Recognizing the Value of Proposals (& Proposal Managers!): Lessons from the UK APMP Conference


Posted By Jamie Davies | Oct 29, 2013


Last week, I joined Qvidian Account Manager, Steve Ransom, to meet delegates and members of the APMP UK at their annual conference just outside Cirencester. It is worth highlighting that the UK arm of the APMP has grown by 58% which is the biggest growth of any chapter in the APMP. The conference attracted a record number of attendees and was themed around “Capture Strategy – The Moves to Win”. A common topic of conversation was for companies to recognize the value and quality that a good proposal/response will bring to sales. To use the old adage, a good proposal might not win you the business; however, a poor proposal will lose you the business.

To this end, many sessions referred to the need to capture detailed and fundamental data on the client/prospects current situation. Allied to this was the discussion around the changing position of RFP Managers. People in these roles are integral to the selling process, however a number of people highlighted that they did not even sit in the sales function.

This separation between proposal and sales teams can have a marked effect on revenue performance. There is a need for bid managers to be either made aware of, or be involved in, the discussions with the client so they truly understand the objective and needs of the client. If left to work in isolation, proposal and RFP managers are finding it hard to keep up with demand.

                                    RFP managers

However a crucial missing element was the ability to provide qualitative and quantitative data on the work/activity going through bid teams. For example some questions to be asked:

  • What is the total value of the RFP responses or proposals created?
  • What is the average win rate?
  • How often are you asked to work on an RFP or proposal you just know you can’t win?
  • If you could use that time to work on projects more likely to win, how would that impact sales?

By having key metrics and data it will enable you to focus on opportunities that you have a realistic chance of winning; you won’t just provide a response, but provide a quality response despite the inevitable time pressures. Bid teams “touch and impact” multimillion/billion pounds of revenues every year, help win more contracts, and have a positive impact of their company’s bottom line.

By having access to or part of the selling process (as early as possible) bid managers can be seen as of strategic importance and less transactional. This will support their case to have the correct tools and resources. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy; sales teams are given tools and resources to help them win, so why not RFP Managers? They are also part of the sales team.