Bid Winning – Acorn’s Tips for Successful Tendering
Tendering for projects or to become part of a supply framework is commonplace across all industry sectors and for good reason; organisations need to make procurement decisions based on robust criteria and award contracts to the most suitable applicants.
It can be a lengthy and daunting process, and the time involved can be considerable with no guarantee of new business. Whilst the rewards for successful bids can be considerable, rejection can see days, weeks or even months of bid preparation as time that will never be recouped.
Here we offer some guidance to help when compiling your next bid to help ensure your pitch hits the mark.
1. Establish a clear profile of what you will bid for and stick to it.
Know the financial and technical thresholds a tender must pass to be economically viable, technically appropriate and reputation-enhancing in the event that you win it.
2. Review against these thresholds at key points in the process.
Be prepared to pull out – or stick your necks out and put more in. Make sure the decision is made against your original objective criteria, don’t just get sucked along.
3. Define the added value or uniqueness resulting from the make up of your partnership.
This is not just the sum of the parts – what is created by putting these parts together? Consider how you will communicate, demonstrate and live up to this value proposition.
4. Know the bid process – the rules of the game.
Make sure it’s the real rules you are playing by and avoid constraining yourselves unnecessarily by operating in fear of breaking the rules.
5. Understand the culture of the client.
What facets of your partnership will interact most effectively with them? Consider how to manage your own culture and approach to be aligned with the client.
6. Listen to the client, get inside their heads, find out what they really want and even what they fear.
Seems obvious, but how do you know how good you are at this? Don’t be afraid to play back to the client what you’ve understood of what they want. If you have made a ‘mistake’ it’s better to find out sooner rather than later.
7. Establish clear leadership, roles and communication processes in your bid team.
Don’t muddle through as a committee. Roles should match the strengths and experience of the players – they should not be determined simply by financial clout.
8. Invest time in getting to know the other members of the bid team and build strong working relationships.
Until this is done, you are just a paper partnership with little capacity to be truly innovative and responsive to the client.
9. Create a culture of robust honesty and challenge within the partnership.
When necessary, be prepared to take the fight back into the partnering organisations to ensure the commitment of time and expertise to the bid is sustained throughout the process.
10. Don’t just focus on presenting a technical solution.
All organisations, but particularly partnerships, also need to convincingly portray how they will operate as a cohesive and effective entity. The client needs to feel
confident about how the bid winner will interact with them. In our experience, bids are not lost in the latter stages due to questions of technical competence.