If you want to win, start early!

A scatter-gun approach is ineffective and wasteful. You need to be really focused and realistic so that you invest your time and money on the opportunities where you have the best chance of winning and making a profit!

To generate the best results you need to start as early as possible. There is a lot of work to be done to build relationships and position your organization with the customer and to gather vital information about the customer, the project, the procurement process and where possible the likely competition.

If you want to build a relationship and gain an insight into the customer’s needs then there is no substitute for spending time with them, face to face, asking great questions, listening carefully, reading between the lines and watching for signals from their body language. That is a whole new subject worthy of a completely different blog.

When it is done properly, the information you collect has three uses; it will:

  • Help you to make good decisions on whether to commit further resource to continue pursuing the opportunity or switch to others which are more attractive.
  •  Potentially provide you with a competitive advantage over your competitors.
  • Allow time for you to develop innovative win strategies.

The most successful organisations, we call them Elite Bidders, are really good at creating competitive advantage well before the RFP or ITT arrives on their desks. They have thought very carefully about the questions they want to ask the client and the information they want to obtain.

At regular intervals they review the quality of the intelligence that they have collected and what it will take to win the contract.
The process helps them create an advantage as a result of their superior knowledge and understanding of the customer and the project.

In contrast, most bidders wait for the RFP or ITT documents to arrive in the office before thinking about win strategies. It is often too late at that stage to get close enough to the customer and many are obliged to share the answers they give to any questions raised with all of the bidders, so there is no chance of gaining an advantage.

So if you want to gain a competitive advantage and be more successful with your bids, start collecting intelligence and developing your win strategies earlier than your competitors!

Written by David Harrison, speaker and consultant who set up HMC Consulting in 2003.