Ban The Bid! Quash The Quote!


Share on LinkedIn

Back in January, I realized I was wrong about proposals. I don’t do them anymore. I admonish clients and colleagues when they talk about writing one. A Recommendation Summary, while extremely similar, is profoundly different. And it’s much more than semantics. As an outsider, I humbly submit my proposal for possible consideration by the all-powerful decision maker to whom I must defer. As an insider, I offload the tough task of preparing a set of recommendations to address a pressing issue from the harried, overworked customer executive and am appreciated as a high-value team member.

As strongly as I feel about punting proposals, that’s nothing compared to the disdain I feel for quotes and bids. A price quote has a rightful place in one situation and one situation only. It makes sense only when selling an undifferentiated commodity for a company that provides only the absolute minimum in service and laughs at the idea of post sale support.

Show me the rep who feels his or her products and services are commodity items, and I’ll show you someone who needs to pursue a different career path. Sorry to be blunt, but if you’re submitting quotes – ever – you deserve to have your sales rep membership card summarily revoked.

Then there’s the bid. At least a quote is easy to prepare. With a bid, I need to chase influencers all around the building begging for bits and pieces of information. My only condolence is that I can watch all my competitor reps sadly scooting about too. Then we scurry on back to the office to make sure all the RFP forms are properly completed. Doesn’t feel professional. Feels a bit like being an indentured servant.

Look, I’m pragmatic enough to know that quotes and bids are extremely solid fixtures in the decision processes of many, actually most, customers. We won’t sweep ’em into history’s dustbin any time soon.

But sweep we must!!!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Todd Youngblood
Todd Youngblood is passionate about sales productivity. His 3+ year career in Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Consulting has focused on selling more, better, cheaper and faster. He established The YPS Group, Inc. in 1999 based on his years of experience in Sales Process Engineering – that is, combining creativity and discipline in the design, implementation and use of work processes for highly effective sales teams.


  1. Todd: great insight. One way to figure out whether to respond to RFP’s, quotes, bids, etc. is to examine the outcomes when they’ve been used in the past. Many years ago, I recognized that my success rate with commercial RFP’s was so low, I stopped responding to them. Later, I was in a sales training program and the instructor recommended simply measuring the thickness of the RFP, and measuring an equivalent depth of marketing material, combining it in a three-ring binder, and sending it to the requester. No muss, no fuss. And no wasted effort because he was confident that the stack of glossies would receive the same cursory read as a carefully composed question-by-question response.

    But because I live near the home of the Federal government and DoD, companies should know that a no-RFP policy would eliminate them from contention on any government sales opportunities.

  2. Andrew,

    Thanks for the additional thoughts. Govt & DoD DO make it necessary to live in that world, BUT… Would still encourage those selling into that market to work like crazy to do the pre-RFP selling & to WRITE the darn thing!



Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here