Over the past 25+ years, SABR has been used in multiple companies around the world. Each implementation was customized to meet the needs of the different clients, and done in varying degrees of completeness. In some cases, only parts of our SABR approach were needed because existing processes and systems were in place. In others, more comprehensive implementations occurred. The one constant with implementing our SABR approach, or some of its components, was that each one achieved significant increases in capture efficiency and, most importantly, winning competitive new business.
The following example summarizes the implementation approach, and results attained, within a division of a large telecommunications carrier equipment provider in the 1990s. When the need for implementing a defined process and organization to support the division's global sales efforts arose, the company's established sales organization was winning less than 30 percent of its competitive proposals submitted to major telecommunications carriers and network service providers. The sales organization, combined with Product Management representatives worked long hours to deliver over 200 proposals per year, many of which were in response to RFPs that the organization never even discovered until after customers released them - sometimes with only days to respond. As you would expect, the process for responding to customer RFPs was chaotic to say the least; and generally non-effective.
Like any attempt at change, implementing SABR (called the Automated Worldwide Response Development System [AWRDS] by this company) met with many challenges. The implementation process began by identifying some of the major challenges the organization faced and presenting a staggered approach that immediately addressed those needs that could be more easily met, followed by building upon those successes to gain support for implementing the more challenging portions. Two of the largest success factors in implementing these changes were the support by the executive management team throughout the process and the ability to communicate with the entire organization on the results of each effort.
At the end of a three-year implementation period, the division achieved the following results:
- 106% increase in reaching proposal short-list (aka inclusion in the competitive range)
- 2X increase in competitive proposal win percentage
- Development of a global sales force automation & proposal database tool enabling remote sales teams to address smaller (less strategic) opportunities with high quality reusable product information
- Organic proposal support organization to administer AWRDS tools and databases
- Proposal quality review system by non-advocate teams of senior personnel
- Opportunity assessment questionnaires that enabled improved bid or no bid decision making by executives
- Pre-proposal planning and network design services that focused on delivering customized solutions based on customer needs
- Business Intelligence engagement to create customer business case presentations and integration and use of competitive intelligence (CI) during capture efforts and proposal preparation
- Greatly improved customer satisfaction with quality and completeness of proposals being submitted
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