| Case Studies

Secrets of Winning Proposals

When it comes to winning proposals, we find that many companies, including this Client, over-estimate their Win %. Company executives stated that Win % was 80%. In reality it was 37%. Once we discovered this important fact they wanted to find out what helped them win proposal.

  • Overall proposal data is shown on Slide 2 and 3 of the attached link. As you can see they put out a lot of proposals; 479 over the last two years. These two slides also provide some background data on the attributes that we tested for their impact on Win %.
  • Download “Secrets of Winning Proposals” Presentation here
  • There were seven factors that this Client wanted to explore to find out if any held the key to winning proposals.Of the seven factors, 3 were statistically significant and 4 weren’t. But we learned how to improve from both categories.  
    • Quoted $ value of the proposal (statistically significant)
    • Existing versus new programs (statistically significant)
    • Division A versus Division B (statistically significant)
    • Proposal opportunity designated “high priority to win” (no statistical impact on Win %)
    • Calendar duration spent on proposal (no statistical impact on Win %)
    • Military versus commercial (no statistical impact on Win %)
    • Labor hours spent on the proposal (no statistical impact on Win %)
  • Much to our Client’s surprise they won a higher percentage of higher dollar value proposals than low dollar value. The % change was quite large. This was exactly opposite of their thinking. They thought they won small proposals but lost the big ones. What would you do different if you knew this?
  • Their Win % for follow-on work of existing programs was 28% higher than new programs. This was not a big discovery, but did reinforce the importance of existing customers.
  • Perhaps the greatest discovery is that effort does NOT correlate with winning (see slide 6). In other words the work they put into a proposal does not predict winning. Second, and as important, the effort does not correlate with proposal size (see slide 6). They are NOT putting in the most effort to the biggest proposals. Resource allocation is therefore the big opportunity to save money and win more proposals.

Sales Professionals believe that selling is an art… and they are correct. However, the history of their sales activities can be used as an advantage over competitors. Does your competitor have this advantage over you?