One type of growth challenge that business developers and owners face stems from not having enough time, personnel, or expertise to prepare and respond to the solicitations that otherwise would be a perfect fit for the company.

You may be completely new to hiring consultants. You may be worn thin from all the heavy hours you have put in and overwhelmed with all the proposals you have to write. You may be considering bringing in a professional capture or proposal manager to run a pursuit and to prepare your staff to run better pursuits in the future. You may have a must-win pursuit, and you may be looking to bring in the pros.

Then again, you may also have heard of, or had bad experiences with, consultants who charge heavy hours and run through a budget well before the proposal process is complete. This could leave you stuck in a situation in which you cannot let go of the consultant’s mid-proposal for the risk of not finishing, since there may be a learning curve or heavy workload for a new employee. You will of course be reprimanded by your management, partners, or your own conscience for blowing your budget. You may even have to forego bidding on other proposals because you have run out of pursuit funds.

For the next 8 weeks, we will run a series of articles on How To Benefit The Most From Working With Proposal Consultants to help you figure out whether it is the best avenue for winning your bids. This set of articles will:

  • Give you some tips on properly budgeting for consultants’ work.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of hiring a consultant vs. using your own employees.
  • Take you through the process of working with consultants not only to manage their costs but to get better products out of their work.

Let me start by saying that before I became a proposal consultant, I was on the other side of the fence, working as a business development manager for a large defense contractor. I juggled tight budgets and scraped together the resources to assemble capture and proposal teams. For the last seven years, I have been providing consulting services personally and hiring consultant subcontractors to work for my company’s (OST Global Solutions) clients or for me directly. I have worked alongside other consultants and consultant teams. I have seen and heard the whole gamut of issues of cost per hour or per day, package pricing, and quality of work. My experience working with consultants has been mostly great, but I have had several disappointments and have heard of many more. In the upcoming series of articles within the next 8 weeks, I will explain to you some of the key realities of the proposal consulting world, and will share with you my techniques for not getting burned and for making the most of consultants’ work—so stay tuned!

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