7 Steps to run a Successful Workshop and Develop Strong Win Strategies

written by Robin Hastings
3 · 10 · 17

Does your organisation have a proven bid win success strategy?

Does the whole team understand the process to follow in establishing win themes and value proposition?

Could anyone in the team run a workshop to develop your strategy for a successful tender?

There are many different buzz words used for bid strategy. Some call it the value proposition, differentiators, win themes, win strategy. The truth is, it’s all about ensuring your messaging is aligned to a strategy for success. It’s about making sure the bid continually reiterates the same message, so that every response is aligned to the prospective client’s requirements and your solution.

The more you move towards a mature bid process, the more consistency you will find with your wins and feedback. The more you will find that your prospective client felt you really understood their needs and what they were looking for. And the more you will find that these contracts, after 6 months, 12 months, 2 years – are still strong. Because establishing the foundations right from the beginning, based on a willingness to understand your prospective client, will always ensure you build a robust proposal, supported by a well thought through solution that suits their specific needs.

We use a 7-step method as part of our Tender Success Model that ensures anyone in the bid team can run a successful workshop and develop a strong win strategy.

  1. Audience: Who is responsible for making the decisions about this purchase or grant? What level of influence over the decision do they have?
  2. Problems: Outline the prospect’s problems and pain points.
  3. Results: What are your prospects aspiring to? What will the resulting situation look like after you have helped them?
  4. Evidence: Where have you helped similar clients with similar problems? What did you do? What worked?
  5. Solution: Outline the elements of your solution that will provide these results and solve the prospect problems.
  6. Concept: Summarise the elements of the solution into a high-level concept for the client – aligned to their anticipated results.
  7. Issues: Consider any issues that your prospect may come up with, and provide them with confidence as to why these are unlikely to eventuate.


1. Audience

How do you know what they want if you haven’t asked them?

One of the most important elements in tendering – as in all sales – is understanding your target audience, and your prospective client.

At the heart of every purchase decision are individuals who have been tasked with certain roles and responsibilities.

The Principal company will be have a dedicated Evaluation Panel, consisting of a procurement lead and other members of the project or contract for which you are tendering.

These individuals will be the ones tasked with making the ultimate decision, however it is important to remember that there is always more than one stakeholder involved.

The following three types of audience should always be considered in your evaluation of the win strategy.

  • Assessment Panel
  • Advisors
  • Advocates

2. Problems

What drives the decision making?

Each individual involved in the process will have a different reason for agreeing to your proposal and making the decision to purchase. They will have their own key issues/pain points/hot buttons that keep them awake at night. Your job is to work out what these are and align the response to meeting their needs.

3. Results

What outcomes are they looking for?

What outcomes will the prospect enjoy as a result of a successful outcome? What will the situation look like for them AFTER you have provided and implemented your proposal?

Once you have been through the process of clearly articulating the key players involved, and you understand the problems they are trying to solve, describe the future situation you hope to help them achieve.

These should be measurable and exact. It can also be thought of as the ‘benefits’. By clearly describing the results you are leading the prospect to picture the new scenario – to see themselves or their company in the future state, free of their current problem.

4. Experience

Where have you done this before?

Experience involves consideration of the previous clients you have worked with, services performed, and contracts currently or previously held.

What examples can use to illustrate where you have solved a similar problem for a similar client?

5. Solution

What will your company do to meet the scope of the RFT?

The next key section of the workshop process should be the solution. Our bidding process makes very clear distinction between the internal ‘solution’, and the external ‘concept’. The reason for this is that elements of the solution developed within this workshop should be drawn out of the matrix and used to form a new internal document, which is built upon throughout the rest of the live bidding process, and eventually used as a handover to the transition in team, once the contract has been won.

We encourage consideration of the following seven elements in your solution:

  • People
  • Procurement
  • Operations
  • Systems
  • Value Add
  • Cost
  • Transition

Articulation of a full and thorough solution is something which is often carried out in bid ‘war rooms’ with a group of people dedicated specifically to the pitch. And one of the key failings in project and contract success after contract award is a lack of follow through by the operations and contract management team. Often, this comes down to a simple lack of communication from the bid team – which is rushed off to start their next intensive project, and the incoming operational team, who will never know what they don’t know.

6. Concept

What are the themes of this offer?

The concept, by comparison, should be carefully crafted to articulate an offer to the prospective client. This section will become the outline of your win strategy within the bid. Aligned directly to the problems and results, the concept should provide a high level model of the offer and how you intend to meet the RFT requirements. It should show the prospective client what you hope to deliver and achieve, without giving away your methodology.

7. Issues

Is there an elephant in the room?

During a bid strategy workshop I like to run the team through any issues or concerns that may arise in the mind of the audience. There is always a ‘but’; a hesitation in someone’s mind that they need to work through. The APRESCI process encourages identification of these issues at the beginning of the process, and continually throughout. When your team gets invited to present the proposal, this will be an invaluable tool for preparation. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room – address it head on.


This article was originally published by Robin Hastings on LinkedIn – view here.


Robin Hastings

Managing Director & Founder of PitchThis, Robin is a senior bid manager and corporate writer with extensive experience in bidding and project management across corporate, public and NFP sectors.

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