A good question we pose to clients on many occasions. To be honest we never get a really strong positive answer. Small business owners have so many balls to juggle, so the answer even when the prize could transform their business is often clouded. Quite often the client will ask us ‘How do you think I should spend my time’?
There’s no clear answer to this, and playing to strengths clearly has a place in this. It is certain that success is dulled if you don’t place sufficient time into the broader bid process.
How do we approach to make change?
Ever interested in this aspect, we have been reminded and somewhat inspired by a blog post from Robyn Haydon. Robyn has been doing some research in Australia and her results speak for themselves. The graphic below illustrates the major issue for most bidders, the UK tendering scene has similarities.
You’ll see that most unsuccessful bidders spend most of their time on content creation and pre-submission polishing. So whats the problem here? The problem is that whilst this is worthy, only 5% of time is spent on strategy, and value development. Unfortunately 0% being spent on content structure and planning.
This is a very pragmatic way to go. It’s the ‘let’s just get on and do it’ approach. But, with 0% of time being spent on structure and content, it means you can polish the pre-submission review as much as you like but if the basic material is not solid to start with its not just going to cut the ice with buyers.
The more sensible approach, and where winners have a clear advantage and actually win, is across the whole pre-submission process. Clearly providing both time and resources to scope the bid strategy, value proposition, evidence and content does pay dividends. This may actually be the difference between winning or not.
As Robyn points out, ‘winners invest time and energy in developing their strategy and key messages (by exploring what the customer most wants, what they can best deliver, and what positions them most favourably against competitors). This is in content and evidence planning (thinking deeply about the customer’s questions, structuring their offer, and finding evidence to substantiate their claims)’.
You’ll notice that the writing is in the third 30% box. That’s a completely different set of issues in itself, having clear focused writing skills is an imperative here.
What help is available for you?
AT BIZphit, we do encourage clients to spend time working on a strategy towards their tendering activity. We often get involved in helping them to do this. You will probably need some kind of review, as this will help to give you a new focus. In addition new energy is injected into your tender submission process. Finding support and help to get some defined outcomes will recharge your attempts and help you to win a contract.
So, the answer overall is to spread your time across all of the tender response process. DO make sure you plan and devise your approach before sitting down to just write.
If you’d like to talk to us about a current response, one you’ve made previously, or to just talk generally then do please get in touch.