How do I Use Multiple Consulting Firms on the Same Bid? (Part 8 of 9 in Outsourcing Proposal Development)

In many years of working on proposals, I’ve seen three different kinds of situations where multiple consulting firms might be involved in working on the same bid. These are as follows, with some notes regarding potential problems:

  • Finance or Actuarial Consultants. In health care proposals (our domain) we frequently see a separate firm or firms working on the business proposal – the pricing buildup. Usually, there is virtually no cause for concern regarding the interaction between different consulting firms. Sometimes the finance team will ask for drafts of the technical proposal, so they can verify that all technical elements have been included in their pricing.
  • Multiple Proposal Developers. Sometimes a single proposal consulting firm simply cannot supply enough staff or all of the right technical expertise for a particular bid. (This might be because they are just really busy and have people assigned elsewhere.) These situations usually work out quite well, particularly if the proposal manager is part of the client’s staff. In some instances, though, the proposal manager is a member of one of the consulting firms. This can create potential problems, if one consulting firm feels they are being “supervised” by another. The potential exists for one firm to feel that they are being unfairly treated as part of the managing firm’s “agenda” to eliminate them. Whether or not such an agenda actually exists is moot. To address, it needs to be clear that there is a single individual on the client’s staff who is responsible for overall management.
  • Multiple Procurement Consultants. The complexity of a procurement means that a company ought to consider carefully selecting consultants with targeted skill sets to do different parts of the work. Think about two consulting firms, A and B. Both say they do proposal work in your industry. On examining both, though, you find that A really has a reputation for doing high-level strategic work and government relations. B is really good at presenting client concepts in writing. So – why not avail yourself of the benefits of both? Hire A to develop your strategy and position yourself with the customer. Hire B to write the proposal.

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