As a result, the manufacturer offered clients like Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Rolls Royce Jet Engines shorter design cycles and a much more predictable production schedule. This earned the composite manufacturer contracts at a price premium because its unique capability helped clients reduce costs, eliminate schedule delays due to manufacturability issues and hit delivery dates. Additionally, you can be sure that they were easily able to avoid future competitive bake-offs since they offered significant value on a completely different level.

Approaching your customers earlier in the buying cycle is as much a mindset shift as anything else. Jumping into the process in Steps 1-3 means shifting the focus of your business development away from answering exclusively RFP/RFQ requests and moving toward creating relationships in earlier stages of the buying cycle.

It may involve more up-front work for your team and a more creative strategy for identifying potential new customers. However, the rewards – protecting your margins and securing more long-term customers by avoiding competing in a bake-off – will make it more than worth your while.