Tailoring Your Proposal To Your Client with Jennifer Hamaker CF APMP

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Pete Nicholls
Tailoring your proposal to your client

Episode Summary

Jennifer Hamaker CF APMP explains how tailored proposals can capture millions of dollars in new business. Join your host Pete Nicholls CF APMP as we explore Jennifer’s real stories of how she helps her clients to scale their workload and win better.

 

Discover the importance of Tailoring Your Proposal To Your Client

  • Understand why submitting an untailored bid is like sending a junk mail
  • The importance of the bid/no-bid process and tracking log
  • Hear how a client won millions of dollars in new business with tailored proposals

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Links to free tools, useful tips or offers for our listeners

About our guest

Jennifer-HamakerJennifer Hamaker is the Founder and President of Ameli Consulting, a professional consulting firm that provides Proposal, Marketing, and Business Development services. Ameli is named from the word ameliorate, which means improving and making better, which is at the core of Ameli's services and their ability to deliver above customer expectations. Jennifer has nearly 20 years of experience in producing winning proposals, is a certified Foundation Level Association of Proposal Management Professional, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree.

"Remember what happens with junk email. They trash it. They're going to do the exact same thing with your proposal response. Nobody wants to read 200 pages of boilerplate content. They want to read something that was written for them" - Jennifer Hamaker

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FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Pete

Hi, everyone. A very warm welcome to another edition of the proposal works podcast, where we talk with proposal experts who share real stories of how they win. I'm Pete Nichols, I'm coming to you from Copenhagen in Denmark, and I'm joined today by Jennifer Hamaker. Jennifer, a very good day to you. Where are you joining us from today?

Jennifer

Hi everybody. I'm Jennifer Hamaker. I'm from Nashville, Tennessee. So I'm in the Tennessee area today.

Pete

Nashville how's Nashville today.

Jennifer

It's wonderful. It's a good day out. Pretty warm. So it's May. So we're finally getting over the winter hub, so that's good.

Pete

So nice. So nice. For folks, if you haven't yet heard of Jennifer, Jennifer hammock is the founder and president of Ameli consulting, a professional consulting firm that provides proposal marketing and business development services.

Now. Ameli I understand is named from the word ameliorate, Jennifer, which means to improve and make better, which is at the core of Ameli services and your ability to deliver above customer expectations. Now, personally, I understand you have nearly 20 years of experience in producing winning proposals.

Personally, I hate doing proposals, honestly, and you've been doing it for 20 years, so hats off to you. You're a foundation certified member of the association of proposal management professionals. And you hold a bachelor of science degree. So the title for our show today is tailoring your proposal to your client.

We have seven questions that I'll be asking. Let's unpack the real story. So let's start with question one. Jennifer, who is your ideal client, and what do they truly want?

Jennifer

So our ideal client is really just someone that wants to win more business. This usually includes proposals, so RFPs, RFI, RFQ, those types of procurement responses.

We help them to win more business through those responses.

Pete

Perfect. Thank you. Question two then is the problems. So I'm sure that doesn't always go smoothly. What are the problems that they normally face and what does that look like?

Jennifer

So definitely time is usually the biggest problem, right? Because proposals can come in a number of different formats and directions and deadlines.

I mean, I've seen everything from two weeks to two months to two days. And so time is usually a big issue. The other issue is the ability to tailor, which obviously is often affected by the time that you have to even complete the proposal response. So both of those factors usually come into play, you know, working against the client in order to produce the tailored response that really helps them win.

Pete

Yeah. I imagine those things work against each other then you have a deadline, and you want to tailor this thing to make it personalized, but you just haven't got the luxury of time. So that leads us well into question three really is what are the mistakes that people make and the things that they try also that just don't work out.

Jennifer

Yeah. So really overtaxing the proposal managers, I think is often a key mistake because obviously, you know, your business development, your salespeople, they really just want to win. Right. And so they want to say yes to everything. Well, when it comes to RFPs, you don't necessarily have, you know, the time to respond to every single procurement.

So you do, I think, need to be more selective in what proposals you actually respond to. And what you want to really go after. And do you have, you know, a capture effort underway? Do you know the client, are you responding blindly to this RFP? And they're not even going to expect a response from your company.

So you really have to look at which opportunities are best to respond to, that you have the highest chance of winning. And then tailor and focus your RFP responses towards those particular procurements, not every single procurement. And that really helps avoid overtaxing your population.

Pete

That sounds like that would be quite challenging to have a client not want to respond to everything that they see in front of them.

Jennifer

Yes, it is definitely a challenge. Um, But if you trim it to the ones where you are confident like you're definitely going to win, like this is going to work out then your, even your proposal staff, or more excited to tailor. Right. Um, they're more excited to make this a winner too. And by the way, that kind of tales on the reason why we're called Ameli consulting at my company is after the word Amelia rate which means to improve or to make better. And that's what we're all focused on is what can we do in this response right now, uh, to make it the most powerful, most winning response we've ever seen before. When that, uh, proposal person, you know, that's receiving all of those responses, opens your company's proposal up against all the other competitors.

What is going to make their mind go? Wow, this one, I've got to talk to them more that there's something about this proposal and the way it's tailored that makes me think, you know, I've got to at least make these guys the finalist. So I'm a big fan of the proposal response itself won't. Make you win, right? Because pricing and other things are outside of our control. But if you have a really powerful, tailored response, they're going to at least send you to the finalist round and you're going to make it to that, you know, best and final offer period.

Pete

I'm glad you describe it that way, Jennifer, because I think we're really getting into the realm of where a proposal that has been prepared, prepared with a professional who knows how to properly make a tailored proposal, stand out versus everyone else who's maybe kind of making it up as they go, you know, what do I put in this proposal? I'll respond to the RFP, but how do you make it stand out? So. That's a perfect lead into question four without disclosing the kind of sensitive customer situations that I'm sure are there, what's a real-life example of where and how you've helped.

Jennifer

Yeah, so actually one of our clients is a healthcare technology firm. And that particular company had contacted us when unfortunately their proposal person had just put in their two-week notice. Um, they had, yeah, it's a, it's a tough situation. I had one, uh, proposal person doing all of their RFP. So there was no team.

And that person was very overtaxed and overworked. And when they put their notice in an RFP that they had actually been going after and doing a lot of capture work on, had finally dropped and they had no one to write the response. Um, so they called us in, we came in and of course, we took care of that immediate need, but we also took a step back once that one was submitted and put in a bid, no bid decision tree.

Um, so I actually brought in some, some rational steps to help them decide which ones they should go after, rather than everything, things like a bid, no bid decision tree, having a standardized process for how things are done, um, and your review periods and things like that. It not only helps keep the flow going in a very succinct manner but it also makes sure again, that you're not grasping at straws. Right. And trying to bid everything. There's a rational process to it. There's that bid no-bid process and then once it's a go, there's a process for the response and. Having those things in place, uh, it really helps button up the entire response effort instead of a let's just fit it.

And, and that was, you know, the case that they were in. Unfortunately, they did lose someone, but they're in really good shape now. And we do still help them from an augment perspective too, you know when their proposal staff gets taxed again.

Pete

It really sounds like, uh, the fact that you needed to put a bid, no bid decision tree in place and the existing single proposal person was really just flat out trying to keep up.

Do you recall with the proposal that you then came in and helped that I had two weeks notice of, uh, how did that go? Do you remember?

Jennifer

So it actually went fairly well, once we were able to dive in. You know, clearly they let us kind of, you know, take control of the management of the effort and the response itself.

And once we were able to do that and get a good schedule in place for the, you know, the remaining time that we had left on the response, we were able to get a good response out the door. Um, there wasn't an extension on that one, you know, as is often the case and that's okay. But we still were able to get a really powerful response out the door and, uh, tailor it.

And that's the important thing actually. Taking a look at the RFP and saying, what does this client want? What are they getting at that they want? And how can I tailor my solution to them? In fact, a lot of times, like, you know, companies say, you know, well, some things are just going to be bowler plate, right?

Like my company background, what does my company do? That? That's just going to be a boilerplate plate answer. Well, I'm a big fan of, no, that's not true, right? Because let, let's say your company does government solutions and commercial solutions. Well, then you're going to want to, in your response, when you talk about your company, talk about all the government stuff that you do first if it's a government procurement, and then wait until the second, third, fourth paragraph to talk about commercial stuff.

So even something that looks basic can be tailored. Now, I mean, certain things like when was your company founded? I mean, that's going to be the same answer, but outside of that, I mean, it's going to be a tailored response and you have to take that approach to every single question. They're asking it for a reason.

These people don't want to just read for the sake of reading. And so they're really asking these questions for a purpose, and you've got to convince them of why it's your company that should be awarded nobody else.

Pete

How important is that is not one of my seven questions. It's just it's, it's such an interesting aspect here.

How important is the tailoring part to your comment earlier, Jennifer, about making it pop?

Jennifer

Yeah, absolutely. It is definitely, I would say one of the most important, and I always use this analogy, which I think is as helpful for people to really get it. Um, we've all seen a junk email, right? And you, you open up the junk email and it says.

Hi, Jennifer Hamaker. I hope you're having a great day today at Ameli consulting or, you know, whatever it says that looks tailored. And then you quickly go past those first two lines and you quickly realize, wait a minute, this entire thing is a hundred percent boilerplate. Well, what are my odds of truly fully reading the rest of that email then?They, you know, it's a zero, right. And I quickly trash it, you know, throw it away, even though it kind of looked tailored. So I always put a big warning sign to people when they're doing the same thing. If they have a standard letter template, which a lot of companies do out there that just has a little marker for client name to go here.

And a lot of people prepare their libraries on, in the same way with these little client markers. Remember that the client is going to catch up on that in two seconds when they read it, they're going to see that you just simply replaced their name and that's it. So your letter should be a blank letter template.

Your executive summary should be blank. It should be something that's freshly written with every single RFP response. And then the same thing when it comes to a library, have a library, a library is a really great resource, but remember, that's your initial content to work from? It's not the answer.

It's just the initial content. And I think, taking that approach and really thinking through it like that. Remember what happens with junk email. They trash it. They're going to do the exact same thing with your proposal response. Nobody wants to read 200 pages of boilerplate content. They want to read something that was written for them.

Pete

You almost feel your heart sink a little bit where you see the message start and you think, Hey, this is written to me. And then I realize, no, it's not written to me. And a little bit sad, and right, in the bin.

Take you off. I'll unsubscribe to the mailing list. Uh, yeah. Perfect. I haven't heard that analogy of the junk email. It just makes so much sense. And, uh, And because you see that so often a personalized email pops. So the RFP to be tailored. Yeah. I love it. Same thing. Okay. That's a great, real example. And the tailoring there, which you need the extra time to put into the bid.

No bid tree makes sense too. That's great. Um, I'd like to then, uh, with question five, Jennifer is, um, talk more about the challenges because you've been at this for 20 years. And I imagine there's been some quite tough times working with clients or deadlines, all of these competing things. Can you share with us some challenges that you've personally faced along the way and what you've learned from that?

Jennifer

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, life's full of challenges and, and, you know, high demands and all of that stuff, especially in the work environment and I it's been no different for me in proposals. I've learned with people in the RFP world uh, some people love it and some people hate it, and they're like, how in the world, can you do this? Um, you know, for a living, but it is at the end of the day, rewarding, you know,  one of the biggest challenges often again, is time and having the ability to just handle the load. Some seasons, you know, some companies are seasonal in that they get really slammed in the summer or the spring or the fall.

And staying, you know, with a heavy, you know, good mindset when you're faced with 20, 30 RFPs on your plate at the same time across your team is quite daunting. But again, staying grounded to why you're doing what you're doing and what is the ultimate purpose. It is to win more business. And as for us, as a proposal people just winning that right there was worth all the long nights. It was worth all the weekends. It was worth the big headache, right? Because we often have that, you know, when it comes to RFPs and I will say too, one thing for me personally, is the risky chances in life and, and I can't, you know, go away from this question without mentioning that I was an FTE for years. And I was a proposal manager that built up teams. And I did this many, many times over and many clients asked for my help and supported them on what they could do. You know, to get additional RFP assistance or what have you and I'm always a yes person. And so I said yes to pretty much every opportunity.

And then I quickly realized, Hey, wait a minute. I'm spending all my nights and weekends helping these clients, you know, it's a big risk to go away from the FTE world and walk away from a full-time job and start my own business. But I did take that risk years ago and it has certainly paid out. And now, not only am I able to help, you know, a single company that I was in as an FTE.

But we can help multiple companies all across the world and that was a huge risk that I took, but with a huge payout and likewise, I would say for companies, it's the same thing. Remember going back to what I said earlier on RFPs, and you don't want to go after every single opportunity, maybe you truly just want as a company to focus on one single opportunity.

It's a big risk, right? To do that. And to not just be everything. But that risk may result in a huge payout, because if you have a big capture process if it's a tailored response, all of those things are in place because you have the time. Then you're going to walk away, able to win work. That could be several hundred million dollars.

That is a big payout, and that was worth it.

Pete

Wow. So being a full-time employee as a proposal writer where you must have had 20, 30 proposals on your plate and, uh, by the sound of it, probably not, uh, a lot of choices or the fact that you had that much on your plate at the time, if you think back to how much say did you have in a bid, no-bid process, as you recall when you were employed,

Jennifer

Yeah, it's tough, especially from the proposal perspective, because we don't have, you know, the sales quota hanging over our head. Right. So we can definitely speak up in opportunities and different meetings and stuff like that, going over bid no bid. But at the end of the day, most people often find it's the salesperson or whomever the executive is at their company that has the final say. I think the US has proposal people should be empowered to speak up and say, we just don't have enough time on this one.

Remember they're not writing it. They're not putting the whole thing together, we are. And we know that right. So. If we see that it's got a one-week turnaround, right? Um, and questions are due by five o'clock the same day. We have to recognize that there's just physically no time to respond to this, or at least say, look, if we want to respond to this, then we need to now no-bid these other four opportunities we're already working on because there has to be a level of reasonableness, you know, against the effort.

If all I have to do is respond to everything, uh, and we never know anything, then yes, I've got to use boilerplate. I had no choice. I have no choice because I've got to meet the deadline and salespeople need to realize that that's just not going to be an effective strategy to win more business. Right?

Pete

Yeah. Did you find the magic phrase when you were employed, um, of something that allowed maybe the sales reps with the high-pressure quota that they're carrying or the sales manager, where you actually were able to get them to stop and consider? Don't just run at everything. What worked for you?

Jennifer

Absolutely. So I would say on an individual RFP level, one thing that works really well apart from the bid, no bid decision tree, because that also is a great tool is to actually just quickly create a schedule for that particular opportunity that you think should probably be a no-bid because of time.

Because the moment the sales rep realizes they have to get references, they have to get you executive summary content that they have to get all of their stuff to you. Wait a minute, like within the next day or the next two days, even they're going to be more apt to go, Whoa guys. I mean, there's no way we can do this.

Also, another thing is, is bringing other people in the fold into the call. Don't make it a call just between you and the sales rep, make it a call between you, the sales rep, um, the people that do the pricing at your company, the people that do, you know, the other key SMEEs at your company for whatever you're pitching.

Um, those people will also have a big voice because they have to stop what they're doing also, right. Um, to give you content and, and to help respond to the procurement. So having that backup on the line, I think is also a really good thing. Another good thing that you've got to do as a proposal person is keeping a tracking log, whether that's in Salesforce or some of their CMC CRM, or whether that may be an Excel spreadsheet, like an old school way, um, whatever works for you, keep track of every single RFP you're working on and your win-loss rate.

Because if you can be reflective on a quarterly basis of here's how many proposals we sent out the door, here's how many we won or lost and why did we win or lose them? I think it's an eye-opening experience of, okay, well, wait a minute. Maybe we should back up a little bit and just focus on a couple of opportunities.

Not every opportunity.

Pete

Yeah. Fantastic. Have you indicated in your logs, the level of tailoring, maybe? So you can spot which ones you had the time to work on? Which ones were just belted out the door?

Jennifer

Absolutely. Yes. Yes. So in the response, we had, or not in the response, but in the log we have, when we got through the RFP, when the RFP was released, which is always very funny because sometimes the salesperson sits on it accidentally for two weeks and then sends it to us. Um, so we had the release state when we received a date, the date it was submitted, and the result of an automatic calculation in our spreadsheet that calculates how many business days we truly had to work on it. And then in the comments, we put how much we had the ability to tailor that response. And when you can do that, and then you can run reports off that information it is very, very powerful in, you know, learning on what we'd better open in the future.

Pete

Great. So it sounds like that's something that you put in place with clients as well. Do you? In addition to the bid, no bid decision tree, it's like, where's your log.

Jennifer

That is exactly right. Every single one of our clients has an RFP log and we take a quarterly kind of effort. Um, we like to do it quarterly, cause it's not too taxing. It's, you know, four times a year, that's it. But we actually have a meeting that we tend to do with each of our clients on a quarterly basis to just sit down with them, go over all the opportunities that we have done to date within that quarter, and you know, what, what went right? What went wrong? What we probably should have not bid on and those kinds of insights, let people go, wait a minute let's think more on that next opportunity. And it really has to be able to pause the next time we get something in-house. We've seen it to be very, very effective. Um, and we've actually won our clients some really, really cool work. Um, we had one client in particular that won a huge state bid. Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.

They put everything else to the side. We did not get anything else. And we literally just helped their proposal team get this one submission out the door and they won it. But again, that was a combination of great capture effort. The most powerful response we'd ever put together. It not only looked aesthetically beautiful, but it read like a work of art and when you can do that, that client sees that and goes. Oh, my goodness. These guys are great. These guys get what's, what's going, you know, what's going on with me and why I need their help. Um, and so they won that procurement. It's really, really rewarding when that happens.

Pete

Wow. I can imagine that that must have really stood out amongst all of the other boilerplate responses forward in, uh, yeah. Wow. Well, that really backs up that kind of less is more really getting behind that proposal to make it pop that's right.

Jennifer

That's right.

Pete

You went from being a full-time employee into setting up Ameli com consulting. And, uh, how long ago was that? Jennifer? You made that change.

Jennifer

So that was back in 2017, um, which time definitely flies. Um, so we've been in business for several years now and we now help several clients all across the world. We actually got our first Canadian clients, uh, several months back. So that was pretty cool. That was good. It was great. And so we help clients from all different industries. Everything from, um, construction and design-build procurements to environmental RFPs, to healthcare, healthcare payer, healthcare technology, healthcare provider, and even just IT companies.

So we help a lot of IT companies. And then we're also in the energy sector, oil and gas. Uh, so we tend to have our foothold in just about everything, which is it's great because it's exciting. I always say that it sounds silly, but an RFP really is like opening a Christmas present. You have no clue what's in it. Um, it can either be something you love and are excited about, or it could be something that you're like, Oh Lord, this is going to be, you know, a bit of a nightmare, but I can do it. So it is, you know, just like opening a new present and, uh, it's, it's a fun experience every time. And when you're a consultant and you help so many different types of clients in so many different industries, it also makes it even that more exciting. Cause we never had the same week, two weeks, you know, twice, you know, ever.

Pete

Wow. I think I'm getting some insight here as to why even though you managed to leave the full-time profession doing this and then chose to make it your life as your business as well. So my next question is what is it about what you do that you find most fulfilling?

Jennifer

Yeah, so definitely, um, winning the client's new business, I would say is just the top. Because you know, they're paying us right to, to help them and come in and help them. And I, when we don't win the work, it’s just too sad and you know about it as they are. Right. Um, but when they win the business, especially if it's a small to medium-sized business that, you know, a 30 million dollar win is huge for their company, that is the most rewarding thing ever.

And to see them, you know, hire 50 new employees because of the work you won. Open a new office in a totally different city because of the work you won. And when we've seen clients, literally just transform from a small client to a medium, to a large client just in winning them more business. And it is very exciting to see.

And then the same thing goes with our federal clients. So we have some clients that, you know, do DOD work or army work. Well, one contract could literally mean the make or break of the company. It could mean they are laying off people, if they don't get the recompete or it could mean, you know, expanding their business even bigger.

And so when we, when those, you know, it works for them as well, it is phenomenal and it's so rewarding and it's a great party that we can all be a part of. And that keeps me going, it keeps our team going at Ameli. It keeps all of us going every single day.

Pete

Wow, that's inspiring. Um, because of the change that you're making. And so what intrigues me about how you first get to be engaged with a company like that. So all those examples that you were recalling there, and I can see it, you know, people probably can't see your face, unless we put this to video, the passion that you have for this. What is it that happened in those firms that allowed you to come in and, and help them?

Jennifer

Yeah. So every firm has a different story, which is always interesting too. Some firms have a crazy story. Like the one I mentioned earlier if someone puts in their two weeks notice and then they have nobody. Other companies have an established team, but they're not winning a lot of work and they don't know why they're not winning a lot of work.

Like, Oh, we haven't seen, we're responding to tons of stuff and we don't win anything. Why is that? So having us come in, I think is always, it's a good thing because we're coming in from a completely neutral perspective, right. We don't have insight into day-to-day politics, right? That often goes on in companies.

And so we're coming in from a neutral perspective, able to just go in and see what is going on, why are they not winning more work? Is it a tailoring issue? Is it a timing taxing issue? So are they, you know, just saying yes to everything, you know, and not really thinking through things. Is it a lack of participation issues or are they not managing the process effectively?

Are they not engaging sMEEs effectively and in sales staff? So where is the gap? And then sometimes it's just a flat-out resource issue. Like they just simply have not enough FTEs to get the job done and everyone's overworked and overburdened. So having us come in, uh, from a neutral perspective, either to help you figure out why you're not winning. Or help you to win the ones you want to win. So we have other clients, let's say for example, that have a good proposal team, they have a good process in place and whatnot, but they have this one opportunity that they know is going to be a make or break for the company. When those kinds of things happen, they like to bring us in and we sit down with them and we go through the opportunity. We do a SWOT analysis. We do theme analysis, we do all of those kinds of things to see what we can do to make this response the most powerful that's ever gone out the door. And when you have someone coming in from a neutral perspective, you know, like us in Ameli. We're able to bring that more than someone that's, you know, just seeing the exact same RFPs and seeing the exact same, you know, company stuff for years and years and years.

Pete

Yeah. It might be tied up in some of the politics of how things are normally done there. You can come in and say, well, let's clean the slate and it must be quite eye-opening for a company. If they haven't hired a professional proposal writer certified to, to come in as you Jennifer. And, uh, and to experience the difference of running a professional, large bid response.

So let's, uh, as we wrap up, then I'd love it if you could think, cause you've shared so many tips here, what would we leave our listeners with of a valuable tip or resource that they could take away and use right away today?

Jennifer

Yeah. So I would say kind of the main tip that I would definitely tell people to implement if they haven't already, uh, would be a proposal library.

Many of us in the proposal world, I've heard of our proposal library. Some of us have them in place. Some of us don't have them in place. Having a proposal library is a good tool and there are tons of solutions out there. There's Covidien, there's chorus. There are P maps that I think were actually recently bought out by another company.

So there are lots of different tools out there. And then there's the good old fall folder structure. If you feel you want it to be a little bit more old school, right? While a proposal library can be great because it can enable you to quickly find an answer. For example, you know, what does your company do?

I mean, that's pretty much in every RFP, right? So having the ability to quickly go somewhere to one place, do a quick search through a search engine, find content, uh, to populate into the response. It can help, you know, populate that response fairly quickly, especially remember if time is not on your side and you know, how much time.

That being said, though, I always heavily caution people because let's think about it. What is that RFP library made up of? It's made up of answers to another client's RFP, right? It's not, it's not an answer to your RFP, to your particular new client's needs or wants, or what they put in their RFP. It's an old answer, to some other procurement.

So you have to keep that in mind because remember, if all you do is just swap out the client name, they're going to know you, you boilerplate that, and that you didn't really tailor that answer. So a library is helpful, but only helpful if it's your base answer, it's not the answer. It's just your base.

And if you treat it like that and make sure that every single answer you paste it in, but then right above it, you think through, look at that as a guide book but write a fresh response, that evaluator is going to feel it and see it. Right. They're going to know that, that wasn't a boilerplate answer,

Pete

right. Drawing on those previous proposals and if you haven't today, you got the budget to put in a Chorus or Qvidian. And, um, one of the commercial solutions to solve that, is there anything that you could do as a quick tip if you've just gotten Google drive or something, how would you start putting a library together that isn't going to shock someone like Jennifer, when they come in and say, what were you thinking?

What would your tip be for that?

Jennifer

There are two big tips. Um, because you're right. Many companies are very small and they might not even have a proposal budget. And oftentimes us in the proposal world, trying to convince someone that we need this several thousand dollar libraries is hard when they don't, they don't write the RFPs we do. Right. And somehow the work gets out the door anyway without a library. So they don't really see the value. So when it comes to things like that, I think one, the immediate thing you could do now, Before even starting a file folder or one drive structure is making sure that the tracking log that you have is sorted or sortable by type or genre of what your company pitches.

So, for example, let's say your company is an IT company that has 10 products or solutions. Make sure that that tracking log that you have, right, where you're tracking your win rate and stuff has a dropdown selection box of what the product was that you pitched in that RFP. Right? And maybe it has another column of secondary products.

So that way, when you have an RFP that drops for that same product, you can quickly go to Excel, filter it by that product and quickly find without too much digging, what are the last two or three procurements you sent out the door for that exact same product. That way, at least at a very bare minimum, you can quickly pull up those two or three that you submitted last time on the same product. That is kind of an immediate cure, kind of your next step would definitely be to take your file folder, structure, whatever that looks like at your company, whether you use a box or one drive or whatever, and go ahead and just create individual folders for each product or solution or whatever your company does.

Even if your company is like a consulting company, some sort of services company, well, there are different types of services, right? So, having a folder structure like that also is helpful. And then you can just take a good old word doc, and go ahead and just paste in Q&A pairs, kill the client name, just put like the little markers in of, you know, client name and that way again, the bare minimum you've got something you can quickly pull up and search into to find an answer. Also, if you think about it, you're kind of already prepping, right? You're kind of already prepping your file drive to be library, you know, friendly. So when you have the budget and you can purchase, you know, uh, Qvidian or other types of tool, you've already got Q&A pairs set up in this file drive, and that's going to really help you when you stand up your library, uh, when you finally get the approval on the budget, because those companies that do the proposal libraries, they're going to want to see all of your content and load your content. And you're already doing that work by, by getting that started.

Pete

Yeah. And avoiding that massive, uh, forklift reworking of, uh, just a bucket load of stuff where like people will go to their accountant with shoeboxes full of receipts.

It's like, you don't want to be that guy with a shoebox full of proposals. So. Fantastic tips there. Uh, it's been a pleasure tapping into your 20 years of experience, Jennifer, and also the passion that you have for winning with the client and the change that you bring into their organizations. So, Jennifer, it's been an absolute pleasure.

Thank you so much for your time.

Jennifer

Thank you. I appreciate it, Pete. It's great talking to you today.

Pete

I'll see you soon. Thank you. Bye-bye.

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