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For many organizations, streamlining the global proposal process outside of headquarters is often a daunting task. Misaligned expectations and differences in strategy are common challenges. When proposals involve a multinational team, these hurdles can be amplified. The following guidelines can help you apply your local proposal practices to an international project team, enabling you to better navigate global opportunities.
1. Time Zones
To create a more globally-focused proposal, always be cognizant of time zones in each region. When time zones are at play, target an early submission—even 24 hours early. Assuming an earlier deadline will enable the local representative to take another read through the proposal and submit it at the most ideal time. Some countries will expect quicker RFP turnaround times, which makes maximizing time zones even more vital. In those situations, proposal teams can opt for a hand-off process between locations, in which the team is always progressing the bid by seamlessly relaying and continuing the activity without losing focus on the deadline. It’s important to be flexible with times of conference calls, including late at night and on weekends. This relay approach can be a huge advantage, allowing the RFP to progress at any given time in the day. To successfully do this, you need collaboration tools, task management, and revision control.
2. Review Cycles
Within the project management plan (PMP), the proposal management team should specify deadlines, review timelines, and understand expectations. The detailed PMP outlines subject matter expert (SME) questions, notes action items, summarizes win strategies, and creates a deliverables checklist that aims to hold all parties accountable. During the strategy call with global teams, establish the method through which edits should be made and identify the key members expected to participate in the review cycle. Once these elements are established, all parties will be aware of the expectations regarding their respective local teams working with international team members.
If all the accurate information cannot be readily retrieved, consider a no-bid and get this information up to date as soon as possible. … Getting these details accurate has far-reaching implications on the potential contract that you put in place.
3. Understanding Involvement in the Proposal Process
Do you ever wonder who is really involved in the proposal process? Which members of the project team are essential in the completion of a seamless proposal? Each country may do things differently. Define the project team upfront, including who the team members are and what their roles are. Be aware of global offices that seldom receive RFPs—there may be a lack of experience and knowledge of whom to bring in and what information is best to use. Avoid confusion and “requirement creep” by getting all questions answered in the initial strategy call, which should be the first meeting set up between offices within the first five working days of the RFP being issued.
4. Updating and Owning Content
Registration numbers, annual revenue, turnover, tax practices, insurance certificates, local policies: all these can vary for each country. Something as simple as the company’s legal name may differ by the country in which you do business. If all the accurate information cannot be readily retrieved, consider a no-bid and get this information up to date as soon as possible. Further, consider establishing an ongoing content management plan for local content. Getting these details accurate has far-reaching implications on the potential contract that you put in place.
5. Local Stakeholders
Proposals should be sincere and have the feel of someone who is a local resident. It’s important to coordinate with international experts for each relevant market to add context, local market dynamics, and any behavioral and cultural nuances to make a response more thoughtful. Ensure local representatives read through the material to ensure it incorporates the local tone and manner of speech. For example, some countries may want the vendor to cut the fluff; other cultures might expect more sales language and background information.