Bidding…a way to learn

Bidding is time consuming, can be expensive and can be demoralising when you lose. However, for those of us who provide B2B products and services, it is increasingly necessary. 

The procurement function is becoming ever more dominant and their primary aim is to make the buying process as rational as possible. Professional buyers are a key part of your target audience, whether in the private or public sector, and they build rational mechanisms to score, weight, and ultimately decide upon who wins, avoiding as far as possible, the influence of friendly salespeople and past relationships.

Did you know that working together on a bid can be a lot more beneficial than you might think? Some of our most enlightened customers use their bid process, and the feedback from it, to refine their business models and improve their team cohesion. The questions asked in a bid probe the heart of your business offering and the way you work:

·      What specifically are you offering?

·      How much will it cost?

·      How will it match the requirements listed?

·      How will you deliver it?

·      What risks do you feel will need to be overcome?

·      Who will be involved?

These are all important questions for you to consider and agree as a team. Furthermore, as procurement teams are generally duty bound to provide you with feedback, it can be the most accurate way to assess the effectiveness of your proposition.

An important role for leaders, therefore, is to set a positive tone and remind everybody that failure is a necessary part of learning. Request feedback from the tenderer and hold review sessions where you can discuss openly and positively how best to improve. Remember that some of your team will have taken the loss personally, especially the sales owner and the bid manager, as they will probably have invested a lot of their time and effort. Remind them that nobody is personally to blame; it is all part of your learning and development process. Make the review meetings fun and enjoyable, and get the team brainstorming new ideas to improve your proposition and the way you work together. 

The good news is that once you find a winning solution, it can be readily repurposed for other clients and you can benefit from much of the hard work that you have already put into previous bids. Solution designs, commercial models and project plans can all be adjusted and adapted. Supporting documentation can sit in a bid library ready for editing for future submissions, although it is important that somebody is assigned to keep it up to date.  

 If you want more information and advice on getting ‘contract-ready’ or advice on winning more work from tenders, contact Mike Coveney, Head of Business Transformation at Augmentas on +44 (0)203 918 8550 or email info@augmentasgroup.com