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Winning by fulfilling the customer's goals

It's not what you offer that matters, it's how well it fulfills the customer's goals

IntroductionEven when you provide the same offering as your competitors, you can differentiate your proposal by demonstrating that you will do a better job of achieving their goals. Of course, it will help to understand what those goals really are. 

Consider the following questionsWhat should you say about the answers in your proposal?

  • How do you define success, based on the requirements and goals described in the RFP or your customer awareness beyond the RFP?
  • What drives success or is required to achieve it?
  • What constrains or limits the actions you take or resources allocated?
  • What degree of freedom do you have in decisions and resource allocation?
  • How do the constraints and degree of freedom impact your approach?
  • How do your differentiators relate to your ability to achieve success?
  • What acceptance criteria does the customer have or you can provide for their consideration?
  • How do you make success measurable or verifiable?
  • How do you make progress towards success measurable or verifiable?
  • What risks, contingencies, and mitigations can you anticipate on the path towards achieving the results?
  • Does your approach explicitly reflect the customer’s priorities and preferences?
  • Have you accounted for schedule, budget, lifecycle, performance specifications, functionality, staffing, resources, delivery goals, risk, quality objectives or other relevant factors?
  • Have you incorporated the customer’s evaluation criteria?
  • What trade-offs are required?
  • How does the way you've made the trade-offs better support achieving the customer's goals?
  • Can you define a process or workflow based on measuring your way to success?
  • Can you illustrate how project elements add up to success?


You can expect your competitors to say they will achieve the customer's goals. This is especially true regarding the goals they describe in the RFP. To be the customer's best alternative, you need to show how you will achieve those goals and prove that your approach is the most credible.

You can also add value by exceeding the customer's goals. You can do this by providing better performance specifications or you can do it by providing better goals. Either approach can become differentiators.



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