If you still retrieve your bid approvals from your emails you are playing by fire.
“Can I get to see the deal approvals that were done few years ago for this account?” This simple-looking question by our area VP completely took us off guard. We were seeking approval for a new deal with an existing customer and had presented the case to him including the recent deal numbers. But we never anticipated he would like to go so much in detail. Turned out the bid pricing manager across those years had changed and so had the entire sales team. We had to make good with bits of information collected from old notes. Needless to say, we cut a sorry figure and the VP was disgruntled at not getting a complete view of all the transactions with this customer across years.
Many companies are responding to tens of bids every week. Multiple products, various service lines, corporate policies, and different solutions. Each with their own set of margin guidelines, corporate overheads, and approval processes. How do they manage their processes?
Pricebid recently polled professionals from B2B turn-key solutions/project providers (sales/bid/pre-sales) about their bid pricing & approval processes. When asked, how are bid approved in their organizations, over 81% responded that bid approvals are still done over voice calls and/or emails. Startling, isn’t it!
The speed of response, manual dependency, the multiplicity of teams, hundreds of bids - obviously make it a daunting task. Request iterations, Approver interventions, and time-bound submissions put enormous pressure. But don’t these same characteristics call for automation and systems?
Yes, but! The bid approval process also has some unique requirements which are not easy to automate e.g. flexibility in definition, change-ability, scenario creations, on-going discussion, etc. This makes the stakeholders continue using their age-old semi-automated ways. Some organisations have ventured and created custom applications but these have been few and far in between.
The after effects of the bids also remain unattended. The race to win and the focus on acquisition leaves organisations sapped of any energy to document and capture the details. Thus, struggling to leverage them when required later. If this data is captured in an automated and synchronized fashion immediately once the bid is decided, it will make the subsequent analysis and decisioning that much simpler and effective.
If applications can provide organizations the flexibility to dynamically design and alter their workflows, ease of use, point-n-click scenario building, discussion ability – it will bring in usability and adoption. With end-to-end deal data capture, organizations can also expect historical deal information across accounts, service lines, and years – discounting trends in an account across business units, growth/decline in bids YoY in a given territory, win:loss price trends by product or services. Intelligent insights which can significantly benefit their future bidding strategies.
Bid/sales teams same or not .. Never will one need to cut a sorry figure.
Comments and observations welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.