Fully understanding a client’s needs is the basis of successful and winning bids, Dr Tom Sant told delegates at recent Conference of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) of South Africa.
Sant attributed poor results of an RFP or RFQ to not doing enough homework to fully understand the client’s business, the particular item, service or system requested and not comprehending the results the client wants.
The APMP, the South African Chapter of which is an affiliate of SmartProcurement, is the global representative body for the largely unknown but highly active group of people whose task it is to prepare, structure and write professional business and sales proposals.
There are seven basic elements to a professional business proposal:
– It must understand the clients need or problem. The client wants to know how the proposal will meet the requested need or solve the defined problem.
– A proposal is then structured to provide only the essential information required and not to be long-winded.
– The proposal must clearly define all the results that can be expected by the client.
– The client is really only interested in outcomes and the deliverables.
– All key points must be clear and simple to understand.
– The language must be understandable and not full of jargon.
– The final document must be factually and grammatically correct.
This places the responsibility on procurement departments to fully understand client or end-user needs and to ensure that the specifications of the RFQ are detailed enough for the bidder to meet the ultimate end-user need.
Delegates also heard from Andre Coetzee, MD of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Southern Africa, who took time to explain the challenges and complexities of the procurement function in supply chain management.
The Conference MC, B.J. Lownie from the U.S., congratulated the South African Chapter of the APMP for being ahead of their global colleagues by including the purchasing (or demand) side of their business with the proposal writing functionaries at their own conference.