RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends

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This is the presentation that Jeff Baron and I gave at the 2010 LMA annual conference.

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RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends

  1. 1. RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends Track Two – Business Development
  2. 2. <ul><li>Introductions – </li></ul><ul><li>Christopher Batio </li></ul><ul><li>Director, Marketing & Business Development </li></ul><ul><li>Pierce Atwood LLP </li></ul><ul><li>Jeff Baron </li></ul><ul><li>Director, National Pursuit Team for New Business Development </li></ul><ul><li>PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  3. 3. <ul><li>Agenda – </li></ul><ul><li>The Professional Services Firm Perspective </li></ul><ul><li>The Law Firm Perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Bringing the Perspectives Together – Discussion/Q&A </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  4. 4. <ul><li>The Professional Services Firm Perspective – </li></ul><ul><li>Why Proposals Still Matter </li></ul><ul><li>What Clients Seek </li></ul><ul><li>The Go/No-Go Decision </li></ul><ul><li>Value Propositions </li></ul><ul><li>Client Debriefs </li></ul><ul><li>The Emergence of Procurement-Driven Proposals </li></ul><ul><li>Role and Responsibilities of Marketing & Sales </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons Learned </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  5. 5. <ul><li>Why Proposals Still Matter – </li></ul><ul><li>It can “kick you out” in the first round. </li></ul><ul><li>The purpose of the proposal is to sell. </li></ul><ul><li>The proposal can differentiate your firm. </li></ul><ul><li>Internally, the process of building a proposal helps solidify the messages your service team will use throughout the pursuit. </li></ul><ul><li>A clear and concise Cover Letter and Executive Summary presents differentiators up front. </li></ul><ul><li>Know that even a favored firm may not make it to orals with a procurement-driven process. </li></ul><ul><li>The proposal must be well done. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  6. 6. <ul><li>What Clients Seek – </li></ul><ul><li>Value: Clearly differentiate your people, experience and value in both written documents and oral presentations. </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship: Develop relationships early and cultivate them during in the process, also consider the impact of relationships by your Firm and the competition before proposing. </li></ul><ul><li>Responsiveness: Demonstrate that you are listening to the client and make them feel they are important, also take the time to produce quality proposals. </li></ul><ul><li>Experience: Demonstrate knowledge and experience by providing a roadmap of how we will get the job done. </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment: Demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm, &quot;hunger for the work&quot; is often cited as an intangible differentiator. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  7. 7. <ul><li>The Go/No-Go Decision – </li></ul><ul><li>Personnel with the needed skills should already be in place, and critical mass in the specialty areas exists. </li></ul><ul><li>The right Partners and team must be made available to work on the pursuit strategy and proposal, not just to perform the engagement. </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships are critical. </li></ul><ul><li>If it is considered a &quot;long shot&quot; we probably won't win. </li></ul><ul><li>The &quot;right&quot; questions must be asked at the earliest stages. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  8. 8. RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends <ul><ul><ul><li>The Value proposition should resonate with the client and differentiate your Firm. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Value proposition meetings are critical. Conduct at the beginning of the process followed by regular pursuit strategy calls. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on the pursuit, messaging, competitive landscape and relationships. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revisit the value proposition frequently to &quot;test“ value and differentiators. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The value proposition should be woven through the document. </li></ul></ul>Value Propositions –
  9. 9. <ul><li>Client Debriefs – </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct a formal, independent debrief following the client decision. </li></ul><ul><li>Carefully consider who conducts the debrief. </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct debriefs regardless of whether you win or lose. </li></ul><ul><li>Debriefs allow knowledge sharing around the procurement process with the client. </li></ul><ul><li>If a client won't meet in person, go for a telephone call. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  10. 10. <ul><li>The Emergence of Procurement-Driven Proposals – </li></ul><ul><li>How we coach our teams and lead the process is impacted. </li></ul><ul><li>Even a favored firm may not make it to orals with a procurement-driven process. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand who the economic buyer is. </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure that the buyer remains actively involved. </li></ul><ul><li>Know if a scoring matrix is to be used, and the implications. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep focus on the client’s business requirements. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  11. 11. <ul><li>The Emergence of Procurement-Driven Proposals – (continued) </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to the questions asked, but also continue offering specific business and industry insights. </li></ul><ul><li>Effectively use the information gathered. </li></ul><ul><li>Align proposal with the strategy of your actual client. </li></ul><ul><li>Align proposal with buying strategy of your client. </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy to read and answer all the questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow the procedures and make use of the ability to ask questions. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  12. 12. <ul><li>Role and Responsibilities of Marketing in the Proposal Process – </li></ul><ul><li>Project manage the overall proposal effort; facilitate and manage team information sharing. </li></ul><ul><li>Help team develop the value proposition. </li></ul><ul><li>Independently develop responses or facilitate responses from the Pursuit Team related to complex RFP questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate debrief with team after scoping meetings to ensure feedback is discussed and addressed. </li></ul><ul><li>Give independent review and make assessments for improvement. </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage Knowledge Management resources, Research & Pursuit Management Tools. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  13. 13. <ul><li>Role and Responsibilities of Marketing & Sales in the Proposal Process – (Continued) </li></ul><ul><li>Project manage the document; gather all final feedback and aggregate into master file; manage production with graphic designer. </li></ul><ul><li>Manage final production and conduct quality checks. </li></ul><ul><li>Update CRM or other tracking databases. </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare for oral presentations and/or additional requests for information. </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate debrief with team after orals or other meetings to ensure feedback is discussed and addressed. </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate the “lessons learned” of the win or loss. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  14. 14. RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends <ul><li>Be enthusiastic - externally and internally. </li></ul><ul><li>Employ tactics for success to ensure a robust pursuit strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide value through each interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>Present your best team of people. </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage relationships and knowledge at the beginning of the process. </li></ul><ul><li>Hold “Go/No-Go” as process begins. </li></ul><ul><li>Breadth and depth of relationships is typically a differentiator. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the players and dynamics, especially with a procurement driven process. </li></ul><ul><li>Bring the best to orals, and conduct formal “orals” rehearsals with all team members physically present. </li></ul><ul><li>Timely and responsive follow-up is critical. </li></ul><ul><li>Fees are extremely competitive, and rates are declining especially with the involvement of procurement. </li></ul><ul><li>Your competitors are getting more sophisticated and aggressive. </li></ul>Lessons Learned –
  15. 15. RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends <ul><li>The Law Firm Perspective – </li></ul><ul><li>What Are RFPs Used For In the Legal Services Environment? </li></ul><ul><li>How Are Legal Services Proposals Different? </li></ul><ul><li>Procurement, Convergence and Consultant-Driven RFPs </li></ul><ul><li>Building a Proposal Process Without Dedicated Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting the Go/No-Go Decision </li></ul><ul><li>Discerning What Your Lawyers Know vs. What They Think They Know </li></ul><ul><li>Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>RFPs in the Legal Services Environment – </li></ul><ul><li>Simple qualifications for a evaluating a new provider. </li></ul><ul><li>Competition for a specific project, deal or litigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Assembling a panel or preferred provider list. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessing existing outside counsel following a management or ownership change. </li></ul><ul><li>Procurement or consultant driven exercise to reduce legal costs. </li></ul><ul><li>Convergence designed to reduce # of outside law firms and increase leverage over fees. </li></ul><ul><li>Information gathering exercise related to specific issues, i.e. diversity, sustainability. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  17. 17. <ul><li>How Legal Services Proposals Differ – </li></ul><ul><li>Often focused on communicating individual skills and experiences in a team or institutional format. </li></ul><ul><li>Need to customize bios and link experience there to body of the proposal. </li></ul><ul><li>Diverse fee proposals (especially these days) </li></ul><ul><li>Seek to communicate the intangible clear and concisely. </li></ul><ul><li>Little historical process to draw upon. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  18. 18. <ul><li>Procurement, convergence and consultant-driven RFPs – </li></ul><ul><li>Why would law departments involve procurement in choosing outside counsel? </li></ul><ul><li>How can you recognize the stamp of a consultant or procurement officer? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the true goals of this type of RFP? </li></ul><ul><li>The DuPont and Pfizer models. </li></ul><ul><li>Myths of convergence (a nod to Rees Morrison). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s just an exercise, if we go through the motions nothing will change. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The proposal doesn’t matter if our relationship is strong. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Q&As are the best RFPs to respond to. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The GC is the decision maker. </li></ul></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  19. 19. <ul><li>Building a Proposal Process Without Dedicated Resources – </li></ul><ul><li>Catalog your tools, skills and resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand your firm’s business development goals and the place RFPs play in those goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Build a proposal library that is accessible and easily updated. </li></ul><ul><li>Start by offering the basics and slowly work towards delivering strategic value, not just product. </li></ul><ul><li>Seek to be more than just the “Recording Secretary.” </li></ul><ul><li>Communication, persuasion, education. </li></ul><ul><li>Track your progress and report on it regularly. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  20. 20. <ul><li>Supporting the Go/No-Go Decision – </li></ul><ul><li>Foster opportunities for attorneys to make a Go/No-Go decision. </li></ul><ul><li>Share your analysis of the RFP. </li></ul><ul><li>Research the business and its decision makers. </li></ul><ul><li>Arm your team with data that supports a conversation about the value of the potential business contained in the RFP. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage the attorneys to ask questions of each other and the potential client. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  21. 21. <ul><li>Discerning What Your Lawyers Know vs. What They Think They Know – </li></ul><ul><li>Are they jumping right to message? </li></ul><ul><li>Are their statements grounded in data and experience or speculation? </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage the airing of differing views. </li></ul><ul><li>______________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Listening begins with asking the right questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Has the client articulated their key needs/concerns? </li></ul><ul><li>Can your firm address the client’s key needs/concerns or develop a strategy to do so? </li></ul><ul><li>Link specific people, experiences and capabilities to the client’s key needs/concerns. </li></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  22. 22. <ul><li>Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them – </li></ul><ul><li>Pitfall - KitchenSinkitis . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solution – Strong value proposition. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pitfall - Too Many Cooks . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solution – Apply the Law of Input Reduction . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pitfall - Bad Proposal Inertia . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solution – Strong Go/No-Go process . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pitfall - The Political Proposal . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solution – Clear direction from firm leaders. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pitfall - The Remote Control Proposal. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solution – Clear communication with Team on expectations and process. </li></ul></ul>RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends
  23. 23. RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends <ul><li>For more information - </li></ul><ul><li>Christopher Batio </li></ul><ul><li>Director of Marketing & Business Development, </li></ul><ul><li>Pierce Atwood LLP </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>207-791-1244 </li></ul><ul><li>Jeff Baron </li></ul><ul><li>Director, National Pursuit Team for New Business Development </li></ul><ul><li>PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP </li></ul><ul><li> jeffrey.a.baron@us.pwc.com </li></ul><ul><li>202-841-1050 </li></ul>

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