Building a bid from scratch can feel like a daunting prospect, especially when it’s the first time you’ve submitted for a tender opportunity. By breaking the process down into manageable pieces, and ensuring that you know your priorities at each stage, you can make sure you hit the deadline on time and in your best form.
Our bid management programme is designed to do just that, but here are 3 tips to get you started.
- Watch closely for opportunities
The question of where to find tender opportunities when they arise is a valid one, especially when you aren’t familiar with the procurement process. Although there is no one quick answer, there are a number of places you can look which will allow you to keep on top of the opportunities available and ensure you’re able to move quickly when the right time arises.
Many tender opportunities stem from the civil service sector, and as such many national governments have a page on their website dedicated to tender opportunities like this one by the British government. There are also a number of independent sites which market themselves as search engines for global procurement opportunities, such as Tenders Info which allows the user to search for opportunities by country, region or sector.
- Choose wisely
Choosing which opportunity to bid for is one of the most important decisions you will make in the early phases of bidding, and it is important to get it right. Bidding for an opportunity that your organisation does not meet the criteria for is likely to be a wasted effort, and so checking the minimum requirements to bid is a must before moving onto the next stage.
Likewise, if your organisation does fit the bill, it is important to remember to be selective in what you bid for. Managing a bid can be time consuming, demanding and of course incurs a cost, and so choosing which opportunity to devote your energy to can save you and your organisation a lot of ill-directed attention.
A recent blog post by online Australian publication Smart Company suggested that ‘bid less to win more’ was sound advice. It argued ‘when you’re spreading resources too thinly across too many marginal opportunities, you are depleting team morale and productivity and depriving yourself of the insights you’ll need to win the really big ones.’ Concentrating your time and energy on opportunities with the greatest chance of success is a much more effective way of running your bid.
- Plan, personalise and practice
The 3 P’s of bid management, each of these should be a key feature of your bid journey, both in their own right and as integrated elements of your strategy.
First up, planning. It’s very difficult to over-plan a bid, especially in the early stages when there are so many questions to be answered. How much time will you need to spend each day, week, or month? How will you divide your time to make sure you hit the deadline? How many team members will be dedicated to the bid? How will you fund the bid? These are all questions which need to be answered by road mapping your bid and taking time to consider how your available resources will be best used throughout the time.
Personalise. This can be interpreted in two main ways. Firstly, the need to personalise the bid to the opportunity cannot be overstated. While using a generic framework can act as an outline from which to work, against the inevitably tough competition you need to ensure that your bid is relevant, memorable and unique. Personalising the bid can also mean ensuring that your pitch will speak to each member of the panel in turn to win their support. Management Today suggests that there are generally five types of people on bid panels, and that by focusing on each person’s concerns you can ensure they will be open to your proposition. These are:
The Boss - As the most senior decision-maker, they are interested in results.
The Money Person - Typically the finance director, they will assess your bid in terms of value for money and return on investment.
The Expert - Sometimes cast as the ‘geek’, they will scrutinise the detail of your proposal with their deep technical knowledge.
The End-User - This person wants to know how your product or service will affect them and their team.
The Guide - Often a procurement person, they focus on cost and rationalising suppliers.
Finally, practicing your bid is an important element that can make or break your pitch on the day. Although most organisations would never go into a pitch without practicing at all, did you know that elements such as your choice of clothing, your body language and the tone of your voice can all have huge impact on the success of your pitch? Working to get these elements right beforehand can greatly increase your chances of success, and ensure that the hard work which has gone into the process does not go to waste.
Take a look at the links below to find out more about how our Bid Management programme can help you win that next big tender opportunity.
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