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RFP Bid/No-Bid Decision | Project Factors

 December 11, 2012
by Paul Heron

This is the third of five posts on creating a process for deciding whether or not to bid on any given opportunity. A transparent process improves alignment and gives you information to optimize your win rate, given your resources.

Find the previous two posts at these links:

As a wrap-up to the series, we’ll share some best practices and a framework you can adapt to your own go/no-go criteria.

Step Two: Evaluate the Project

1. What do you know about this project? As with your knowledge of the client, familiarity with the project directly affects your potential for success. What do you know beyond what’s in the RFP? Have you completed similar projects, perhaps for the same or similar clients in the past? Is this a project you’ve discussed with the client and helped to plan? Or (the ideal situation) did you have a hand in shaping the RFP?

2. What about profitability and future potential? Given your knowledge of the client and this project, how much profit and potential is at stake? At one extreme, is this a marginally profitable project with little or no future potential? Are the profit and potential questionable? Or can you see high profitability and solid potential for future business?

3. How challenging is the project? This ties into familiarity. Are there areas where you are unsure of the challenges and demands involved? If you understand the challenges, are you confident you can meet them? Beyond being confident, is this an opportunity to add significant value, because of your experience and expertise?

Does the RFP process allow you to learn more?

You may have concerns about the project scope or complexity, but don’t want to write off the opportunity. Can you learn more from the client? RFP processes vary widely in how much information you can request once the bid has been issued. Private sector processes tend to be more flexible.

Another way to deal with unknowns is through contracting. Will the client share the terms and conditions it typically uses for this type of project? Can you submit an offer structured to minimize risks in certain areas? How much will such an offer impair your competitive position?

In an ideal world, every project would be an ELF—easy, lucrative and fun. Perceptions of project risk often differ considerably among sales, operations and senior levels within a company, making an explicit framework helpful.

What project criteria do you use?

Do you have a formal or informal bid/no-bid framework? What factors do you consider and why?

Next week we’ll look at the competitive situation and how it can influence your process and decision.

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




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