Knowledge Management (KM) supports winning new business by:
- Enabling better and faster decision making
- Making it easy to find relevant information and resources
- Reusing ideas, documents, and expertise
- Avoiding redundant effort
- Avoiding making the same mistakes twice
- Taking advantage of existing experience
- Communicating important information widely and quickly
- Establishing standard, repeatable processes and procedures
- Providing methods, tools, templates, techniques, and examples
- Making scarce expertise widely available
- Showing customers how knowledge is used for their benefit
- Accelerating sales and delivery to customers
- Enabling the firm to leverage its size
- Making the firm’s best problem-solving experiences reusable
- Stimulating and exploiting innovation
The following KM methods and tools can be used:
- idea generation — for developing new solutions, finding new clients, attracting new business, and better ways of selling to specific clients
- checklists — for qualifying opportunities and not missing any steps in pursuits
- competitive intelligence — for effectively dealing with competitors
- customer intelligence — for better understanding prospects
- market intelligence — for determining market opportunities and market penetration strategies
- research — for increasing the understanding of solution offerings
- social networks — for tapping connections to help understand, plan, influence, and make contact with prospects
- communities — for deepening understanding, getting help, and securing resources for specific solutions and the sales process
- training — for solutions and selling
- communications — for increasing awareness of market offerings, soliciting help in generating new business, and letting others know of pursuits in progress
- knowledge help desk — for assistance in finding reusable content, needed resources, and using all knowledge management components
- reuse — for taking advantage of existing content and experience from bids and projects, including sales collateral and proposals
- lessons learned — for solutions and selling
- proven practices — for solutions and selling
- collaboration — for working with the pursuit team, the project team, and the client
- content management — for creating and updating sales kits, collateral, and deliverables
- valuation — for competitive pricing based on explicitly defining the value of the reusable component being sold
- appreciative inquiry — for identifying the greatest assets, capacities, capabilities, resources, and strengths in order to create new pursuit opportunities
- storytelling — for igniting action, communicating who you are, and building your brand
- team spaces — for pursuit team collaboration, including all documents, meetings, meeting minutes, and action items
- virtual meeting rooms — for sharing presentations, applications, and white boards during meetings
- repositories — for presentations, proposals, key information on all previous projects, references/credentials/qualifications, project deliverables, templates, and methods
- expertise locators — for finding all people having desired skills, experience, or knowledge
- videos — for learning about solutions and techniques, and for sharing solutions and references with prospects
- proposal and presentation automation applications — for generating customized proposals and presentations using customer details and boilerplate content
Proposals and Presentations
In proposal production, much of the content is standard boilerplate and can be reused as is on each proposal. Some content must be modified slightly, but is typically included. And some content is unique to the particular opportunity and must be tailored extensively. A proposal automation tool can help streamline the effort required, allowing most of the time to be spent on the custom content, and creating a consistent and appealing format.
Presentations are similar in that they combine slides reused from the past, modified slides, and new slides. There are often problems with inconsistent formats, outdated information, and missing content. A presentation creation tool manages slide content in a library, ensures that the latest versions are used, and enables useful features such as synchronized audio recording. This allows presentations to be delivered as recorded slideshows, which can be used for training and to ensure the highest quality of narration.
- Capture proposals and other project documents for all projects. Cleanse proposals to use as standard templates.
- Search for proven practices and proposal templates for each new project. Reuse as much as possible.
- Search for customer references and similar proposals. Use relevant customer references.
- Look for similar projects delivered previously. Use the associated documentation.
- Seek documents produced when answering similar or related customer Requests for Proposal (RFPs) or Requests for Information (RFIs). Post queries to relevant communities and use the results.
- Search for the most appropriate service kits on the relevant practice portal. Use them.
- Craft the proposal using all the documents they have found and stored on the team space. Ensure it conveys the right value proposition to open the door for additional sales opportunities.
- Use proposal automation to speed up the process of crafting the proposal, ensure consistency of format, and include the latest content.
- When submitting the proposal to the customer, reassure them by presenting how similar challenges for other customers were solved. Use customer references and customer testimonials to make the case that what is unknown territory for the customer is a well-known and manageable situation for the service provider.
- Locate expertise to help sell and staff the engagement. Use expertise locators and communities to do so.