For Bid Managers and Bid Teams, lockdown has been a blessed relief from the 100mph, 10 bids on the go, deadlines every day that we’re used to. Time to rest and prepare for the ‘new normal’.
But, what if that ‘new normal’ is worse than the old normal? A huge number of contracts have been rolled over for 6 months or a year because staff can’t run the renewal process. But at some point those contracts are going to come to market. And it won’t be a trickle, it will be a full-on flood as the dam breaks, and everyone comes out to tender at the same time – likely to be late 2020 and early 2021.
Can you cope with the volume? Will you be able to provide the quality required in each bid? How will you react when the public sector begin the inevitable squeeze on pricing? What happens when B2B clients demand more value due to the uncertain times ahead?
What are you going to do?
In this still relatively calm period, we’re seeing bid teams doing one of two things. The majority are ‘tidying up’ – finishing outstanding jobs, generally having a ‘spring clean’, and ticking along as the workload steadily increases. But a few are properly getting ready for the deluge to come. They’re taking a good hard look at their proposition, making sure their bid content reflects all of the best points of this proposition, rewriting (or building!) their case studies and upskilling key contributors across the business.
In other words, they are using this time to get fitter and get a head start.
Michael Phelps was famous for training every day, even Christmas Day, reasoning that after a year he would have completed 52 days more training than his competitors who took Sundays off. The strategy paid off; 23 Olympic Golds later….
Not ‘training’ during the Covid lockdown could leave you in the Silver or Bronze positions. This is the ‘Golden’ time that all bid managers and teams dream of; time to recraft, to hone, to dig deeper and uncover those winning nuggets.
‘But we don’t know what’s in the tender’ I hear you say. True, but you already know there will be responses on quality, on safety, on training, on account management and how you’re going to deliver continuous improvement in the contract.
So, if you want to be truly ahead of the competition when the contracts come out to market here’s how can you use this time most effectively to come out of lockdown ready to win every bid and renew every existing contract:
- Make sure your supporting documents (certificates, accounts, etc) are up to date, in good shape and quick to find
- Work with your sales teams to gather new and relevant testimonials from clients
- Review and re-write all case studies so that the value and benefit to clients stand out and they’re not just a list of what you did
- Explore within your company what you are doing well, what improvements you’ve made in the last year or two, innovations you’ve adopted and what you’ve learnt from Covid to make you better placed for the future
- Engage with sales to do joint research on the key opportunities you expect to bid for. Build your joint understanding of the client’s business and their pain, start to think about how you position yourself to respond
- Review the accuracy and efficacy of your bid / no bid selection – does your process still work for you? Have you won the opportunities your process suggested you would, and lost the ones you expected to – if there isn’t a tight correlation you need to change your process and scoring!
- Review the look and feel of your documents and presentations. Do they look fresh, creative and engaging or is it the same stuff you’ve been churning out for years?
Your competitors will be doing some if not all of the above right now, but is that enough? The issue with reviewing your own work is that often, it still looks fine. You look through the same prism as when you originally wrote it – and it was really good then, so it’s probably still really good now.
That’s where we come in. The Sales Engine team spend our lives reading the best (and worst) submissions and have refined a process that gets to the heart of where to make improvements. The clients we are working with are improving, adapting and tailoring their content to provide more impact, more value and more benefit for their customers.
Working remotely, we provide a high impact review of your documents, giving a critical pair of eyes to challenge your content and prompt you to add value; to maximise the impact of every word and drive consistency through answer plans, case studies, response text, executive summaries and graphics. In a nutshell, if your material impresses us it is almost certain to impress your end customer – which equals winning bids!
So now is the time to ‘train on a Sunday’. Use this time wisely to make sure you’re ready for when the bid floodgates open. Make sure you’re ready to win. And if you’d like an impartial and expert set of eyes to review where you really are starting from to help ensure you get to where you need to be, then please get in touch.