Raising the Bar: 4 Keys to Winning More Bids

posted in: Insights

Earlier we watched a CEO, CMO and CFO walk into a bar to drown the woeful cost of winning a single major bid:  £150,000 on average.  Much as I enjoy raising a glass, a better way to manage your bid investment would be to raise the bar.  Why? On average, high performing bid teams close nearly 10% more revenue, increasing their win rate by 5 points – they’d win 1 of every 4 bids instead of 1 in 5. McKinsey reports that effective bid management - deal qualification, solutions development and response management - generates 2-3 times more impact to revenue than the same £ investment in lead generation.

The most successful bid teams in my experience build the proper strategic framework, enabling them to consistently deliver strong results.  To raise the bar on your investment, focus your strategy on 4 key components:

1. Get wise to your why's?

When I started out, I worked in teams so dazzled by “BFDs” – big, freakin’ high-revenue deals – that we failed to question why the client would choose us.  Or why chasing this win would be good for our business.  We lost some we should’ve won, won some we should’ve run from, and passed by less flashy but better fitted deals. This is all about effective qualification:  unless you’re very clear on your objectives, it’s just a more painful way to throw spaghetti at the wall.

2. Master your domain

Effective bid management teams zero in on their target client’s preferred tender pattern, and cut their cloth accordingly.  Whether online one-&-done or 7-stage formalities, they tailor bid investment strategies to the requirements of that specific process. They’re also masters of their own bid process, ensuring clear alignment across their entire organisations.  The most successful bid team I’ve ever worked with realigned sales objectives, bid processes, resources and content around our target segment– and achieved a staggering 45% win rate over the following 2 years.

3. Talk Their Talk

Crisply articulating our unique selling points – i.e., why clients should choose us above competitors – is just table stakes. The only way clients can be certain that we actually understand their requirements and key objectives is if we play it back to them in their own words. The largest framework tender we ever won wasn't because we offered the lowest priced or most sophisticated solution, but because we had consistently adopted the customer’s language throughout, while clearly demonstrating how we would directly contribute to successfully achieving their critical goals.

4. Walk Your Walk.

It always comes down to execution.  Vigorously qualify against your strategic objectives to concentrate investment in tenders that truly satisfy your whys.  Tailor bid management to your ideal customers’ requirements.  Mirror their language throughout the bid process, while demonstrating your unique ability to help them achieve crucial objectives. Track, evaluate, then adapt to keep raising that bar.

How is your business making the most of your investment in major bids?