The formal business acquisition process has always been a competitive endeavor. Today, winning bids is especially challenging given changing priorities, limited time and resources, and constrained budgets. The most successful organizations adopt industry standards and best practices – and when pursued diligently – find that win rates improve, and effectiveness and efficiencies are discovered. Best practices include forming relationships early in the procurement so that you are in a favorable position with the Funder, bidding on those opportunities that have a higher probability of winning and align with your organization’s business plans and core competencies, and leveraging the very best in proven tools and techniques to put in a compliant and compelling document that moves the Funder to choose your offer over the competition.
The development of a competitive and winning bid takes time, proper planning, the identification of the right resources at the right time and place, and implementation of both art and science practices. Win strategies are devised, value propositions are offered, the science case is conceptualized, solutions are engineered, graphical depictions of funder visions are created, and win themes and discriminators are sprinkled throughout the proposal – all carefully developed from the issues surrounding the procurement. This is how the proposal becomes funder-focused, not just where the program office is now, but where they are going in the future.
Ultimately, a winning bid tells a story: “Michelangelo said that he did not sculpt marble; he discovered it in the sculpture that was already hidden in the stone that released it. In winning proposals, we discover the solution already hidden in the Request for Proposal (RFP) that released it, and finding a cost-effective way to create a larger market that may have discovered us, as we look to our projects to signal us of events to come. To win, we must invite the audience to reflect on what the future might look like in their eyes. There will be those who are persuaded by art, and those who are moved by pure science. The challenge is to offer both, affordably, and then to let those who released the RFP think they discovered it…”
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- The Development of Competitive Bids is an Art and Science - September 28, 2020