With no prizes for second place, tenders are an expensive business. It can be a costly exercise in terms of time and money, and in most cases a shotgun approach will not work. To be successful you need to develop a winning bid strategy and ensure a well-planned approach. Many businesses are restricted on time and find pitching an overwhelming prospect with limited resources.
What can I do to prepare before I submit my first tender? How to set up your Tender Toolkit.
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...
Does your organisation still implement a shotgun approach and bid for everything? Do any of these statements sound familiar?
“We have to bid, its strategic”
“We were invited, we’re in with a chance”
“We probably won’t win, but we need to put forward a bid”
Have you ever been the incumbent on a large ‘must win’ contract, and lost it during a competitive tender process? We often have clients come to us because they have lost a key, long term contract, and they are devastated, and keen to make sure they don’t lose another one.
How do graphics effect the chances of your tender or proposal being read, understood, and invited to presentation?
Did you know that the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text? Or, perhaps most importantly, that images are processed by long term memory whilst text is processed within the short-term memory? One study has found that presenters who use visual aids are 43% more effective in getting people to do what they want (University of Minnesota School of Management).
Research by 3M shows visuals have been found to improve learning by up to 400%.
Companies wanting to present an idea to a prospective partner or to take advantage of an opportunity in the market often come to us looking for advice on how to present the information. When we look over the work they have already completed, we find that there are three common mistakes almost every small and medium sized business makes – and it always negatively affects their changes of a successful outcome. In fact, many companies confess once that have previously received feedback that matches one of these three mistakes from a document they have submitted:
What’s an RFT, ITT and RFP? How do I know what the different tender documents are?
Whilst government tenders over a certain threshold are required by Australian law to advertise via the AusTender portal (under the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs)), large organisations, corporations and multi-nationals have their own set of internal procurement rules which govern how they approach purchasing and supply. In many cases this includes establishing thresholds within which departments or individuals can authorise purchases, and a set of rules about how they must carry out the purchase.
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. We have a 7-step process to ensure your messaging is on point.
Document layout and graphic illustrations are often a highly underrated element of bid preparation. The layout of a bid, and use of various graphics help to optimise the chance of the reader understanding and interpreting the full win strategy and key messaging intended by the tenderer.
Late last year I was in Sydney working on a unique government tender. The department set some of the strictest word limits I’ve ever seen. 3000 characters per response. That’s less than 500 words to explain what the tendering company does, how they intend to meet the Request for Tender (RFT) criteria, and the entire pitch for each region.
Well, I do love a challenge, and this didn’t disappoint! But its also left me pondering how I can take away some lessons to pass on to the benefit of my team, clients and customers.
It is essential to get input from these specialists and ensure the solution is appropriate for each client, and fully responds to the question. However, these experts tend to be highly experienced and knowledgeable, and the reams of content they produce can sometimes be overwhelming to those from other parts of the business, or indeed outside of the business.
One of the key elements to managing a tender are the stakeholders involved. Timeframes are tight, and bidding teams tend to bring together specialists and management from right across the business; a group of people of all levels of the organisation who don’t necessarily work together often.
Often when clients approach us for help writing a business proposal or tender response, they are after help with persuasive writing. The content of the document often requires input from a range of different technical leads, sector experts and operations staff – and many of these people are not writers.
See my top five tips for writing a persuasive document, aimed at helping the prospect to understand the offer or opportunity you’re hoping they will accept.
Bidding creates a high-pressure, deadline-driven environment, often over a limited timeframe, and often bringing together a team of people who have not worked in a cohesive group-work situation together before. This presents a unique environment that needs to be managed carefully.
See my list of key considerations that will help you make an informed decision about selecting the right Bid Manager for your next ‘must win’ bid.
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