Clear thinking

Learn how to improve your proposals and win more business.

Bid Proposals | Categorizing prospect needs

 October 13, 2015
by Paul Heron

Last week we stressed the importance of developing proposals that address the issuer’s needs for the specific purchase on bid, rather than presenting your solution as if to the market generally.

As a team, that means understanding the prospect’s needs, the ideal solution, and what other bidders are likely to offer to address each key requirement.

The diagram below will help organize that understanding.

Picture you, your prospect and competitors

The small circle (below centre) represents the prospect's needs, or “solution wish list.” The medium circle on the right represents the features and benefits of your range of standard solutions. The large circle represents the features and benefits available from other standard offers. You can think of this circle as all competitors, or your closest competitor—which ever makes more sense.

Analyse the overlaps

Looking at the areas where the circles overlap:

  • A includes features that both you and your competition offer and that will satisfy the prospect.
  • B includes features that only you offer—or that you offer in a way that is superior to competing solutions. For example, while both you and one or more competitors have the ability to perform, only you have a team of key individuals who successfully completed the exact type of project on bid (same size and scope) in the past year.
  • C includes features where at least one other competitor has an advantage.

What actions will you take?

This model prompts two questions:

  1. Which features—both compliance items and those your sales discovery tells you are important—belong in each of A, B and C?
  2. Having identified A, B and C items, what actions will you take?

We’ll tackle these questions in coming posts.

Next week: Ranking and responding to client needs



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