When bidding for large contracts, success is driven from the top

Over the years, Augmentas has had the pleasure of working with many different clients who have been striving to grow their business by winning and delivering large contracts, primarily from the public sector. We have seen what works well and are going to share these observations with you in a series of short insights, each one of which should take you no longer than 2-3 minutes to read.

Bidding for and delivering large contracts is, first and foremost, a team effort. For example, all tender documents include detailed questions about your solution, your delivery approach, your delivery plan, and your commercial model, all of which can be agreed by your leaders in sales, operations, and commercial functions.

Great teamwork leads to:

  • Proposed solutions matching those which can be delivered
  • Agreement and commitment to commercial assumptions and implementation plans
  • Sufficient resources available when needed
  • Contracts which effectively manage risks and issues

Ultimately, this leads to customer expectations being met, projects achieving both time and cost targets, and success with projected profitability. A lack of teamwork can lead to a high level of risk and even complete company failure. The recent collapse of Carillion is a good example, where delays and issues on critical public sector contracts were cited as reasons for business failure.

Our advice is that bids are sponsored at general manager level, as only they have sufficient positional power to bring the team together effectively, prioritise the necessary time and effort required, and quickly mediate between functions. Successful leaders typically employ bid managers and/or technical sales professionals to administer the overall process, however, they retain ultimate ownership and ensure that the full leadership team agrees and contributes to a high standard. In our experience, the level of focus, commitment and quality of outcome is significantly higher when this occurs. In fact, we would go so far as to say that bids in which the general manager maintains responsibility are 3-5 times more likely to succeed than those which are sponsored by others in the organisation.   

We also recommend:

  • Functional leaders should know they have responsibility for bid success and that this is an important part of their role.
  • Bids are considered as projects, managed by a capable bid manager while keeping responsibility at the top

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