Bid & Proposal Conference Denver: Key Takeaways

We just returned from 3 jam-packed days in Denver, Colorado—and we’re still buzzing from all the excitement. There’s just something so special about having real conversations with people in person. Although, remembering how to talk to people was definitely a bit of a learning curve.

In short, APMP’s 2021 Bid and Proposal Conference in Denver was great. It was held at the Gaylord Rockies—an absolutely gigantic hotel outside of Denver, complete with a waterpark. If anything, nobody was complaining about not getting their steps in.

I’d also like to call out what a good job APMP did with COVID precautions. Attendees could order a COVID test to come to your house right before the conference. And everyone needed to submit a health screening form and get their temperature taken before the day’s activities began.

Learning and growing

BPC did not lack in informative sessions. With more than 40 sessions over three days, we definitely left with far greater insights than we came with. Here were a few of our faves:

How to use FBI hostage techniques to get what you want from other people

This session was a huge hit—to the point that people had to stand in the back in order to sit in.

And the speakers, Adele Cehrs and Chip Massey, made some brilliant parallels between the job of an FBI agent and the job of a proposal professional.

When an FBI is in a hostage negotiation, they need to connect with the fugitive. So they approach the situation from the fugitive’s point of view. A good FBI agent will say: “I know what you’re going through. You’re looking over their shoulder, thinking something’s going to happen, you can’t trust anyone… You know you’re going to be brought in eventually. I’m here to help.”

If you looked at things from an FBI agent’s point of view, they’d just say, “Listen, I need to bring you in. So come on.” That’s not very convincing.

Proposal professionals are doing the same thing. They’re understanding the situation from the buyer’s perspective. What is their pain? Why are they seeking the solution? How can you help?

These are all questions a good proposal manager will ask themselves.

Bid Responsibility: Effectively Partnering with the Sales Team

The CEO of Patri, Josh Ellars, started off this presentation with this slide.

After this slide was shown, I imagine everyone in the audience mentally said, “Looks about right.”

A stark difference in headcount isn’t the only thing that’s disconnected between bid and proposal teams. In this presentation, Josh explained what else is missing—and what you can do about it.

Exploring the Future of Response Management

In this session, RFPIO’s very own CEO sat down with the President of APMP, Rick Harris for a “power half hour” coffee. They talked about everything under the sun, including where response management came from, where it’s going, and how the relationship between AI and humans will continue to evolve.

This was a well-attended session that saw lots of audience participation where people were able to interact with Ganesh. It was a really fun session to watch!

Managing the Changing Landscape of Response Management

Change is hard, but necessary. Because the risk of staying the same is much greater than the risk of accepting change.

In this session, Angela Earl, VP of Global Marketing at RFPIO, talked about how response management has changed over time—especially over the last few years.

At the same time, buyer’s expectations are changing. Buyers expect providers to know who they are, what interactions they’ve had, and where they are in the decision-making process. Prospects want to be heard, not herded.

Networking and reconnecting

BPC Denver was absolutely a chance for everyone to regrease those socializing wheels, dust off your electric magenta blazer, and get back out into the world of interacting with people in real life.

Luckily, APMP made networking and reconnecting easy. Here are some of the activities we enjoyed:

Regi-ception

We kicked off the conference with a “Registration + Reception” combo. This helped jumpstart everyone’s socializing skills and get everyone excited for the days ahead. RFPIO sponsored

THE TARA

“TARA” stands for “The Art of Reconnecting Annually”. And APMP did not disappoint. They had a ton of great food (the truffle mac n cheese was my personal fave), a VW bus photo booth, cornhole, ladder ball, and shuffleboard. It was a lot of fun!

RFPIO Booth

To honor the weirdness of the last year and a half, we were giving out some fun, practical SWAG at our booth—hand sanitizer and notebooks.

We also had a lot of fun with a photo booth! Anyone who took a photo at our booth would be entered into our raffle to win a $100 Amazon gift card. We only had four lucky winners, but a lot of wonderful entries!

On Day 2, I felt like everyone could use a bit of a pick me up… so I hyped up the music a bit. And it worked like a charm. As soon as I put on “We Will Rock You” by Queen, a group of people started stomp-stomp-clapping. And to honor their impromptu-ness, Angela, our VP of Global Marketing, gave them all impromptu raffle tickets!

Chapter of the Year: APMP India

Finally, I want to give a shout out to APMP India for winning Chapter of the Year award! This award honors the APMP chapter that demonstrates excellence in chapter sustenance and development through support of APMP initiatives.

Nice work, APMP India! 🎉

Looking forward

After all the fun we had at BPC Denver, we immediately checked when BPC 2022 would be. It’s already scheduled for May 22-25, 2022 in Dallas.

If you’re interested in more APMP events, make sure to register for their upcoming webinar, “How Proposal Teams Can Drive Sales Productivity and Improve Outcomes.” Watch the webinar here (you have to register before you can watch).

Also, make sure to sign up for updates about RISE UP 2022! It will be a fully virtual event, happening February 16-17, 2021.


Kelsey

Kelsey McFarlane is the Events Manager at RFPIO. With 6 years of experience putting on events in sales tech, she’s passionate about creating spaces and opportunities for people to engage and learn from each other. When she’s planning out-of-this-world events, you can find her cheering on the Timbers, exploring craft breweries, and hanging out with her dog Ridgy.

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