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  • Writer's pictureSJ Baublitz

Avoiding Proposal Disaster series, week 4: the Busywork

It’s part four of five in our series on cutting off proposal disasters before they start through an improved go/no go process. Today we’re talking about a different kind of time suck – the type that prevents business development teams from enjoying their hard-earned slow season.

Disaster 4: The Busywork

Sure, it’s not particularly relevant to your organization's strategy and goals, but you have business development staff available who aren’t working on a live bid right now.

Maybe if something more strategic comes along, you’ll pull all your strongest business development staff off this turkey and move them to the stronger prospect, leaving this one to limp along with a few back-up consultants pulling together boilerplate language. Plus, then leadership can’t deny how hard you tried – your team of three submitted 162 proposals last year!

Preventing this disaster through your Go/No Go process:

  • Check what kind of metrics you report on for business development as an organization. Is what you track and report to leadership and the board putting more value on quantity of submissions or quality? Make sure your narrative matches your strategy.

  • Ensure there is a place where business development staff’s workload over the coming months is tracked and feeds into your Go/No Go conversation. If we know many team members are not working on a live bid now but are likely to be needed for a high priority bid in a couple of weeks, they are not “available.” End of story.

Thinking about your time not just in the next few days but over the upcoming weeks and months is part of a more strategic outlook for managing your pipeline.

And finally: do you put a value on downtime for your business development team? At your next team meeting, ask everyone to popcorn out all the things they accomplish when they aren't full steam on proposal (and by accomplish, we might mean things that sound really productive like "write training manual for new hire" AND things that don't sound productive but 100% matter to keeping productive, happy staff like "actually use my vacation time to have a life outside work."). Our guess is it's a really long (and valuable) list.

Don't miss a post from the series!

If these disasters hit a little too close to home, it may be time to start re-evaluating your Go/No Go process. Fortunately, we’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of different processes at a lot of different organizations and learn a bit about what works and what doesn’t. Why not set up a time to talk about what we would recommend to improve yours?

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