How do you overcome the strategic disadvantage of extended deadlines, which tend to drive up vendor saturation and pricing variation? Additionally, how do you handle these as anything else but nuisances?
These are important questions - and we get it. You sometimes rather not compete when the prospective vendor list goes to double digits. Additionally, deadlines fail as motivators when they’re disrespected, moved around on a whim, or forgotten. It’s difficult enough to submit on time when you have a stacked pipeline as-is. The ire for extended deadlines is real from both the vendor and the outsourced proposal writer/bidding team.
Having the data point of November 22 instead of November 10 gives birth to a multitude of new things to consider. Similarly, deadline extensions are not “More time” but “Less buy-in over time” scenarios. Let's explore each below.
A Multitude of New Things to Consider
Apart from the obvious, you have more than just one new data point (the new date) on your plate. You have to remember that this was an extension provided by (most likely) an addendum and that addendum needs to be acknowledged somewhere in the bid package. What else is there?
- Your submission portal might have expired and the purchaser may need reminding to change the due date to allow for a submission to take place.
- More days/hours for completion equals more competition from the margins. What didn’t seem viable before, is now treated as such.
- The Q&A period may also open back up (in rare cases).
- The real reason for the extension might be obscured; speculation here isn’t very helpful either.
- An extended due date means that the project schedule will also shift, and those individual deliverable target dates may also get extended just as easily.
Less Buy-In Over Time
If an RFP or RFQ (or any solicitation that requires a technical section) is pushed back, the emotional tie to that project fades, even if the fade is slight. Vendor management is pulled elsewhere and the work on the horizon for the extended bid is deemed annoying, frustrating, and/or burdensome.
Getting reminders about the extension and going beyond the usual timeframe for the proposal development process may irk teams as well.
So how do you sustain buy-in and mitigate the above? Reminders and checks in only have so much power. One idea is to use this extra time to find new partners, engaging them on the details and getting some of the excitement back from hearing the excitement vocalized from them. After all, those energetic conversations are usually filled with bidding optimism, and this is contagious. Another strategy would be to use this time to convert your MS Word document into an Adobe InDesign file. This tends to always rejuvenate the team (pride for the document increases, people are motivated to make improvements to a polished file, etc.).
For more established bidders who regularly submit on RFPs, an extension every now and then is a reality of doing business with the government. But this is mediocrity at its finest. You want to be on the inside track - and leveraging your value and expert status - more than worrying about bid dates. Once the conversation starts, there is no ending point. Contact us to see how you can get there faster.