Behind-the-Scenes Deal Clinchers!

Sales Empowerment, the New Way – Pursuit Excellence, Price, Performance, Risk Management and Brand Protection!

Marketing fuels brand building, thereby enabling sales. It is no surprise then that it is a well-entrenched function in today’s world of business. It touches every sector, with its sphere of influence extending from corporate battlegrounds to the glitzy ring of Oscars and Grammy.

The message is clear – a charm offensive sells, not quiet innovations or immaculate performances without the marketing muscle!

As I had argued in an earlier post titled Innovation, Marketing and Why Founders are Let Go, whether it is Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Nike, Uber or Airbnb, they owe their grip on the market to their products that meet the changing consumer demand and to the innovative marketing strategies they invested in.

Selling Perceptions

Through sustained campaigns, conclaves and roadshows, businesses can sell perceptions to support their forays into addressable markets. What is hidden may be part of their drive – conquering markets with accent on visibility, value and vision, not on factors that may invite scepticism or even scorn.

Now with the social media all pervasive, it has become easier for companies to get the marketing momentum going through their own staff. 

Essentially, they are a big bunch of forwards involving thought leadership blogs or whitepapers relevant to the solutions they offer. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are some of the media that come in handy for this execution. Unlike the other marketing engagements, these involve no extra spending.

A Multi-Pronged, Multidimensional Approach

But, go-to-market strategies involve a multi-pronged, multidimensional approach and usually what happens behind the scenes turn out to be deal clinchers. We have known them as sales enablement and sales operations professionals helping with revenue generation and contributing to the corporate bottomline.

It is sales empowerment all the way – with a combination of everything from pursuit excellence to price, profitability, performance, risk mitigation and brand protection!

CROs and Sales Information Officers

Not surprisingly, Chief Revenue Officers are now common in big establishments which also have bid management centres of excellence.

Bid Managers or Pursuit Managers (or Proposal Managers) are a core part of Sales Empowerment, helping customer-facing teams in multiple ways – pursuit strategies, competitive intelligence, risk assessment, credible value selling, professional writing and focused content supported by verifiable evidence.

The growing importance of APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals) is testament to the critical nature of the role.

Anyone imagining that bid management is all about pursuing stakeholders relentlessly for their inputs and lending some finishing touches with a little bit of embellishment that is making a travesty of sales enablement. Worse, they are making themselves susceptible to being swept away by the incessant flow of automation.

On the other side of the spectrum, the leadership will find it meaningful to give win-loss analyses a scrutiny and draw mileage from bid managers in crafting and executing a pursuit strategy that transcends traditional functional clichés.

If gatekeeping helps with risk management and protection of the corporate brand, bid qualification will ensure optimal utilisation of scarce resources.

Big-picture visualisation, going beyond dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, is another crucial facet of bid management. This encompasses conceptualising win themes and enabling customer-focused submissions. Amid the new-generation challenges businesses face in winning new deals, this assumes a dimension that cannot be discounted.

No Templated Approach, a Custom Bid Strategy is Vital: As I had argued in one of my earlier posts, a template approach to bid management amid a dynamic environment of technological evolutions only smacks of smug recklessness.

It is incumbent on both sales enablement personnel and businesses to move away from the ivory tower they cocoon themselves in and take real-word challenges in a manner that capitalises on the opportunities that new frontiers in technology are unleashing.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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