Should a Company Hire DIRECT Proposal Consultants?

  |  April 27, 2020

The pressure on Government contractors to produce winning proposals is greater than ever before. In the quest to survive and thrive, companies must strategize, plan, and use their proposal budgets in the most efficient manner possible.

In this article we address the question: Should companies hire direct independent proposal consultants or not? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using direct proposal consultants? Under what circumstances does it make sense to use proposal consultants hired direct? And what alternatives are available?

Pro

Some companies, especially small businesses, try to hire proposal consultants directly. This typically enables them to obtain the talent at a cost savings of 10 – 25%.

Con

There are several negatives in using direct proposal consultants:
1. The consultants are usually not well vetted
2. There is no recourse if there is a problem such as illness or bad work
3. It is almost impossible for a company to get a good skills match when hiring consultants direct. For example a writer with experience in a certain technology at a specific agency and with a personality that fits the corporate culture.
4. Those companies that have HR engage the directs have a special problem because, for some unknown reason, HR is usually not able to select the right proposal consultant. (This is usually because they don’t know where is the point at which lower priced talent falls beneath the required skill level. So lower price is usually seen as better.)
5. Companies that use direct consultants nearly always fail to consider the cost for them to serve as their own agency in going through the process of trying to recruit, qualify, and select proposal talent.

When is it good to use Direct Proposal Consultants?

A few companies happen to have a cadre of retired proposal professionals still living in the community. This talent pool can offer an advantage, because these personnel already know the company and proposal process. The company knows the personnel as to their skills, personality, and limitations.

Alternatives to using Direct Talent

Especially as companies become more mature, they incline to use proposal service agencies. Some thoughts on getting the most cost-effective service from agencies are as follows:
1. Find an agency that is a cultural fit for your company
2. You usually get the best deal from a mid-cost agency. The low-cost groups come with risk. The high-cost groups usually don’t have any added value beyond a more-advertised name.
3. Consider taking all of your business to one qualified agency in return for a contract with discounted prices.

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