I had a planning lunch today for my September 17 presentation at the APMP roundtable event, when a fellow proposal consultant self-admittedly got on a favorite soap box. His pet subject was criticizing the whole notion of win rates as a metric for proposal professionals success.
He said win rates are all fake or suspect, and they do not reflect a real picture. People who claim their win rates are really high are distorting the truth. People whose win rates may be low but who write great technical proposals that lose on price should count those as a win, and not a loss, to be fair to their ability as a proposal manager.
I said, wait a minute. A loss is a loss is a loss. I think there is another issue here at play a fundamental lack of understanding of how win rates are calculated. Many proposal people are highly opinionated about win rates, but surprisingly few know enough about this metric to have a meaningful discussion devoid of emotion. Many executives and business developers also should be careful when they see a proposal professional claim a high rate or present a seemingly low rate. Instead of getting really excited or discouraged, they need to first understand whats behind the number.
Written by Olessia Smotrova-Taylor, AF. APMP, President ad CEO of OST Global Solutions, Inc., a business development, capture, and proposal management company that helps businesses grow in the federal market. Olessia has won more than $18 billion for her clients, and helped many small businesses acquire game-changing opportunities. She started working on IDIQs 11 years ago, including working on Task Orders exclusively for 5 years managing a $450 million/year IDIQ. She has won a few dozen IDIQs and Task Orders over the course of her career. She is the President of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) National Capital Area (NCA) chapter, and a well-known speaker and author. She has developed and taught a graduate course in proposal development at NASA for the Stevens Institute of Technology. Prior to founding OST, she won business for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and wrote for the Financial Times of London. Olessia can be reached at email@example.com or at 301-384-3350.
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