Thought Leader

Qualification of a Consulting Opportunity

Qualification of the opportunity involves: Asking how the work can be sold Assessing the available information  and the likelihood of success Asking whether more information is required? Making a decision based on the above How Can the Work Be Sold? What is the sales pitch? A key factor driving the prospect’s buying decision (speed, quality, and price)? What personal relationships exist and how can they be best leveraged or combined? What can the account executive and members of the project team do to positively influence the sale? What are our chances? Assess the Available Information in order to qualify the opportunity. Use the acronym – MANREACT to assess the available information as described below: MANREACT M oney – can they afford the fee? A uthority to buy N eed / urgency, both client and vendor R isk E ffort required by us A bility to implement / Approach; operational feasibility C ompetition / Characteristics T iming  – what is the compelling event MONEY/ Pricing/ Buying Power Can the client afford our selected fee structure The objective is to get the job at a fair price, not giving too much away What would we need to do to match the client’s financial requirements We should not be wasting our time with inappropriate target groups AUTHORITY Refer back to buying role… Decision-makers and roles Dealing with the ‘right’ person(s) at the ‘right’ level(s)? Can they make the required decisions Decision making processes and structures? NEEDS of the prospect / client              Does the prospect know/ agree what is needed. How clearly is the need defined? Management’s view of this need Differentiate between needs and wants Objectives and terms of reference Clearly stated deliverables NEEDS of the vendor What are the vendor needs for the work? Availability of other work For existing staff and to meet growth plans Availability of required skills Is it within our Target sector? To maintain reputation To enter new fields To leverage potential Training potential for our staff To address conflicts within the organization RISKS – what are the risks? Of getting the work? Of not getting the work? Nature of the Project Technical Skills Staff attitudes Senior resource use EFFORT of the proposal Formal proposal required? Existing relevant documentation Further information required Availability of our best people for proposal What is the decision / evaluation process? Approximate total cost of proposal effort? What is the cost / value / probability relationship? Is the proposal effort worth it? EFFORT of the project Client location; cost of S&T Extent of relevant experience and subject matter knowledge? /similar field/ past project documentation? Is new technology involved?  Research required Do we need and have the technological skills? Are associates/ subcontractors required? Required project structure Ability/ Approach/Design Approach – Ability What is our ability in this area Have we done this work before What approach to use? Methods Style Involvement Steps Proposed solution? Approach to designing the job Designing the job well is often the key to: Getting the job Delivering a good product Making a profit Designing the job happens before the job is awarded, not after Designing the job is the heart of the proposal development process Who Is The COMPETITION? Types (Big firms, local/international, specialists/generalists, etc) Size, reputation and style of competition Relative strengths / weaknesses Cost / fee structures Key differentiators Bases of competition (speed, quality, price) Relationships with key decision makers Our areas of potential competitive advantage Partnering arrangement(s) CHARACTERISTICS of Client How big – entire organisation, department, or even an individual? Do we have other relationships with the client? Where is the client located? Have we done prior work? What is the likelihood of public exposure? Type of Client Organisation Sophisticated/unsophisticated user Reason for using consultants TIMING          Proposal timing, start date, due date What pressure is the client under Can we do it within the time constraints What is the effect on quality Is more information required? Have we sufficient information Where can we get additional information What specifically do we need? Decision Point This where the consultancy takes stock of the current situation and decides whether to continue with the effort or not. In simpler cases, many of these steps are intuitive or simply skipped completely.  Re-Assess the Opportunity Understanding of the prospects needs expectations deadlines and budgets. Agreement on approach (phasing and milestones). Available resources and skills. Methodologies, tools and techniques. Opportunity costs. Pricing. Final risk assessment. The above is an extract from the course titled “Principles of Professional Consulting” Written by Angelo Kehayas (FCMC). He can be contacted on akehayas@profweb.net...

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