SUBJECT: Input on an opportunity to bid for a strategic project
I just got off the phone with the President of the top player in our target vertical market west of the Mississippi:
Opportunity: They are going to let an RFP in two weeks to six or fewer strategy consulting firms.
Scope: Strategy, culture, change management, marketing, and messaging. (Yes; they’ve combined it all; and Yes they want one winner to be their partner as they transform).
Budget: Over $1M in first-year contracted services.
Term: It’s a multi-year award.
Qualifications: It’s right up our alley, the CEO know us (me) but has never been a client, our lack of local presence is a good thing because they want a firm with great experience and NOT just someone local.
Process: Responses will be due six weeks after the RFP is issued, and orals will be in two months with the winner selected by year-end.
Please share thoughts on how to think this through. We want to win as always and this has big implications for our firm if we do win. We have NOT decided to bid. We will do a bid/no-bid process once we see the RFP.
A credible organization consistently performs and grows according to a plan. Such an organization will invariably be a system of three systems:
A system of delivery
A system of sales
A system of growth.
It is not uncommon for an early stage organization to be good at delivery and good at growth but stuck at square-one when it comes to its system of selling. Leaders of such organizations often find themselves consumed with delivery and with never enough time to develop and drive a system that generates new sales opportunities.
Interest and competence in sales starts at the very top of an organization. It is in everyone’s best interest for a top executive to own the challenge to determine how to systematically create demand for what the organization offers. Once a leader figures out how to sell, the method can be routinized and taught to others to execute, manage, and scale.Continue reading Sales — whose problem is it anyway?→
There are many ways to drive sales in a services business. The hardest is to convince a new prospect to hire your organization to perform new work. Once you have a client, though, it is far easier to:
Extend and expand contracted work to provide even greater value.
Find and develop new opportunities to deliver value in other parts of the same organization.
Find similar organizations that would benefit from doing what has been successfully done already.
Most service organizations dramatically under-play opportunities to deliver more value to existing clients and to deliver for new clients what has already been successfully delivered for another.
Click the figure above to view a graphic that shows how to juxtapose the roles of New Account Sales, Project Management, Account Management, and Solution Offering Management in a way that provides a solid foundation for steady revenue growth.
Good questions of customers and prospects can dramatically increase the odds of developing opportunities to deliver value. Questions that engage and that allow the customer or prospect to reveal and expand their realities and the opportunities to provide value are ideal.
It takes conscious effort to plan for, create, and to make the most of opportunities to engage. The best practice is to think ahead, develop a collection of stock questions, and pay attention to find, cultivate, and take advantage of opportunities to engage.
Below are characteristics of well-phrased questions followed by some examples.
A well-phrased question:
Is not answerable in a single word, i.e. it is open-ended and inspires an engaging dialogue on a broad agenda.