Write a 3-4 page APA format paper discussing the proposal process and the 6 steps that should be followed in responding to a solicitation. Why is it important to follow the steps? Be sure to include 2 resources to support your point of view.
Six Steps in responding to a solicitation
Engelbeck (2002) has provided 6 steps that the prospective contractors can follow when they are responding to a solicitation. The process of procurement in this case is a sealed bidding or a competitive procurement. These six steps are as follows.
- Strategic marketing
Strategic marketing for radically new product in the market is really necessary (Cooper, 2000). Customer may be asking for products never heard of. Contractors are always in search for an acquisition from a government or a non-government customer. Before there is even a proposal made to offer the services that are required by the customers, the contractor or the seller must contact the customer, the government representatives in case of a government proposal and ask for their specific needs. After the needs and requirements of the customer are identified, a strategic market research is carried out by the seller/contractor to identify the feasibility of the prospective contract and see for how many other businesses would be interested in it.
- Understanding the customer’s business
It is important to understand what business the customer is involved in and does it couple with the kind of contracts the seller has been involved in or has experience in. during this stage, the customer is contacted to clarify about the nature of the business they are doing. Any other sources to get a clear picture of the customer’s business are also utilized.
- The bid/no bid decision
Once a strategic marketing is done while keeping a keen eye on other competitors, and the nature of the business and the needs of the customer are identified, it is time to make the most important decision, bid or not to bid for the contract. Questions like is there an opportunity? Can we compete? Can we win? Is it worth winning? Are answered before the bid/no bid decision is made.
- In depth analysis of the solicitation
When the TORs or terms of references are received, there are many things that still need to be clarified. In this stage, an in depth analysis of the solicitation is made. Each customer has their perceived requirements. They must be understood. The terms and conditions of the contract are also understood here. Risks and preparation instructions are pertinent to be communicated with the customer so that any ambiguities are removed.
- Preparation of the response
The seller must be able to communicate to the customer that their needs are clearly understood and that the seller has a strategy to meet these needs. It is best to assign a response team to the task of preparation of the response. Misunderstanding between the seller and buyer should not be allowed to hinder the process of response preparation. The response team must remain focused and on time.
- Review and submission
The response draft should not be considered ready before it is reviewed by the management and other concerned personnel. Revisions should be made in the light of the response of experts and management. After all the necessary revision are made, it is time to submit the response to the customer.