Over the years I’ve read many articles about why companies don’t win bids and they all seem to focus on what people do during the bid process. In my experience, this is wrong, because everything that happens DURING the bid largely impacts where you end up in the also-rans, rather than the final result – assuming you don’t make complete hash of the bid process, of course.
The single biggest reason people don’t win bids is based on the work they do BEFORE the buyer goes to market. Some people call this ‘early-positioning’, getting ‘written-in’, ‘influencing the buyer’ any many other things and these phrases describe the activity well.
Think about some of the deals you’ve won – and as importantly, some you’ve lost – and analyse the work you did BEFORE the opportunity came to market. Did you meet all the stakeholders? Did they ask for ideas, or did you offer them? Did you take them on customer visits? Did you do proof-of-concept work? Did they ask you for indicative costs?
And equally important is how well your company and its propositions are represented on-line, through your website and use of social media. Research shows that today’s buyer completes around 70% of their selection to shortlist on-line, before ever reaching out to a company representative.
The benefits to the supplier who engages early are huge; insight, influence (solution and budget), COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE, deal shaping, the list goes on, and on. The cost of not doing it are also huge; you’re bidding blind against someone who has done all the above. I hope you have the sense to no bid, or that you lose early.
During a recent Get to Great® workshop for a major IT services company, they assessed themselves as over 80% overall against the model, but ‘only’ 65% on Understanding and Influencing, and then put in place a programme to improve that score considerably. The priority question for them was:
How well does your organisation understand and influence the prospect and their business issues / requirement prior to them issuing a tender to the market?
What would your answer be?