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Internal Advocates During a Proposal

The other day, we conducted a webinar about best practices for submitting B2B Proposals. It's part of a series of webinars celebrating this, our 35th year in the Sales Training Business. We had more questions than we could answer in the time we had so we decided to respond here on the blog. For the past couple of days, we've been posting the questions and our responses.We talked about the importance of developing an Internal Advocate - someone who can sell on your behalf inside the account even when you're not there. This person (or these people) will be in a position to feed you information about what best to include in your proposal. Here are a few questions about the Internal Advocate:Q: Is it best to ask internal advocates for permission to engage other decision-makers? Yes. You should seek guidance from your Internal Advocate regarding the process and people involved in the decision. Always gather as much intelligence as you can from whatever resources that are available to you. Often, this involves asking the internal advocate for suggestions. Q: Is it okay if the advocate is working with more than one proposer? Yes...but, that's not ideal. The best internal advocates are the people who want you to earn the business. They are, in every sense, advocating for your success. It's one thing if they're merely helping your competition through the process, but not "pulling for them." Don't confuse an "escort" (someone whose job it is to help you through the process) with an internal advocate. They're two different roles. Q: Is it okay to build options into your proposal if the internal advocate thinks that's a good way to go? Yes! If your internal advocate makes a suggestion that will help you win the deal, do it! In other words, if your internal advocate is giving you information, act on it. Always, of course, seek to understand why they're encouraging you to pursue a particular option. But the bottom line is this: Always seek information and insight from your Internal Advocates! And act on it when appropriate. Do you have any good experiences with internal advocates you can share? - @JebBrooks