Customer Focus Is A Team Sport
Often when we approach a bid opportunity, we tend to think in terms of “our customer.” That customer is usually defined as a specific level of Government entity, such as the Department of Defense, Army, or AFRICOM. Our strategy and approach are built around this entity, and that is what we should do.
However, do we take it far enough? Do we take tailor our response to the intended audience for each proposal volume or even each proposal section? Do we consider the degree to which the evaluators know or care about the hot buttons, pain points, problems, concerns, and goals we gathered from the technical end user or contracting officer we spoke with?
Requirements outlined in the customer’s RFP, define the proposal (content, sequence, format). The customer issues behind those requirements define the benefits the customer is buying. The benefits the customer is buying define what you need to offer/sell:
- What does the customer you work with every day want?
- What does their boss want?
- What does the customer’s senior executives want?
We should consider the proposal audience for each section of the proposal, both within the customer space and the proposal evaluators. For example, the evaluators scoring the various volumes are typically structured in teams reflective of the stated Section M evaluation criteria factors that include areas such as:
- Technical (all or only a selected focus area)
- Past Performance
Crafting each section and volume to address each different audience is usually not easy, especially is there are conflicting agendas at play. It is necessary if the proposal response achieves the goal of being compelling and demonstrating why the customer should select you.
The above blog post was written by our very own Ali Paskun. Ms. Paskun enjoys helping clients bid smart and bid to win. With more than 30 years’ experience in the Government contracting arena, she believes streamlining processes, making better bid/no bid decisions, developing and implementing a strong win strategy, and conducting effective proposal reviews can go a long way to help position a bidder to win. Knowing that she has contributed to her client’s success and growth is the most rewarding part of her job. We are happy she is a part of the Agility Team.
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