Positioning your business for tender success
Mind mapping, competitor analysis and journey mapping are all critical to positioning your business to win a tender. They are generally all somewhat fancy words for figuring out the key decision makers in the target organisation, and any contacts your personnel have with them.
In addition, on a business to business level, you need to consider what contacts your organisation has had with the target organisation. Once you gain an understanding of this, the next step is to leverage any contacts. More often than not, throughout the bid preparation period, you are not permitted to speak directly with the client other than through formal procurement channels. That is why your business development and sales preparation process needs to take place prior to the RFP being released.
In addition, throughout your bid, you need to identify your win themes, and also highlight the positive contacts you have had with the client. Talk about how you have been working with them to gain an understanding of their needs and challenges. Link these needs and challenges to your proposed solution and integrate this as a win theme throughout your bid.
A strategy to win
When you start thinking about the best way to prepare for a tender, relationships with the potential client and a good library of information come to mind. You will also need to consider the allocation of resources, availability of key personnel and who is actually going to draft the response.
There is more to consider than the standard issues above. You need to add to your list one critical factor to prepare for a tender that may be looming – your website and other marketing collateral.
The reason is simple – most organisations provide a range of services and tenders and requests for information are usually restricted to a specialised area. Let’s take an insurance and commercial law firm for example. A request for proposal may come in for workplace law services. Without a doubt, even if the workplace law practice group is small, your proposal will talk about your expertise and depth of resources in that area.
That’s fine! In fact – necessary to be on par with other workplace law firms. But how do you prepare for a tender in workplace law, or another small area of your business. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a tender:
- Update your website. In the law firm’s case, the procurement team will surely review your website and could be shocked if workplace law doesn’t feature prominently and you look like a specialist insurance and commercial firm. You need to make workplace law a feature practice group and give it some credibility on your website.
- Manage the media. In the law firm’s case, whilst it’s fantastic for your Managing Partner, or other Senior Partners to talk about your business or firm, it will harm the firms chances if they are openly talking about the firm being ‘focused on insurance as a core business’. Imaging a packaging company trying to land a food packaging product talking about how it’s focus is the postal packaging industry.
- Maintain your market position. For the duration of the tender and the review period, you need to maintain the above. Ensure your website is up-to-date and relevant, and balance other interests and client acquisition activities within the business.
Developing a bid library
Developing a bid library is critical to ensuring your organisation is in a position to respond to tender and bids quickly and effectively. It also helps drive efficiency and quality in your tenders which in turn helps increase your win rate. The key steps to developing a quality bid library include:
- 1. Gathering all of your previous tenders and bids. We generally recommend bids and tenders from the past three years, however, if there is a large bid from five or six years ago with unique and well developed content then this will of course need to be taken into account.
- 2. Once the relevant bids have been gathered, the content needs to be separated into topics. For example, case studies with case studies, executive summaries with executive summaries, and response to specific safety questions with other safety questions that are similar. Generally speaking, this will result in between 30 – 300 different topics or questions.
- 3. Once this has been developed, You need to consolidate the responses into a master long and short response for each question or topic. This way, you have base documentation to work from for different questions both in short and long form.
- 4. You need to put a system in place whereby your bid library is regularly updated. You can do this by reviewing the bid library against each new bid you submit. Cross check the responses for any new content and update the bid library accordingly.
There are a broad range of software packages now available that automate the bid preparation process. Our team of writers can work with you to identify the most suitable software package for your business to help you streamline the bid process.
For other handy hints, or for a free consultation about how to break into new markets through the tendering process or how to prepare for a tender, contact The Tender Team on 0410 448 770.