Collaboration Key for Strong Win Rate
Metrics and numbers can be mind-numbing, serving a limited purpose. A reliable gauge on the state of the business, they can offer us some perspectives on one set of trends during one fiscal quarter and another, possibly the opposite, during the next. So, while they give us a good grip on the company’s quarterly performance it will be imprudent to use only them as the basis for evolving any market strategies or win themes.
That brings up the importance of wins spanning multiple areas – they obviously add to the corporate bottomline (unless they are loss-making deals for a reason!), prevent losing out to competition on bids, boost team morale and, of course, yield monetary incentives to sales managers.
For sales enablement teams such as those in bid management, finance and legal, the outcome of a win is motivation and a sense of professional fulfilment.
Oracle Charm Offensive and More
Can Sales win alone? Sales managers may not be in such a solo-effort state of delusion though their accounts can give them some ivory tower comfort.
The reality is wins crystallise when there is ensemble-like harmony among all stakeholders in the conception and execution of pursuit strategies.
Lone rangers can strike in countries where unethical business practices rule! Even countries that have an abiding faith in ethics, compliance and fair play do occasionally succumb to the evil.
Even Singapore was not immune to it as an instance five years ago showed. A Sales Manager with Oracle then had to suffer the ignominy of being charged in court with using her charm offensive and more to win deals. Media glare followed. Even the Oracle MD was not spared – he was hauled to court for questioning.
In some instances, the proximity of sales teams to decision-makers at companies they pursue may lead to wins. Even there, deals could not have reached a contractual closure without the support of sales enablement teams.
Big-Picture Visualisation and Custom Proposals for Strong Win Rate
A strong win rate is crucial for both businesses and bid managers. This can only be achieved with stringent bid qualification, not by any eat-all-you-can approach.
This is an era of AI and blended AI, combining automation and human engagement. Mundane tasks can be left to the machines while minimising use of boilerplate. Any cut-and-paste hint is a recipe for elimination from the bid process.
The key to winning lies in a variety of parameters – customer-centricity, big-picture visualisation, clear win themes, and custom proposals without a tactical, check-in-the-box approach.
Wins are not the result of some lucky charm, they are the result of a well-planned and scrupulously executed pursuit strategy.
Proposals are Often Included in Contracts
Also, it is a fallacy to assume that wins are merely the result of solution demos and intense negotiations that happen after proposal submission. There is no doubt they play a crucial role with solution consultants having to ensure that demos do not become demons.
Let us, nonetheless, not forget that almost every RFP spells out that the proposal will form part of the contract. The submitted proposal carries with it a make-or-break dynamic. If we do not get it right, there is a risk of things going haywire even after contract award. Customers can hold vendors accountable for any wild commitments made in the proposal that could cost them big bucks and affect deal profitability.
Bid managers are almost always involved in the full pursuit cycle. Where companies own the contractual relationships with customers, that is, those bidding direct, they are involved in every stage of the process until a winning project transitions to the implementation team.
Bid teams are often a frazzled lot – how they deliver value to the business lies in their readiness to break role barriers and embrace meaningful engagement for all-round success.
G Joslin Vethakumar