APMP Inks Global Book Deal

April 30, 2015 – APMP has inked a book deal with the world renowned Wiley Publications to produce the Writing Business Bids & Proposals For Dummies book that will hit store shelves Dummiesglobally in early in 2016.   The publishers contacted staff in February 2015 and we have been quietly negotiating with them to close the book deal.

The book will give APMP and its members exposure and bookshelf space it could have never afforded.  It will help consumers, marketing professionals and SMEs and others who are new to the proposal process to understand the complexities of writing an excellent proposal.   Clearly this book is not targeted for the seasoned APMP proposal veteran, but it is strategically positioned to introduce the next generation of proposal writers, coordinators, and managers to APMP.  The book will be a product of APMP’s Commercial Community chaired by Robin Davis of Metre Works and Melissa DeMaio of Ernst and Young.

APMP members are busy writing the book following the strict For Dummies guidelines.  The book is intended for the entry-level market who most likely know nothing about APMP or the art and science of proposal writing. Our goal is to make them aware of APMP best practices as defined in the APMP BOK, so they will want to learn more from our consultant members and ultimately become part of APMP’s growing family.

When working on the deal, the publishers told us, “At Wiley, through the For Dummies guides, we aim to ensure that information on how to write business bids and proposals is made accessible to the general consumer/business market, and SMEs in particular, who might not know how to tackle what could be seen as quite a complex area of business strategy.”

APMP’s logo will be featured on the book and spine and will be acknowledged as the authoring organization.

Wiley’s Books for Dummies property is the world’s best-selling reference guide with collection that has been translated into 30+ languages and sold in 100+ companies.

According to Wiley research, US consumers own an average of three For Dummies books and a new For Dummies book is bought once every minute in the UK.

Consultants Unite: “APMP is the First Association to Contact Us On This Issue”

April 28, 2015 – APMP’s campaign (Consultants Unite) to make Capitol Hill leaders aware of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (RFP) No. VA118-15-R-0558 that prohibits consultants from participating in the task order phase of the RFP took a new turn Monday.

APMP met with Julie Dunn, Senior Counsel, House Committee on Government Operations, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform who is the point person on procurement and acquisition related issues and Emily Murphy, Senior Counsel, shutterstock_59994709Committee on Small Business, US House of Representatives.  Both said they were surprised when the RFP was released with the restrictive consultant language and were even more surprised that APMP was the first association to approach them on the issue.

When first released, both Ms. Dunn and Ms. Murphy thought the issue would become a rallying cry professional and trade groups throughout the US who represent consultants. “So far, APMP is the first association to have contacted us and we’re really surprised by that,” said Ms. Dunn.

Both agreed with APMP that the VA language threatened consultants and created a “slippery slope” for inclusion of future language.  Both thought the intent of the VA was to ensure that its contractors truly knew the complex IT issues and could explain it in the task order.  However, both understood APMP’s position that intelligent people responding to the task order and subsequent RFP don’t always make for the best writers or communicators.  They agreed that professional consultants in the proposal industry are hired to help the SMEs win new work and are significant contributors to the process and APMP should protect their interests.

Ms. Murphy was emphatic that the VA’s language is a blow to small businesses everywhere that regularly hire consultants for their proposal work.  She believes the language could restrict smaller companies from competing, an opinion shared by APMP.

When asked if the exclusion of consultants restricted to a task order rather, than the entire proposal downgraded APMP’s position, Ms. Dunn said that it is neither more or less significant because the task order is part of the proposal pie and should be view with the same importance.

APMP laid out its plan to address the issue further and received advice from Ms. Dunn and Ms. Murphy to schedule more meetings on the Hill, talk to the original contractor that protested the restrictive VA language, meet with like-minded associations to build a coalition and report back to them on the mood of those APMP has talked to.  If the information we receive and share is significant, both said the APMP led issue could warrant a future Congressional hearing.

The Next Steps for APMP:  Through its Procurement Improvement Committee, APMP will continue to schedule the meetings suggested to protect its consultant members.   We will also continue to keep you posted on all subsequent meetings.

APMP Consultant Members Unite — First Meeting on Capitol Hill Set. Send Us Your Questions & Comments to Share.

Much has been written and discussed over the past few weeks about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (RFP) No. VA118-15-R-0558 on November 19, 2014 for information technology (IT) services.  In case you haven’t heard, the VA included language that prohibits consultants from participating in the task order phase of the RFP.   Then the GAO recently upheld the VA’s language when it denied a protest challenging its intent.

As one of our APMP consultant members recently said, “Most of the time, BD consultants are brought in to help the SME’s better articulate the message so that the Government can better understand the solution and make it easier to pick the best solution provider.  Intelligence and expertise does not mean the SMEs are great communicators/writers.”  APMP believes that nothing could be truer than these words.

Our first meeting on Capitol Hill shutterstock_59994709is next week with a Senior Counsel of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  We chose to start with this Committee because they have legislative and oversight jurisdiction over government and accounting measure, including procurement.  We will be meeting with the point person on the Committee for procurement and acquisition related issues.

If you have a question or concern about this issue that you would like us to share with the Committee and their team, please send to me at rick.harris@apmp.org before 5:00 PM EDT on Friday April 24, 2015.

Know that APMP’s PIC is in this for the long haul and this is the first of many meetings on this topic we will schedule.  We will report back to you on the progress in future APMP Exec Direct blogs.

New APMP Corporate Brochure Ready For You

April 20, 2015 – APMP has something new for you this Monday.  It is a brand-new spanking 12 page APMP Corporate Brochure that tells a great story about your association.  We’re publishing here first so all of our APMP Exec Direct blog readers see it before anyone else.

The new APMP Corporate Brochure is loaded with fast facts and iAPMP Corporate Brochurenfo-friendly graphics to help you and those outsiders (potential members) understand the benefits of joining APMP.  This will help you better understand what APMP does for its 6,200+ members globally everyday.

The 12-page electronic brochure features a brief overview, how to take advantage of APMP networking opportunities, APMP certification statistics, membership analysis, tools, members types and corresponding benefit and much more.

With a corporate design and an executive feel , the new APMP Corporate Brochure is ready for prime time!  The brochure will be sent ahead of all APMP meetings with corporate member prospects, the media, elected officials, senior-decision makers and all others who want to know about APMP.

We believe the most important part of the brochure are the member quotes from proposal professionals just like you.  We’re close  to completing the European (A4) version and will e-mail to all those on the continent when ready.

Enjoy the brochure, share with your company’s senior management and by all means, feel free to repost and retweet.

And The Winners Are….

April 17, 2015 – On Monday April 13, 2015 we snuck a mention on the bottom of our post about 2014 certification stats.  Specifically it invited you enter your name in one of two random draws (or a Lucky Dip as our friends at APMP UK like to call it) for a free certification exam, courtesy of APMP’s Exec Direct blog.

We are giving one certification exam away to one lucky winner in the United States and one Foundation exam away to someone internationally.

After receiving dozens of entries, we held the random draw this morning and this is the first and only place where we will announce the winners.

Drumroll please…shutterstock_16088776

  • The US winner is Wanda Ortiz-Maysonet, Proposals Manager at Broadband Network Solutions in beautiful Shakopee, MN. Ms. Maysonet calls the APMP Greater Midwest Chapter
  • The International winner is Farah Al Nasser, Bid Manager at METHOD, Co. in equally idyllic Amman, Jordan. Ms. Al Nasser is part of the APMP UK chapter.

Since both have already completed their APMP Foundation Level exams, we’re going to upgrade them to their next level APMP Practitioner Certification Exam.  We’ll be in touch with you both to tell you how to receive your prize.

We want to thank everyone who entered and remind you to keep reading the APMP Exec Direct blog for other chances to win.  Read it all the way through because you never know what or when you’ll have the chance to win.

Congratulations to Ms. Ortiz-Maysonet and Ms. Al Nasser for reading APMP’s Exect Direct all the way through and winning with APMP!

APMP Consultants Unite: We’re Taking This Fight To Capitol Hill

There are times when an agency in the US Government puts out RFP language that is so perplexing that it begs a reaction.  shutterstock_59994709That happened recently when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released (RFP) No. VA118-15-R-0558 on November 19, 2014 for information technology (IT) services.

In its own language, the VA states, “Notably, the RFP expressly prohibits offerors from using consultants to assist them in preparing their sample task responses.  Id. at 119.  In this regard, the RFP requires an offeror to certify, using a form provided with the RFP, that its sample task responses were prepared only by the offeror and its subcontractors, provided that any such subcontractor has entered into a contractor team arrangement (CTA) with the offeror and is identified in the offeror’s management proposal.  Id.  The RFP provides that the agency will not consider proposals which do not include the certification or which provide a falsified certification.”

To make a long story short, proposal consultants are not welcome on this RFP and APMP strongly disagrees with this language and its intent.  To compound this problem, the GAO denied a protest filed by Advanced Communication Cabling, Inc. (ACC) in Michigan.  ACC challenged the VA “no contractor” stipulation and cited it as unfair to a small-to-medium-sized company. They said that it inhibited their ability to compete.

APMP PIC is prepared to tackle this issue head-on for the following reasons:

  • This does not promote collaboration between Industry and Government.  It also does not promote a better proposal submission – two hallmarks of APMP PIC’s mission.
  • Even as member companies are hustling to find “work-arounds,” this directly impacts about 11 percent of APMP’s members who make their living as proposal consultants.
  • This action openly discriminates against small-to-medium companies who routinely hire consultants to do proposals. It demonstrates (whether intentionally or not) that Government should only do business with large companies, because large companies can afford full service proposal teams.  A significant number of APMP members are small-to-medium sized companies.
  • This action will impact Veteran owned consulting businesses, and we are sure the VA had no intention of turning their backs on them.

APMP plans to take this issue on aggressively.  We are starting to schedule meetings with Congressional staff on the Hill.  We are going to ask a lot of questions and specifically inquire how this decision could impact their future RFPs. We are going to let them know how much this hurts our members.  We will also suggest positive alternatives that don’t prohibit one side of the industry from doing business. This ruling is important to our industry and to every consultant working a proposal today and in the future.  We know there is a reason for this VA language, but as an industry, we don’t have to like it.

We will keep you posted on this important battle-ground-procurement-issue and urge all consultants to let us know what they think below.  Please share with us your comments and concerns so we can take them straight to Capitol Hill.

APMP Certification Stats and Keep Reading, Already

April 13, 2015 – Let’s take a quick look at APMP’s 2014 logo_certification__primarycCertification Stats and compare them with 2013 numbers.  Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to believe how well our certification planning, execution and the resulting growth are going.

APMP is quickly becoming known as a go-to-association to model a certification program after because like the old Ronco television commercial used to say, “It really, really works.”  To date, the Society of Technical Communicators and the Association of Strategic Alliance Partnerships have each reached out to APMP over the last few months to ask how we do it.

Let’s go to the numbers:

  • APMP Foundation Level Certification increased 11 percent from 2013 (909) to 2014 (1,013).
  • APMP Practitioner was only down four percent in 2014 (90) to 2013 (94).
  • APMP Professional Level Certification was off 37 percent from in 2014 (10) to 2013 (16).
  • Overall APMP had nine percent increase in total certification from 2013 (1,019) to 2014 (1,113).

What a difference 10 years makes when we launched the APMP Certification program in 2004.  The yearly totals were slightly more conservative:

  • Foundation had 55 early adopters
  • Practitioner had a grand total of one
  • and we had zero at the Professional Level

We are we growing so consistently 10 years later?

  • APMP’s Director of Certification Charlie Divine is on top of every detail of the program
  • Our Approved Training Organizations (ATOs) are championing the program throughout the world
  • Our members trust and believe in certification (thanks again Charlie and ATOs)
  • We’ve proven through research that those who are Foundation Level certified earn more thank those who aren’t and separate themselves professionally in the company from those who aren’t certified

Are you still reading?  If so send an e-mail to rick.harris@apmp.org saying “I’m Still Reading” in the subject line along with your contact information and we will enter you in the drawing to receive one of two free APMP Foundation Level Certification Exams ($400 USD value) presented by APMP to one winner in the US and one non-US winner.  Deadline to receive your entry is Thursday April 16, 2015 at 5:00 PM EDT, USA.  The winners will be announced on Friday, April 17, 2015 and you must be a current APMP member to win.