Problem/Solution—Improving Win Rates


Problem: Win rates seem like pretty simple statistics—what percentage of your qualified opportunities are you winning? When you remove the bids withdrawn by bidders and others cancelled by the customer, what do you do if the percentage is still low? 

Solution: Learn from past proposals and when to end a pursuit.  

Lessons Learned 

The saying, “hindsight is 20/20” bears remembering when it comes to winning opportunities. Once you have submitted the proposal, hold a lessons-learned—or white hat—review before memories start to fade. Focus on internal successes, problems, and improvements. Then take a look at external factors and identify ways future pursuits can be more successful. 

After you have reviewed your efforts personally, ask for customer feedback. Request this feedback whether you won or lost. You have nothing to lose, and you may gain a lot. Receiving feedback from the customer can help your organization’s win rate by building a positive relationship with the customer and providing insight for better proposals in the future. 

Debriefing with the customer on winning proposals is often the most useful. You will be able to take the most successful tactics of the proposal and repeat the process or characteristics on future opportunities. 

Decision Gates 

While a White Hat review helps you learn from past proposals, holding decision gate reviews throughout business development is key to increasing your win rates. 

You may think that the first step in increasing win rates is to bid on everything. However, knowing when not to bid is just as important as bidding. Decision gate reviews allow senior management a chance to decide if an opportunity is worth committing resources to and pursuing into the next phase of business development.  

Some opportunities will not make it to the next phase. Maybe they don’t fit within your organization’s strategic plan. Maybe they require an entirely new product or service and the risks/cost outweigh the potential benefits. Maybe you are just required competition for the incumbent to go up against. Be realistic. “No” must be acceptable. 

 Learning from the past and reviewing the efficacy of an opportunity will remove opportunities with low Pwin from your organization’s pipeline. This frees up resources to go after more winnable opportunities, boosting your win rates.