5 Tips for Collaborating on Your Next Project Proposal
JULY 14, 2011:
Dan Paup, Business Development Representative
Guest Blogger Client Service Leadership Results
You've spent countless hours working on your marketing strategy. You've spent even more countless hours working on preparing your latest project notes or RFP to get the most accurate quote you can from potential outside partners (Need help? Read our tips for preparing your next RFP). Make the most of those hours by incorporating these 5 tips for collaborating with prospective partners on your next project proposal.
Before I jump right into the collaboration tips, I should first advise you to enter into the project proposal stage only with people you feel comfortable with - not like the slimy salesman trying to sell Ernie a number 8 in the video below.
Assuming you are comfortable and happy with the potential partners you have selected, here are the 5 tips for collaboration:
1. Set defined goals.
What are you hoping to accomplish with your project? If you can share this with potential partners (and be open-minded), you may be surprised by alternative solutions that can perhaps be more innovative and potentially even more cost-effective. Knowing your ultimate goals can also help you avoid selecting someone simply on the lowest cost, but instead by highest quality. Clearly defined goals are the biggest driver of success in any project.
2. Be forthcoming.
Outline your project to the best of your knowledge in all of your conversations leading up to the proposal. If a project's scope changes with one potential partner, other partners should be made aware. Remember that the scope of a project heavily dictates the cost of that project. You could be missing out the potential to work with a great partner who's proposal may not live up to another's simply because they didn't have the same knowledge. Also, your decision making process will be easier when comparing ‘apples to apples.’
3. Be realistic about your budget and expectations.
If possible, conduct a little research before your project reaches budget stage. Nothing is more disappointing than budgeting 50% of the cost for a project - and then having to cut corners and expectations to make a project fit into a budget. Start talking to existing and potential partners early so that you can get ballpark estimates of what projects are going to cost to see if they are realistic for your overall budget. Discuss potential projects with colleagues and management early to address any additions that they might want to make in order to avoid potential budgeting pitfalls in the future.
4. Be practical about timelines.
Evaluate vendors early. I cannot stress this enough. Interactive projects have gotten the reputation that they're quicker and easier to turnaround than print projects. This is not necessarily true. The earlier you know about the project and can make decisions, the more sure you can be that the project will fit within your chosen partner's workload.
5. Bring decision makers into the discussion.
Decision makers are typically busy folks, but if you know that you are going to have to involve another key stakeholder in your decision, incorporate them into the discussion as soon as it makes sense - i.e. when the project scope changes, alternative solutions are presented, costs are escalating, etc. Often key stakeholders can help you and potential partners from presenting projects that are no longer aligned with the marketing strategy or overall company objectives.
Do you have any tips to share for success in collaborating with a new or existing partner on a project proposal? Please share below!
This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at priorityresults.com/blog. Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.