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When do many companies decide on who to team with for an RFP or Opportunity? Unfortunately, for many, they start to think about that when the RFP comes out. That typically results in the real key partners already teamed with your competitor, and those that are left, while they may have some perceived strengths (which all to often we over rationalize), may not truly add value to your proposal.

We all know that one of the keys to success in winning new business is to know the customer early and understand their true needs. If you do that, you should also know who they prefer. What companies have provided excellent services in the past and are viewed as good partners or suppliers? While they may not be qualified to prime this opportunity, having them on your team may give you a significant leg up on the competition.

So, its January of 2018 and NOW is the time to look at your funnel of opportunities for this year (and beyond if you really plan well), and start developing your teaming/partnering) strategy early. That strategy should include the list of key partners or suppliers that will enhance your win probability. That means now is the time to start meeting with those suppliers and presenting your case to them as to why you believe, based on your knowledge of the client, that teaming with you is almost a sure win.

Of course, we must avoid the “desperation” partner, the last company standing. We need to understand how they price. Do they have quality people? What are their discriminators? How does the customer truly perceive them? If we start our Capture Process early, these questions will become a key part of our capture methodology.

Based on your funnel and goals for 2018, it may already be too late to pick the winning partners, but, at least give it a try!

Best of Luck for a successful and prosperous 2018.