Prequalification and Prioritization of Opportunities

Software vendors participate in multiple bids across the globe. Though each vendor has a set of presales processes spanning activities in the bidding lifecycle from end to end, they occasionally deviate from them for a variety of reasons ranging from tight deadlines to lack of skills. However most of the global vendors follow the basic processes, ensuring compliance with eligibility conditions and stipulated timelines. There may be a few cases where the submitted proposals are not of the required standards and are likely to be rejected.
Then there are cases where the vendor makes a bid even when their product or solution isn’t the right fit. The decision to bid or not is a critical activity and the right choice saves both time and effort for the company. But sometimes it is difficult to arrive at a go/no go decision right away, and things become clear only later after many discussions with relevant stakeholders. Although the vendor designs prequalification documents based on multiple criteria to guide the decision, at times the deal’s minimal input criteria make the exercise time consuming.
There are other factors, which force a vendor to participate in a bid in a particular geography, despite the outcome of the deal being known well in advance. These include a need to create an impact in that market, to train personnel in rigorous presales cycle processes, or to impart competitive and market knowledge on the winning strategies adopted by different vendors.
Many a times the sales team decides to pursue an opportunity even when the solution doesn’t fit very well, simply to establish relationships with prospects. Even if the vendor knows that the client has built relationships with other vendor/s and there are few chances of winning the bid, they still go ahead with the bid to build some rapport with the client with a view to securing a deal in future.
For vendors with a global positioning, it is important to participate in bids across the globe. They might be strong in some Geographies, but lag in others. Their imperative is to strengthen their position in existing markets and establish a presence in others where they are starting new relationships. From a global positioning perspective, it is important to consider all factors while participating in a bid. Even if some vendors are dominant in specific regions, a stringent evaluation process could open up chances for other, less prominent vendors.
Prequalification and prioritization of opportunities by the vendor are important to ensure that they
a) Participate in opportunities where there is a likelihood of winning
b) Participate in opportunities in critical geographies where there is a desire to make a forceful impact
c) Participate only selectively and strategically in geographies with multiple challenges or in low value deals or in those where inadequate fitment is likely to hamper their reputation during the evaluation process.
A stringent prequalification process will help the presales & sales team members drive a winning strategy from the beginning with relentless focus. The opportunities need to be prioritized and filtered to improve the deal conversion rate. This is important in order to avoid the team members suffering from low morale and motivation because of deals not going through.
However, in order to develop the maturity to identify the right bids where there is a likelihood of winning, it is important to have experienced presales & sales personnel with strong domain and technical knowledge and client connections, on the team. In most of the IT companies, this unique skill is acquired over time, until when IT vendors continue to bid for most pursuits, practicing prequalification and prioritization as a theoretical process.