New to the game, tech guy on the proposal team

7 replies
:confused:Hello everybody,

I'm a software developer by trade who has rose through the ranks to eventually manage multimillion dollar software projects for both the commercial and government sectors. My company has recently moved me over to the business development team, more specifically, to help with proposals.

My writing capabilities stellar and don't even compare with writers by trade. I'm not really much of a salesman, I don't have deep experience telling a compelling story which matches a clients values.

I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. I don't anticipate the company directly assisting and training me to bridge my skills to a marketing and proposal context. My question is, does the warrior forum community have any material that I can read to start bending the learning curve in my favor? Any other advise?

Thanks for your time!
#game #guy #proposal #team #tech
  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    Perhaps if you re-wrote this in plain English (in short, simple sentences that any five year old would understand) we might be able to help you. Kill all the corporate-speak.

    For instance - what does "My writing capabilities stellar" mean?

    What means "I don't have deep experience telling a compelling story which matches clients values". I have no idea.

    What is "bridge my skills to a marketing and proposal context"?

    What on earth do you mean by "start bending the learning curve in my favor"?

    And it's "advice" not "advise".

    Perhaps you should stick to software development rather than writing proposals.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    You're looking at this backwards.

    Don't concern yourself with what everybody else on the team does.

    Here's why YOU'RE on the team:

    The Client implicitly trusts YOU. Why?

    Because you're the technician.

    The marketing guys will get up and do their dog and pony show. You get to watch. Stay silent and stoic. Look grim. Occasionally take notes.

    At some point in the conversation, the prospective Client will turn to you and ask:

    "What do you think? Can we/you do this project?"

    Your job is to pause, look constipated, wring your hands a bit and say in a quiet voice:

    "Yes." (Do not say anything more. Allow for the pregnant pause.)

    The Client will say "Good, let's do this then."

    Your biggest asset is your title. The more technical and highfalutin it is, the better. The marketing guys will introduce you and say something like "We brought the big guns along. Meet X, he's our Technical X."

    Occasionally, you may ask questions. Keep'em simple, like "What do you guys make here?"

    These do nothing more than help the Client build rapport with you. You do not have to build rapport with him. It's assumed technicians do not know how to communicate with humans.

    Any attempt you make to establish communication will be viewed as a superhuman effort on your part.

    The less you say the better for you and the team.

    Welcome to marketing.

    - Rick Duris

    PS: If you think I'm kidding about this, I'm not.
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    • Profile picture of the author jdcoder
      I agree with your insight into working directly with the customer. Capturing information and working through solutions face to face is fun, easy, and what I excel at.

      What I'm really struggling with is helping the creative writers create technically accurate 100 - 200 page proposals. Crafting technical strengths, featureless, benefits, can values in a way that I non technical person can pick up the ball and run.

      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      You're looking at this backwards.

      Don't concern yourself with what everybody else on the team does.

      Here's why YOU'RE on the team:

      The Client implicitly trusts YOU. Why?

      Because you're the technician.

      The marketing guys will get up and do their dog and pony show. You get to watch. Stay silent and stoic. Look grim. Occasionally take notes.

      At some point in the conversation, the prospective Client will turn to you and ask:

      "What do you think? Can we/you do this project?"

      Your job is to pause, look constipated, wring your hands a bit and say in a quiet voice:

      "Yes." (Do not say anything more. Allow for the pregnant pause.)

      The Client will say "Good, let's do this then."

      Your biggest asset is your title. The more technical and highfalutin it is, the better. The marketing guys will introduce you and say something like "We brought the big guns along. Meet X, he's our Technical X."

      Occasionally, you may ask questions. Keep'em simple, like "What do you guys make here?"

      These do nothing more than help the Client build rapport with you. You do not have to build rapport with him. It's assumed technicians do not know how to communicate with humans.

      Any attempt you make to establish communication will be viewed as a superhuman effort on your part.

      The less you say the better for you and the team.

      Welcome to marketing.

      - Rick Duris

      PS: If you think I'm kidding about this, I'm not.
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  • Profile picture of the author vk3
    Rick, I love you.

    What fantastic copy... read that three times JDCoder; take it in and replicate!
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  • Rick that was a super nice post.
    I smiled when I readed it.
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  • Q: How can you tell an extroverted engineer?
    A: When he talks to you, he looks at your shoes instead of his own
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    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Thanks for the kudos.

    In a prior life, I did exactly what I'm advocating above.

    Trust me, everything is choreographed.

    Done right, in front of the Client, the technician's stature on a software business development team is elevated to that of a minor god.

    The Client, on a multi-million dollar deal, is looking for assurance, for confidence he's making the right decision.

    He doesn't know. His job is on the line if the project goes south.

    His people, the influencers who are whsipering in his ear, they have no experience with the technology. Plus they're overworked. And they have hidden agendas.

    He knows this too.

    So who does he turn too? Who does he turn to who is not a bullsh*t artist? Who does he turn to he can trust?

    The technician.

    - Rick Duris
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