Clear thinking

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Getting the coach's nod

 December 13, 2016
by Paul Heron

Past posts have described the challenges of appealing to the economic buyer, technical buyer and user buyers. Complex procurement teams often include another member—the coach. Whenever a complex RFP attracts more than a half-dozen proposals, a coach often screens submissions to decide which go to the evaluation team. The rest are out of the game.

What coaches look for

The coach is all about compliance and process. He or she will comb through proposals to ensure bidders have addressed all compliance items, completed all sections and followed the “Instructions to Bidders," and aligns with the RFP structure. Some coaches will read or skim key sections for readability and clarity.

Keep the coach happy

To make sure the proposal you've spent weeks (or months) preparing gets evaluated, do the following:

  • Include a compliance matrix: If you’ve used a compliance matrix to manage your bid (as we advise), include it as an appendix. That gets you off to a good start with the coach.
  • Follow the Instructions to Bidders: Make a checklist and ensure you fulfill all items, including the formatting and delivery instructions.
  • Emphasize the right things: Most RFPs include scoring criteria. Allocate section page counts to align with the points weighting in the RFP.
  • Structure your response: Organize your proposal to follow the RFP and include a table of contents. Use strong heads and subheads to guide readers.
  • Back claims with facts: Ensure the coach can pick any section at random—Past Performance, Relevant Experience and/or Proposed Solution—and find specific proof for your claims.
  • Write clearly: Use plain language and keep responses brief. A coach won’t want to expose evaluators to overly complex and/or rambling content.

Rookies beware

Coaches may waive minor oversights by established providers to keep them in the running.

But most bidders don´t get special treatment. Especially if you are new to an industry or much smaller than your competitors, be sure to satisfy the coach. One way to do this is to have a coach of your own—that's a role an outside resource, such as Complex2Clear, can fill.


Need help with an important bid proposal?

Contact Complex2Clear


Photo credit

Paul Heron, MBA, is the founder and managing partner of Complex2Clear, and leads our bid response practice. LinkedIn 





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