Monkeys to Whales: Balancing Conflicts within Proposal Systems

In the zoology of facility service contracts, smaller dollar contracts (monkey size) are bought and sold differently than larger dollar contracts (whale size).

It follows that to win different sized contracts, suppliers’ proposals and their strategies must differ too, from monkey to horse, horse to elephant, and elephant to whale.

But to do that, suppliers must have a proposal system to match their preferred contract size(s). When that’s in place, suppliers have a chance to work a strategy that produces their best proposal.

Conflicting Needs & Availability

Proposal strategies and systems are in constant conflict between proposal effectiveness (working to win contracts) and efficiency (easily producing lots of proposals).

For example, what’s the point of working all year on only one proposal with no guarantee of success? Or its opposite, producing 1,000s of proposals every day yet rarely winning, if ever?

These conflicts are part of a supplier’s proposal reality, with some choices set in concrete and others regularly answered on the fly, such as:

  • How much custom proposal content should be created for an individual RFx opportunity?
    — vs. chunking in only pre-existing, canned content?
    — or some combination of both?
  • Which service contract size should be pursued to the exclusion of others; monkey, horse, elephant, or whale?
    — or some combination of all four?
  • Which production method to choose as organizational infrastructure?
    — less-expensive manual production?
    — vs. more costly proposal automation?
    — or some combination of both?

The Balancing Act

Monkeys to Whales: Balancing Conflicts within Proposal Systems

Click on image to download (print size 17″ x 11″)

The following is my attempt to show the conflicts and balances by contract size. Click here to download, or on the image (print size 17″ x 11″).

These are generalizations based on experience and may not align with yours. While everything can be an exception, this can provide guidance for suppliers’ proposal success. Understanding the lay of the land ahead is crucial to getting to it and thriving in it.

Questions or Ideas?

Send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt