For those who can’t wait … let’s start with the conclusion :-)
Don’t shoot at everything that’s moving - choose your targets well - investigate before investing valuable time that was tagged LOST from the beginning
I’m not saying that you should not be taking any risks, moreover to allow your business to grow you will need to engage into some “risky business” … what I do want to point out is that investing precious time and money into the creation of a bid is a decision that should be based on thorough qualification … and that is what’s often neglected.
Bare in mind that making the wrong decision at this stage limits your capacity for what could be “the next big deal”. This is not intended as a theoretical post on pre-sales best practices, blablabla, but a solid set of questions (random order) to check with your customer and your internal organisation. Consider the answers before proceeding into the “bid creation process”. It’s a summary of what I’ve encountered in the last few years in my job as a pre-sales guy. Here they are “Bart’s laws … for solid opportunity qualification”:
- Do we know the customer?
- What is the business case?
- Is this opportunity not just the customers strategy on having an extra approach and budget to compare to his preferred partner?
- Do we know the decision maker(s), what type of person is it?
- Who are the influencers that we can talk to?
- What is deadline for this proposal, what is our time left?
- Who are the competitors, what are there strong/weak points (SWOT)?
- Do we have the necessary competences & resources for this bid and for the project?
- How will we differentiate ourselves against the competition?
- Do we know the budget of the customer?
- If won when does this thing need to start, needs to be delivered?
- Can we use our T’s & C’s or do we need to align with those of the customer?
- Can we meet with the customer to ask questions, do we have enough information?
- What does the customer need and what is our value proposal?
- What is the format in which we need to deliver our proposal (document, presentation, language, …)
- Can we present our offer to the customer in a face2face meeting?
- If we now the budget, how much do we want to invest in this bid?
- What are the selection criteria of the customer?
- What is the selection procedure?
- Are there any legal issues we need to address?
- Does this align with our strategy?
- What are the internal and external risks?
I guess that by trying to answer this set of questions you will get an above par opportunity qualification, that will definitely help you decide on “let’s go for it” or either “nope let’s leave this one alone”.
Good luck with your pre-project efforts !