It's always been an acceptable practice in sales and marketing to track the preferences and activities of your targets. 

In the early days companies would develop vast databases of customer information to create typical profiles against which firms could design their marketing campaigns. More recently, user mapping has enabled marketers to use retargetting and other clever tactics to push and persuade you to buy products and services. These techniques can also be used to help optimise both the sales process and the placement of information on web pages.

The techniques used to profile and track activity, either within your website or across the web, have interesting applications for bidding world. Identified as one of the six technologies that could change the future of business development by Wayne Elsey, if the techniques could be applied to the bidding process we could see a very different approach to bidding.

The general rule of bidding effort is to apply the most effort where the points are highest. If price holds the biggest weighting, then focus on your commercials. If your social value proposals hold double the weighting of your methodology, you naturally spend more time finessing and refining your SV solution. However, where you're lacking a descriptive marking scheme, the ability to track user activity within your proposal document could provide vital information to help you tailor your approach. 

Imagine a bid proposal where you know what the readers have read, focused on and shared with colleagues. 

In an individual pitch, you would be able to work out which of the CVs the client team focused on and then tailor future interactions to either emphasise or play down those people's role. Does the client team spend the most time looking at the CV of the account director (who'll inevitably be first in the CV pack and at the top of your org chart) or do they focus on the project lead? 

Similarly, if you could map user activity within the document, you could start to work out whether they spend the most time going through the fine details of your delivery methodology or do they spend the most time reading your company profile. Do people really skip and throw out the executive summary, or does it become the most read and most important piece of your proposal? 

Thinking about a repeatable bid process (eg. framework mini-competitions) the data collected would enable you to A-B test different bid layouts, change the emphasis of documents based on data received and ultimately increase your chances of securing a win. 

I've seen some very expensive options for embedding code into bid documents (five-six figures expensive), but perhaps if you've got a repeatable bid or a major proposal there could be a justification for the outlay?