RFP’s – To Bid Or Not to Bid? – That is the Question.
Amlan Gupta, VP Operations & Co-Founder
Bidding on an RFP costs a lot of money, takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Frankly the real decision is between two things:
Do we take a chance, expend the effort and potentially lose the bid, and our time?
Do we save the time and resources and guarantee we cannot get the revenue?
Now the process begins — do you bid or not? Do you have the personnel to do this bid? Do you have the prerequisite demonstrated requirements on your bench or in your ATS, and in completed projects or contracts? If not, will you have to recruit talent? These questions and many more, need to be answered before you can make an educated decision.
There has been a lot written on the topic of Bid/ No Bid. The truth is everyone does it differently. If you Google it, you can find pages filled with diverse methodologies, systems, processes and theories. The common denominators are all mediocre.
I was genuinely surprised, after all, RFPs are large complex documents requiring great attention to detail and years of practical experience to understand. It would take hours upon hours of effort to come to a conclusion to spend the weeks of effort and tens of thousands of dollars to produce a bid. And no one does Bid/No Bid well enough to be a household name. There are simply no Google or Kleenex’s in the Bid/No Bid process.
What did I learn from all that reading on Google and my years of business experience?
Deconstructing requirements is part art, part science. The tools used to understand procurement criteria range from rambling spreadsheets to complex methodologies and there are numerous software products that claim to expertly extract requirements from RFPs. But do they really?
So even after you understand the requirements, who knows where every resume of every consultant is? Can you find the projects your company has completed? Can you find every project your consultants did before they worked for you?
There are two traditional methods of tackling Bid/ No Bid and a third you may not have heard of (yet):
- You can use your present methodology, and spread sheets that track requirements for you to fill in by hand. That’s if you can find your content. Or maybe you compiled a library of Questions and Answers. But libraries of Q&A never live up to their promise. You still can’t find anything.
- You can automate some of your process. You can rely on existing RFP tools, these systems still rely on tagging your content and, guess what, content isn’t linear, and it is high risk as it’s based on human input.
- Take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The use of AI inside a SaaS platform that learns and becomes smarter every time you use your content. It finds all the requirements, completes the matrices for people and projects, and it’s available for review immediately. The Bid/No Bid decision will be obvious — and with less time!