Proposal StrategyIt’s called a go/NO-go process for a reason: Five areas to evaluate before pursuing your next project

November 24, 2021by Summit Strategy

Are you wasting precious resources pursuing projects you have no chance of winning? Does your organization go, go, go after every new project under the sun? Do you joke that your go/no-go process is actually a go/GO process?

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Read on for our top five topics to discuss during your next go/no-go discussion.

What is a go/no-go decision anyway?

The go/no-go stage is arguably the most important step in a productive pursuit process. This is when your leadership decides to officially pour your blood, sweat, and tears into winning a new project or securing a new client. A robust go/no-go process helps to make sure your organization is using its resources on opportunities that you stand the best chance of winning.

Unfortunately, this is also the stage where many organizations fail. Too often, companies think they can increase their win rate and, thus, their sales, by going after every opportunity that comes across their desks. The opposite is true. Every minute an organization spends working on the WRONG pursuits is time being taken away from the opportunities that you actually CAN win.

Top Five Strategic Go/No-Go Discussion Areas

  1. Do we know ALL of the decision-makers and do they know US? In today’s world, decision-making power is no longer in the hands of just one individual. Every purchasing decision requires, on average, five to seven different people to say “yes, I want them.” The CEO, the department director, the project manager, the subject matter expert, the procurement manager, the attorney, and more all have a say in who is hired. Do we know each of those decision-makers? Do we just know one? Are they REALLY the ultimate decision-maker? Will they advocate for us? Also, it should be noted here that many people like to think that we know everyone in the client organization and that we have all the right relationships in place. Sure, that may be true. But, it’s often an overstatement and we’re often over confident. Digging into who our relationships are with and how strong they are deserves some attention.

  2. Do we know what’s keeping our client up at night? Sure, some RFPs might include background information on the project, initiative, or need, but it definitely doesn’t tell the whole story. Do we know what’s really driving this project? Are there schedule constraints the client must meet to avoid regulatory penalties? Does the airport need to be in service before an international event? Is the local community at odds with the City’s decision to build a water treatment plant in their neighborhood? We have to know what’s important to the client, beyond the scope of work, in order to stand a true chance of winning. Ask yourself if you truly know something that no other firm knows… do you have insider knowledge that will help you win?

  3. Speaking of…do we REALLY stand a chance of winning? There’s a difference between being able to DO the work, and being able to win. Sure, we have the resources to build a state-of-the-art facility, but so can our top tier competitors. Being honest and asking yourself if a) you know what’s most important to the client and going to drive their decision-making process and b) can you provide those solutions in a way that sets you apart from all the other companies out there?

  4. Do we have the resources to pursue? Too often, organizations are focused on making sure they have the right resources to execute the work. Well, the same should be true for making sure we have the right resources to pursue the work. Do we have the RIGHT capture manager with ample time to dedicate to leading a winning proposal? Do we have a proposal manager with bandwidth to lead strategy sessions, craft content, and keep the team on track? Or are we running on fumes, cranking out proposals left and right with little strategy or intention on the end game… to WIN?

  5. Does this opportunity align with our long-term strategy? If our business plan outlined a focus on expanding into the Pacific Northwest, why do we continue to propose on projects in a non-strategic area, like the Southeast? If we’ve agreed to harness our experience, minds, and power into building a renewables business practice, why do we continue to propose on coal power plants? Remember, every opportunity we say “yes” to is another opportunity we are effectively saying “no” to, so choose wisely.

Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of a go/no-go process is not to shoot down opportunities left and right. The purpose is to make sure we’re spending our time, money, and resources on the opportunities that have the greatest chance of propelling our business forward.

We help our clients with challenges just like this one every day. Looking for a third-party perspective on your current go/no-go process? Searching for detailed guidance on how to implement a better go/no-go stage gate? Don’t have a go/no-go process? We’re here to help! Get in touch, and discover how Summit Strategy can help take your business to new heights.