Winning Proposal Strategies

proposal

You Asked...

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  1. How can we improve our proposal strike rate?

     

    Good proposal writing is a fine art, and a complex business. In the US, PSMJ offers a full two-day program on how to do it better. We don’t offer that program in Australia-New Zealand, but the key principles of it are embedded in the PM Essentials program – and we include several specific techniques that help project managers to become better proposal writers.

Thinking this might be a good time to rethink your proposal strategies? Looking to enter a new niche market, or change your marketing pitch?

You’re not alone! Like it or not, the world of marketing is changing at warp speed. Get in front or be left behind. Those are your only options. Your elegant Portfolio of Pretty Pictures of Past Projects won’t cut it. That’s the “5P syndrome”. Commercial clients want their new projects to stand out. In particular, to be “different from and better than” their competitors’ past projects – like the ones in your portfolio.

Your 5P experience does have value you can exploit, as long as your descriptions make clear how that experience responded to particular issues the clients had. The marketing value is in the process that led to the visible result, not the result itself. If that process resonates with the prospective client, they will imagine a similar process will create a uniquely responsive design outcome for them.

Institutional clients have similar approaches, but are usually focused more on functionality than appearance. Process descriptions of how you listen, learn, assess, and respond to these client needs are just as relevant.

Demonstrated, provable, evident skills in managing time, risk, quality and construction cost are very important to both commercial and institutional clients. What’s your track record?

Marketing challenges are always unique, and must relate to the values, aspirations and fears of firm leadership. PSMJ reviews current strategies and assumptions, compares those to what we know about current markets, and provides advice on how to better “tap into” current market expectations.

If your “strike rate” is declining, it’s a sign that your marketing approach may not be keeping up with the times. You’re spending more time and money to win fewer projects. That’s often the catalyst for firms to re-examine their proposal strategies, including how proposals are structured and written.

Particularly important is how proposal writers approach areas of risk. Over and over, we see design firms staying as far away from risk as possible. That is a losing strategy. To say it again: That is a losing strategy. Winning strategies have to accept some risk, and show how to control the rest of it. Without that, your fancy proposal will go straight into the recycle bin. PSMJ can show you how to use risk, at the proposal level, that increases your chance of winning without increasing your exposure.

Here are some of the things you need to do if you want to move to the front of the pack:

1. Stop thinking “BD” and start thinking “CRM”. BD – Business Development – is a last-century compartmentalised concept, focused on winning projects. CRM – Client Relationship Management – is a firm-wide, client-focused, year-round strategic approach that includes BD as a component. LEARN MORE about CRM.

2. Stop complaining about being stuck in a “commodity box”. Think your way out of it. There are strategies you can use to lessen your clients’ reliance on commodity-based thinking, and move them toward value-based thinking. For those you cannot budge loose from commodity-based thinking, leave them to your competitors. LEARN MORE about Commodity Box escape.

3. Turn everybody in your firm that has client contact into a marketer. Best way to do that is send all of your project managers to the PSMJ Project Management Essentials They will also learn how to become better negotiators, which will increase your project fees by converting scope creep into variations. Immediate ROI.

4. Take advantage of PSMJ’s FREE Proposal Assessment Service: Send us 3 proposals each that were successful and unsuccessful. We’ll run a confidential, high-level assessment of them, no charge, and make suggestions on how you could increase your success rate. What’s the ROI on that? Call us – +61 9686 3846 – to arrange an assessment.

5. Get PSMJ on your Team. Email us, or call Charles on +61 409 805 907 to discuss your needs or request a proposal. The ROI on working with you? Satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back. You just can’t lose.

You Asked...

Click a question to see the answer
  1. How can we improve our proposal strike rate?

     

    Good proposal writing is a fine art, and a complex business. In the US, PSMJ offers a full two-day program on how to do it better. We don’t offer that program in Australia-New Zealand, but the key principles of it are embedded in the PM Essentials program – and we include several specific techniques that help project managers to become better proposal writers.


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