Some marketing departments also handle proposal responsibilities. On one level, this makes sense. Marketing people are familiar with their company´s products and their features and benefits. They also understand the market and tend to be good writers.
So, especially in small businesses with low volumes of bid opportunities, it seems logical to assign bid responses to marketers.
You’re not bidding to the market
But if your marketing people rely solely on product and market knowledge, your proposals won’t perform as well as they could, especially in competitive situations. For that you need capture planning that results in a client and project-specific strategy.
Effective capture planning enables responsive proposals that express strategic insight and understanding, and a solution that closely aligns with the requirements. Responsive proposals will always outscore those that simply comply using generic product information.
This client, this requirement, at this time
Capture planning relies on knowledge in three areas:
- Prospect: Why has the prospect issued this RFP at this time? What’s the strategic purpose driving the purchase? What business pressures and opportunities does the prospect face? What issues are top-of-mind for the individuals who will evaluate the bids? How well do we know these influencers and decision makers?
- Project: How exactly does the solution need to perform to meet the prospect’s needs? What kinds of trade-offs (for example, performance vs. price) are appropriate in this situation? How do we need to modify our standard offering to win each section of the response?
- Competition: Who else is likely to bid? What relationships do they have in the prospect organization? How closely can they align their offer to the requirement and at what cost?
Fully answering these questions requires a combination of sales, product, engineering, and solution owner input.
By all means use your marketers
Marketing departments are capable of writing winning proposals. But only with support from individuals who have intimate knowledge of the prospect and project—far deeper knowledge than you'll find in the RFP.
So use your marketers, if it makes sense—but give them the support they need to win. Because bidding is an extension of sales, not marketing.
Next week: Winning over prospects
Need help writing more responsive proposals?