8 Takeaways from Today’s BPC Speakers

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This year’s Bid & Proposal Con is officially underway in Denver. Check out these highlights and takeaways from some of today’s conference speakers.

Session: Achieving Equanimity: From “Ummm” to “Ommm”

Presented by Lori Coffae, Ph.D., Director: Proposal Writing at SHI

Key Takeaway

“One of the most impactful practices for me — the one that has dramatically helped me find calm in the many storms I face as a proposal writer — is the RAIN method. This four-part exercise requires me to pause and get still. I recognize my feelings and emotions; allow myself to ‘hold them’; investigate and explore the emotions like they are temporary clouds floating by; and then nurture the feelings and myself without judgment. I sometimes have to do this exercise several times throughout the day, and it’s helped me understand my triggers and how to work through complicated relationships with colleagues and with my own behaviors.

“When we work as part of a team, especially under uncompromising deadlines and stress cycles, we are all bound to ‘lose our cool’ from time to time. But losing control can create detrimental obstacles within the proposal process and can adversely affect the product — the proposal itself — in tangible ways. The whole team suffers well after a proposal has been submitted, if even one person becomes reactive, hypersensitive or off-balance. Equanimity allows us to maintain centeredness and remain cool no matter what is happening around us. It also nurtures our brain activity so that we think and behave rationally and wisely. I like to think of it as floating peacefully in the ocean, no matter the size of the waves!”

Session: Demystifying Agile Proposal Management

Presented by Ashley Kayes, CP APMP, Director of Quality and Performance CoE at AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI)

Key Takeaway

“The biggest misconception about Agile proposal management is that implementing it would be a drastic change from how most teams are currently operating … Training your team is critical to the success of any process, whether it’s an Agile process or the process your company is currently using. If the team doesn’t understand the process, their roles and their expectations, then your probability of success will be low.”

Session: Speed Up Proposal Development with Microsoft Word Building Blocks

Presented by Jessica Davis, CF APMP, Proposal Manager at Kunz, Leigh & Associates (KL&A)

Key Takeaway

“You can build a custom ribbon for your building blocks to make them more accessible. You can organize your content any way you like.”

“Use the Navigation Pane (Ctrl + F) to quickly hop around in your document or drag and drop content to reorganize. With a right click, you can promote/demote headings; add headings; delete, select or print whole topics.”

Session: Behavioral Pricing: Using Science to Win

Presented by Randy Richter, Chairman at Richter & Company

Key Takeaway

“In theory, people always make buying decisions logically and rationally, but in practice, we use irrational processes and rules of thumb all the time. This is the underlying concept behind behavioral pricing, and when you develop your proposals, think about how people really make decisions, then frame your solution in a way that helps them pick you.”

Session: Bid Responsibly: Effectively Partnering with the Sales Team

Presented by Josh Ellars, Founder at Patri

Key Takeaway

“Invest the time to know how well or poorly your sales pros are performing against quotas. Listen in on forecast meetings and understand the state of your company’s pipeline health and potential gaps.”

Session: Help Your Color Team Reviewers Help You

Presented by Karin Olson Held, CP APMP, Senior Proposal Manager at Noridian Healthcare Solutions

Key Takeaway

“One of the biggest mistakes proposal managers can make when running reviews is not telling reviewers three key things: what the review purpose is, what type of feedback is helpful and how feedback will be used. Update your review kickoff materials to include just-in-time training for reviewers on the review purpose and what you’re looking for in their feedback.”

Session: Starting Early: How to Organize Your Team and Proposal Prior to the Draft RFP

Presented by Steve Hennessy, CP APMP, President at Hennessy Defense LLC

Key Takeaway

“Start early and focus on the strategic actions that are going to make the difference between winning and losing. A winning strategy is focused on the customer’s need, not what we have to sell. It directs specific campaign actions to change the playing field; it is not static. It gives the customer a differentiating choice among alternatives and captures the imagination with clear, quantifiable benefits.”

Session: Super Simple Slide Design

Presented by Mike Parkinson, Principal at 24 Hour Company

Key Takeaway

“Inspiration is everywhere. Use Google or Bing to find examples of slide designs you like. All designs can broken down into simple shapes and colors. If you are designing a slide or deck, ask yourself, “What’s my message?” Your message is a takeaway, headline, bumper sticker — whatever you want to call it. It must have a motivator (pain, gain or fear) and a means by which the audience will achieve the motivator (aka a benefit and feature).”

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