Every company wants to increase their bid win rate. While it might seem like you have to bid more to win more, implementing the shotgun approach and bidding for everything often backfires. In reality, bidding on fewer opportunities means you can focus your team on those bids you have the best chance of winning. Yet many companies continue to bid for everything, losing tenders and reducing morale in the process.
As sales and executives start off the new year with new sales targets – or in some cases deficits – the panic sets in and the old ‘we’ve got to be in it to win it’ madness sets in.
In the bidding industry there is a common myth that bid managers burn out and leave bid teams at approximately two-year mark. This leads to additional costs in the bid team including recruitment (around $10,000 for most corporates) and training (six months minimum) as well as lost productivity during this time.
Implementing a robust decision process is one of the quickest ways to increase your win rate, which in turn leads to better qualified leads, reduced workload, reduced stress, and perhaps most importantly – more time and resources to spend pursuing the right opportunities for your business and improving your team, tactics and toolkit.
When companies get strategic about where they direct their bidding resource, great things happen.
1. People are motivated
Working as an in-house bid manager, there was nothing more deflating to be told that we had no chance of winning the bids we were working on. We were still expected to work overtime to get them finished – and ‘give it my best shot’ – but it was very demotivating to be told time and again that my work was all in vain. The news that we had not even been shortlisted was often salt to the wound, and it was a tough call keeping any form of morale some weeks.
Setting up a robust decision process can help motivate team members and ensure the bidding efforts are targeted. Knowing there’s a reasonable chance at winning helps keep team morale high throughout the bidding process, creating better bids, a happier bid team and a higher win rate.
2. You spend less money
Bid team attrition rates tend to be quite high. Generally, across all industries, the standard tenure in a bid team is approximately two years. Recruitment costs tend to average around $10,000 per person in Australia, and it takes around six months to train a new joiner into the company’s bid tactics and toolkit.
3. You make more money
It might be no brainer, but it’s worth saying that winning more work means increasing the top line revenue. The more you win, the more you make. And the more successful the business is, and the more revenue available to get on and do what you do best.
4. You make better margins
Spending more time and effort on each bid means you can get more strategic and concentrate on innovative commercial models. This is where the rubber hits the road and things get interesting.
5. You get better
Often bids are written because an opportunity has come up and there are no better options at the time. So the bid team gets assigned and starts working on yet another bid they won’t win. Just imagine if that team, instead of wasting their energies on a lost deal, focused on mining their best bids for best practice, or ran a training course on how to write executive summaries or how to best develop bid strategy. What if they ran a lessons learned workshop focusing on two of their most recent wins and losses? Or they wrote three new case studies? Or they went out to see the business operations they were writing about and actually talked to the operations teams? The opportunities for improvement are almost endless.
6. You win more work
Sounds obvious but the effects of winning are far reaching. Winning is fuel for many bid and sales teams. The more they feel success, the more their spirits lift. The more they are motivated. The more they learn about what works. And it becomes a force-multiplier.