By Guy Aston, Business Director, Mid-Corporate solutions, Huthwaite International

The unsolicited enquiry, or the issuing of a 'request for proposal' typifies this phase. For most sales operations this is the point where a sale begins.

The customer has established their decision criteria, based on the needs they have identified, and is seeking to compare alternative solutions against those criteria. This is a phase of high sales activity usually typified by the submission of proposals and sales presentations.

The key question the customer is asking now is “Whom should I change to?”

At this stage, world-class sales organisations will be:

analysing the opportunity and making an informed bid/no-bid decision

• contacting the customer to gain understanding of the needs underpinning the opportunity

• identifying all the key stakeholders and the decision making process

• conducting competitive analysis

• establishing the customer’s decision criteria

• reinforcing criteria they can meet

• promoting criteria where they have competitive strength

• mitigating criteria that are competitive weaknesses

• producing a persuasive proposal centered on the customer’s requirements and how they can be met

• producing a persuasive bespoke presentation based on the customer’s requirements and how they can be met.

At this stage, typical sales organisations will be:

• bidding for everything

• accepting the bid process at face value

• failing to attempt to get wider/deeper contact and understanding of the customer’s requirements

• responding to the needs as presented by the customer without further analysis or qualification

• ignoring the competitive context

• producing a proposal centred on their solutions

• producing a presentation based on a generic template focused on their solutions.


Huthwaite International


We’re sales training experts who can help you improve the sales performance of your business. For over 30 years we’ve been helping businesses across the world transform their sales performance; delivering long-term, tangible results through our behavioural change methodologies. Find out more at: www.huthwaite.co.uk

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