Get your timing right

For those of us who seek to win contracts for ongoing services, it is useful to develop a marketing approach which recognises how procurement is carried out. In large corporates, most contracts are let by the procurement function and their process is invariably limited to approved suppliers and governed by a set timeline. Contracts are for a set period, typically 3-5 years, and therefore customers are going to be far more receptive to your marketing at the time the contract is about to be re-tendered. You can save yourself a lot of time and money, by focusing your sales and marketing efforts at the time when they are going to have the most impact.

Consequently, a targeted approach is needed, which involves:

  1. Defining which contracts you would like to win and from whom.
  2. Contacting the relevant procurement team to find out how to get on their approved supplier list and when the best time to do so would be.
  3. Targeting some direct marketing at the procurement function and the contract sponsor within 6-12 months of the pre-qualification process.
  4. Following through with the pre-qualification process to become an approved supplier.
  5. Investing in the bid process to do as well as you possibly can.

Ideally, your professional sales experts will be challenging customers to think in new ways and stimulating new contract opportunities outside of this. However, for existing contracts you should be able to see that, for each customer, your sales team understands when relevant contracts are coming up for renewal, when you should be aiming to prequalify and when you can expect to be bidding.  For all major prospects, this information should be captured in whatever CRM system you are using.

Procurement teams should be willing to hear from you as their job is to challenge the status quo and find new ways of improving value for their business. However, as you can imagine, they are not going to be very receptive if you have missed the timeline and the current contract has another 5 years to run. Consequently, it is essential to get your timings right and focus your effort when it is most appropriate and timely.

If you want more information and advice on getting ‘contract-ready’ or information on winning more work from tenders, contact us on +44 (0)203 918 8550 or email