole while looking like you’re working so hard!  But the truth is you’re trying to put as little effort into it as possible. 

The difference between success and failure isn’t the number of proposals you do. It’s your win rate.

Think of your win rate as how many fish you catch each trip fishing. That's what determines how many people in your village get to eat. It's not how many lines you cast.

You can become smarter about how to improve your win rate. And it won’t take more effort than preparing a bunch of proposals that are destined to lose while hoping that some might win.

A high win rate provides the growth needed for a company and all those in it to prosper. The idea that you’ll make more money if your proposal function costs less ignores the fact that the effectiveness of your proposal function determines how much money you’ll make. The proposal function is an investment that brings a return. You should only invest as much into it as will bring you the maximum return. But sometimes investing more is the path to achieving the best return. 

When your win rate is rising, proposals become very profitable. And investing more in profitable things maximizes your return. In fact, by increasing your win rate, proposals have the potential to be the most profitable activity in your company. Calculate how much a 10% improvement in your win rate will return without any more leads than you already have. 

If your win rate is low, either you have the wrong resources preparing your proposal, you’ve got the wrong approach to preparing your proposals, your offerings are not competitive, or you’ve under invested in the function. Your proposal function is inefficient or ineffective or both. Your future prosperity depends on fixing that. A small increase in your win rate will easily pay many times over what you might invest to achieve it. A small decrease in proposal cost that lowers your win rate can easily lower your revenue more than any theoretical “savings.”

Treat the proposal function like an investment. Measure its performance like an investment. And don’t even think about proposal efficiency without thinking through its impact on proposal effectiveness. You can and should measure the return on your proposal investment. You can use your win rate as an indicator of whether your ROI is increasing or decreasing.

People also focus on proposal efficiency because there are competing resource priorities. They might see their normal jobs as the priority instead of working on proposals. However, this ignores how proposals contribute to the ROI of the company and the growth that is the source of all opportunity within it.

Every single piece of content on PropLIBRARY is related to improving your win rate. Every piece of content can help you maximize your ROI. Maximizing your win rate starts long before the RFP is released. A subscription to PropLIBRARY shows you what needs to happen during the pre-RFP pursuit to maximize your chances. And then it shows you how to turn that into the input needed to win the proposal. Along the way it shows you what to do to ensure your offering has a high win probability. But most importantly, it shows you how to systematize doing it all --- how to consistently bid with a high win probability so that your win rate continuously rises and your village can prosper.
 

Let's discuss your challenges with preparing proposals and winning new business

 

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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.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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