This is part seven of the Aidpreneur.com training on pipeline management for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. Improving your performance as an individual or organization in international development and humanitarian aid requires reflection. Specifically, when managing a pipeline, this means reflecting on your process, your successes and losses, and your personal or organizational goals. In this final section of this training, I’ll briefly touch on this incredibly important, but often overlooked, performance skill.One of the best things about tracking your fundraising or business development process is your ability to see what has been accomplished over a certain period of time. At ISG, while we look at our pipeline every single day, we also schedule specific time every quarter to understand our wins and losses and reaffirm or restate our organizational goals.There are a number of ways to review and analyze your wins and losses in the RFA, RFP and RFQ process. The most basic is to maintain and review your win/loss ratio. While very simple, this should provide you with a very clear indicator about your ability to win new business, and therefore the effectiveness of the process and strategy you’re currently using. If you find that your win-loss ratio is very small (for example less than 20% of the proposals you submit are selected by clients), it’s very much in your interest to pay attention to, or consider changing how you develop proposals and how you build or maintain relationships.
Another simple, but powerful, review indicator is the gross amount your business development process has acquired. This is obviously important as it will often be a critical determinant in the ongoing survival of your organization. It’s also important because it can be compared against your win-loss ratio to help you better understand where to place your time and energy.
For example, let me offer two scenarios: you may find that you have a very high winning percentage, but that these wins are of a very small dollar amount. In this case you’ll likely find that you or your firm has an incredibly high amount of activity in both proposal development and delivery. At the other end of the spectrum, you may find that you have a very low winning percentage but that the few bids you win are of a very high dollar amount. In this case it may seem like you have less activity, but perhaps what your firm is delivering is much more meaty or substantial projects.
Neither of these scenarios are “good” or “bad” – they just are. It’s your job as part of the leadership of an organization, or as individual practitioner, to determine what you’d like your modality to be and what’s most important to achieve the goals that you’ve articulated.
Before connecting our wins and losses to our organizational goals, I want to touch briefly on the importance of reviewing both wins and losses on a regular basis to continually improve your proposal development and pipeline management process. Again, this is something that’s often neglected in our business simply because of the amount of activity and work that needs to be done. But it’s incredibly important. By carefully looking at the proposals you’ve lost over a certain timeframe (again, ISG does this on a quarterly basis) you should be able to determine why those proposals were lost, and identify ways you can improve your future proposals. This may be anything from refining your financial bid to becoming much more sophisticated in your technical solution, and everything in between.
This is also why it’s very important for you to analyze the proposals you’ve won. This offers you an opportunity to determine what was different about those tenders you were successful with, in opposition to those that you lost. Also, with the work that you’ve won, you have the opportunity to discuss with your client why you were selected. While every tendering process is unique, understanding how this client operates and makes decisions should help you in replicating the success in the future and with other clients.
Finally, I want to return to the concept of reviewing your organizational personal goals in relation to pipeline management. As I discussed in an earlier section of this training, there may be many different reasons why you pursue new business development for fund-raising opportunities. It might be as simple as ensuring the sustainability of your organization, but you also might pursue the goal of supporting an initiative, growing your human resources or expanding your niche, as examples. When reviewing your pipeline, and your success, it’s important to keep these particular goals in mind to make sure that your understanding of the numbers is correctly aligned with the achievement of your goals.
For example, you may find that you’re winning a lot of work, but the bottom line of your company is not improving. If your only goal is to improve your bottom line, and ensure your sustainability, this is a major red flag and something that needs to be addressed. However, as I mentioned earlier, if your goal is to support an initiative, you may be willing to do that at a loss for your organization, and therefore in this situation you want to analyze and determine your success using a different metric or different lens. The nuance and complexity of not only creating organizational goals but then reviewing your progress towards those goals is a robust and complex topic. I hope you’ll have the opportunity to join me and others here at Aidpreneur as we dive into these topics in much more depth in other trainings, and other community events.
Thank you for watching Aidpreneur.com training on pipeline management for RFAs’ RFPs and RFQs. I hope you’ve found the information useful and hope to see you in other trainings and events in the near future. Remember, if you have any questions at all, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.