On January 17, Tom Searcy, CEO and Founder of Hunt Big Sales, will present the Webinar "RFPs Suck! How to Develop Winning Proposal Strategies." SMPS recently interviewed Tom about his interest in developing winning proposals, examples of firms applying the concepts discussed and winning more proposals, program takeaways for Webinar participants, and recent trends. Here's what he shared with us.
SMPS: What unique qualifications do you bring to this program and why are you passionate about this topic?
Searcy: Using the ideas and processes from RFPs Suck!, my clients and myself have landed almost $3.5 billion in new contracts that required participation in an RFP or similar process. These contracts were with all types of companies, government agencies, institutions, military, education, and private markets. In many cases, the company using our system and ideas was one of the smaller participants competing who won the project even though they were not the least expensive or the most well-known.
I am passionate about this topic because I believe that governance requirements, economic pressures, and globalization are causing a dramatic shift in the ways in which companies make buying decisions. Without strong strategies and approaches to winning in an RFP process, smaller and mid-sized companies are going to be relegated to little sales and slower growth. However, if they develop these skills now, they can win a disproportionate number of these competitive races and grow exponentially.
SMPS: In your research and experience with this topic, what is the most effective way you have seen a firm apply the concepts?
Searcy: There are lots of examples. In the construction industry, I have seen two smaller companies unseat very large incumbents for $50M+ opportunities in the health care industry and in an educational project respectively. In the military environment, a $25M company was able to land a 10 year, $300M contract against big competitors. Other companies find that they need to use this approach to compete for their own work that they have been providing to a client for 2-3 years and now, because of governance requirements of their client’s purchasing department, they are being put out to bid.
SMPS: What is the most important takeaway participants will gain from this program?
Searcy: Attendees of this program will learn:
• The 12 red-light signs that they should not waste time on a deal that they will lose
• The 10% rule for answering every RFP question
• How to think like the readers who matter of an RFP response
• How to win more RFPs on your first answer
SMPS: What's the most interesting trend you are following? How do you think this trend will impact professional services marketing and business development, especially in the design and building industry?
Searcy: The global trend towards aggressive governance enforcement and cost controls is absolutely dominating the vendor/supplier/partner selection process. The power pendulum has swung to the purchasing and procurement departments. This is not permanent, but it will be the most important influencing trend in sales of large contracts for the foreseeable future, say 3-5 years.
In the design and building industries, this financial focus is showing up in very aggressive auditing, construction management services oversight, and other “check and balance” types of systems. Buyers are focusing on not only their costs, but their ability to demonstrate objectivity, transparency, and control before, during, and after the project. There is a belief that this saves money and maybe that is true. What it is really doing is adding lots of additional steps to the buying, designing, and building processes that provide documentation as well as accountability.
To learn more, register today for “RFPs Suck! How to Develop Winning Proposal Strategies” on January 17, 2012, at 2:00 pm EDT, 1:00 pm CDT, Noon MDT, 11:00 am PDT.