Ben Harris, Vice President Client Innovation

The quota carrying salesperson and the crush of capacity.

In any role I’ve ever been in, be it technology, consulting, automotive, transportation or otherwise; there has always been a quota. Let’s face it, as a Business Development rep it’s your job to develop business. You are hired to sell a product/service and make your targets, for which you are accountable to as per your terms of employment. As natural hungry go-getters, we suit up every morning with the desire to head out there and rip the world in half with our tenacity and desire to succeed; however sometimes, that’s just not enough.

Have you ever had an inventory issue? There is demand for your product, you have spent the time building the relationships and demonstrating the value of your business proposition only to be thwarted by something (that could conceivably be) far out of your control? What does that do to your funnel and all the effort put forward into identifying, working and closing this new business? Significant delays could cost you a good quarter or year, or worse, the sale in its entirety. Has anyone ever had a sales manager who lowered your personal quota to accommodate for these shortfalls? Me neither.

When your business is contingent on the successful completion and award of a bid or RFP,

this is called capacity; and it’s a killer.

When your business is contingent on the successful completion and award of a bid or RFP, this is called capacity; and it’s a killer. Using the example of Consulting Services (a field I know well), you have a sales team of 5 to 8, 3 to 4 recruiters and a proposal response team of 2 to 3 (we’re looking at a large firm example as the numbers do vary); only so much work can be done at any one time.

  • Sales, naturally, wants to bid as much as they can, and why not? The more bid responses you have out there the better your odds are of closing one; simple law of averages.
  • Recruiters are always swamped with everyone’s request to simply find “the chicken with lips”. How hard can that be? Multiply that by 8 possible reps, every day.
  • Proposal response staff are the most important in this process, yet often find themselves at the bottom of the pile. They project manage the bid, assemble the bid, write the bid, QA the bid, etc.

Sales has a natural bias to bidding as much as possible. 

As a lifelong Business Development guy, I feel a natural bias to bidding as much as possible. Having also worn the manager’s hat, I can also understand that your team can only do so much.

  • The sales rep is now in a position where they need to be in front of every possible deal in order to “sell” it to the team as being worth bidding. No team buy in and you could be sunk by your own company before you even start!
  • Recruiters can only find so many resources and work so many hours. Couple that with the effort involved in a public sector bid (the dreaded grids!!) and it can take days of effort to move the bid out the door with no guarantee that it will win.
  • Assuming there are 8 sales reps, each of them are going to want to get their own bids out the door, so the capacity of the team is tight to the point where it’s virtually locked. The reps are looking for opportunity that the back office, despite best efforts, just can’t deliver on.

When you don’t make your plan and miss target, try telling your manager it’s the proposal and recruiter teams fault; that should make you very popular. Let me know how it goes.

Simple truth: the more compliant, compelling and competitive bids you can get out the door the higher your odds of winning are. 

Simple truth is this, sales is a numbers game. The more compliant, compelling and competitive bids you can get out the door the higher your odds of winning are; to this there can be no dispute. Fact is that human beings can only work for so hard and so long, thus the need to have controls in place to ensure that you are only bidding what your capacity can allow. With that, what if your capacity does not fall in line with your growth strategy? You can’t win what you can’t bid, and that is the bottom line.

reDock leverages Artificial Intelligence to scale your proposal practice faster, all while keeping your look and feel and making all your corporate content reusable and meaningful.


  • Moving through a bid/no bid decision in half the time.
  • Being presented with candidates before it even goes to recruiting (yup…it can do that).
  • Your proposal writer actual having time to write meaningful content as opposed to building grids and copy/pasting boilerplate material.
  • Being able to locate and reuse corporate references without hunting everywhere and eventually re-writing them.
  • Bidding more opportunities than you ever thought possible.

reDock isn’t a resume tool; it’s a proposal supercharger, revenue generating secret weapon.

The time to think.

The freedom to refine.

The data to win.

When you can change the teams’ conversation from “why should we bid this?” to “why aren’t we bidding this?”, everybody wins.

Hit plan, have fun.