“You can’t win if you don’t bid.”

How many times have you heard that gem? Yes, it’s true that you can’t win if you don’t bid, but it’s just as important to know when to walk away from a bid you can’t win. This is especially true in times like now. We have to be strategic in where we invest our precious resources.

So the next time a BD guy or gal presents you with a rotten egg and claims it’s Eggs Benedict, ask them:

“What evidence do you have your shaping efforts have been effective to date?”

If the answer is: the customer really, really likes us and wants us to bid, that answer is insufficient. They want EVERYONE to bid. The more competition the customer has, the more options they have to get exactly what they want at an attractive price. Shaping is when you actually make an acquisition recommendation to the customer – whether it be the contract vehicle, scope of work, evaluation criteria, or anything, and they put it into the RFP or draft RFP documents. And it’s plain to see when you’ve shaped something or not… (or when your competition has).

My actionable advice for your next bid is as follows: set criteria for shaping effectiveness by some deadline, and make a decision to bid, not bid, based on the results. Also just get out there and meet with your customers and shape your bids. They are at home right now and getting in touch with them is easier than ever. Remember: if you’re not shaping, your competition is.