COQ – Continuous Opportunity Qualification
Are you going to win that opportunity?
How do you know?
Constant Opportunity Qualification is the process of continuously evaluating all your opportunities.
You need to keep checking that you still want to and should be bidding.
When a large opportunity is important to you, you can get so caught up in it that you fail to notice the red flags which indicate you are unlikely to win.
Being fully engaged in the wrong opportunities diverts valuable resources and time away from other, more suitable, opportunities.
Opportunities you could, and should, win.
First off, you need to understand the importance of having an abundance mindset.
There are, and will always be, far more opportunities in the world than you could ever hope to win.
Losing one opportunity is not the end of your business. There will always be more people who need help.
When you realise this, no single opportunity should become all important to you.
You will also understand that you don’t have to chase every opportunity.
You should only focus on the opportunities you are 100% certain you can win and deliver your best value.
Secondly, you need to create and adopt a formal bid/no bid process.
This process will help you understand when and why you should bid.
It will also make sure you avoid projects that you have a low probability of winning.
Sometimes you make an early decision to bid. But as the opportunity develops, and you learn more about it, is that still the right decision?
As you get greater understanding of the customer’s need you may realise that it isn’t a good fit for you. Perhaps their requirements are unrealistic?
They may have set unreasonable deadlines?
Circumstances can change.
Suppose an existing client needs to extend a project and you don’t have the required resources?
Or you find out that the client doesn’t have the budget that you thought they had.
Although you’ve invested time in the opportunity that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get out.
With any opportunity, one thing you need to do is keep finding out more about it.
Keep asking questions to learn about the clients true needs.
From the customer perspective, this is done because you want to offer them the best solution possible.
But you are also using questions to find out whether you can deliver that solution.
At regular points during the opportunity take a look back at your original decision to bid. Is it still the right decision now that you have more information available?
You should plan and use structured methodologies for qualification throughout the bidding process.
This helps you make objective decisions and justify the time and resources spent pursuing the opportunity.
Constant qualification also allows you to see where you need to change your bid.
You may want to continue with the opportunity but realise that you need to strengthen a particular area of your bid.
Or you may decide the cost of winning an opportunity will be more than you can accept. It may take too many of your resources, or not provide the profit you need to sustain your own business.
With constant qualification and evaluation you can keep your bid focused and moving in the right direction, towards the solution that the client needs.
Overall, the goal is to continuously evaluate how good a fit any one opportunity is for your business. Realistically assess your win chances.
Qualifying for those contracts gives you a greater understanding of what your business needs to succeed.
No other way can more effectively pinpoint the areas where you need to improve.