Prompt, Strategic Opportunity Response Drives Growth
You probably recall a time when you failed to act quickly enough to take advantage of an opportunity.
We tend to realize missed opportunities after the fact. Everyone is so consumed with the tasks at hand that we don’t always recognize the full potential of a new opportunity when it appears. In today’s commoditized economy, urgently evaluating and responding to new opportunities with a value-based solution is a key growth.driver.
Having a process in place that helps you “perceive” opportunities and promptly act on them can ensure that you don’t miss a chance to discover a new customer or develop a novel concept that can grow your business. This process should include how to recognize a significant opportunity, how to evaluate it, and how to respond to it.
Not every opportunity is worthy of extra focus, so develop your process around a definition of what constitutes a substantial opportunity. Typical opportunity recognition triggers include:
- Key/Core customer inquiries regarding new products or services;
- Inquiries from targeted prospects; and
- Requests for proposals that exceed a certain dollar target.
Once identified as substantial, shift the evaluation of the opportunity out of the normal proposal development process into a focused, cross-functional response team. A senior business development executive should chair the team. The objectives for this group are to discover the customer goals/needs that are driving the opportunity and to identify unique competencies upon which to build a proposed solution that produces a financial and a competitive advantage for the customer.
Balancing the urgency of response with the necessity of learning and addressing customer goals can be challenging but it is essential. You get this one shot at establishing your position as partner rather than peddler. When you respond to a substantial opportunity by quoting without connecting your proposed solution to the achievement of customer goals, then you’ve lost your chance to productively differentiate your proposal from competitors…you’ve been commoditized.
Specify the customer’s current situation and goals in your proposal and describe how your solution produces strategic value for the customer. If the customer refuses to engage in a more comprehensive pre-proposal discovery dialogue, then you should reconsider if the opportunity is still worthy of your special attention.
How does your organization recognize substantial opportunities?
What process do you use to ensure that your response is value-based as well as urgent?