Categories
Bid content

File or Flight?

How do you handle filing the bid-specific but onwardly useful information? We’re not talking about the content here, but case studies, CVs/bios, and pricing examples that you might not use every time, but provide key information next time you have a bid in the same sector.

Are you the “save everything down” team, or the “tender database” team? Having worked in both team types, there are positives for both approach.

Some firms saved the full bid after submission, in SharePoint or other online repositories. We could search basics, such as the sector, business lead, and work area (as long as they’d originally been saved correctly of course!), but could not ‘search inside’ the tenders to know if they included specific peoples’ bios, or specific case studies when you were looking for something in particular. Unless you’d worked on the tender, you were going in blind. You might be searching through tens of tenders to find the one bio you need, or relying on others in the teams to give you pointers on where to look for certain information. On the flip side, the positives were that when you opened the tenders to search for information, you might find something else that you wanted to use, or spark another idea.

In contrast, at a different organisation, we saved down all the case studies and bios in dedicated folders following every bid. The case studies were saved with the client name, sector and other tag words in the file name. Short and long versions were saved into the same file, so you always had an option depending on word limits etc. Bios were saved firstly in office location folders, then alphabetically by team member, and again with the client name, sector and date in the file name. Yes, it meant we sometimes had 50 bios for one person, but they were all slightly different – vital when you are searching for specific industry experience. With pricing, we had example fee menus saved for the various work areas which – although they were always tailored to the client and the project – gave us a starting point, rather than a blank page or hunting through hundreds of tenders to find examples.

This approach meant that the next time we had a property bid for a technology client, for example, we could quickly identify the latest, most relevant, bios for the required team members, the most relevant case studies, and ideas for pricing. All saving time in drafting and input from SMEs.

While you innately build up a knowledge base in your head over time, and will know where information is stored, new starters or those in linked teams do not have that knowledge

Whichever direction your team takes, the most important factor is to properly share how your system works/should be used, and to give training to any new starters or other teams on where to find information. As with most tools, they only work if we know how to use them. And while you innately build up a knowledge base in your head over time, and will know where information is stored, new starters or those in linked teams do not have that knowledge. Share the love!

Categories
Personal development

Onboarding in the Bid Industry

The volume of positions advertised at present, coupled with the number of people seeking or saying they are starting a new position, got me thinking about how important on boarding is in bid world, where we’re expected to have all-round oversight and knowledge. Bid writers and bid managers need a solid grounding in what they will be trying to ‘sell’ to clients, and how they get stakeholder engagement to support that in a new organisation.

This is not intended as gospel for every new starter or organisation, but in my experience, the most important facets of onboarding for bid professionals are:

  • Understanding the firm’s bid process/framework
  • Gaining knowledge about the firm’s products and services
  • Knowing the right people to go to

Understanding the firm’s bid process/framework

Whether they will be working within or managing the organisation’s bid framework, understanding that process is vital. Some of the core questions to understand include: What is the qualification criteria? Who is involved in the decision gates, kick off meetings, review and sign off? Where are case studies, CVs and previous content stored? How is the content library (if one exists!) structured? Who is responsible for commercial models and contract reviews? How do we track upcoming and in-progress opportunities? What reporting do we produce?

At a more granular level, if there is a team of bid writers and/or bid managers (perhaps also with bid co-ordinators/assistants at larger organisations): How is work assigned (e.g. by sector, product, seniority, capacity)? Who is responsible for which aspects of the process and the bid itself? Is there a peer review process in place?

Gaining knowledge about the firm’s products and services

It’s my belief that a bid writer/manager shouldn’t need to rely 100% on their operational and technical teams for subject matter expertise. With a grounding of understanding in the products and services your company offers, you should be able to draft anywhere from 50% to 75% (conservative guess!) of the more specific/technical sections of a bid, and then go to the experts to fill the gaps or double check against the client requirements. After all, writing for bids is not their day job.

This initial knowledge gathering can take many forms, from reading up on the company website and/or brochures, to listening in on sales/customer service calls or even going out on the road with field representatives, or even sitting in on other staff training sessions. If technology if part of your organisation’s offering, new starter bid professionals could also be provided with access to test systems – further helping their understanding of how a system works in practice, and allowing for walk-throughs when the client requirements come in.

Of course, at present onboarding may be remote – but that’s not to say the new starter shouldn’t have much the same experience as though they are there in person. Video conferences and calls can easily take the place of meetings, online courses to support the new systems rather than face-to-face training, and VOIP/video would allow people to listen in to calls or be virtually ‘on the road’ if that’s required as part of the process.

Knowing the right people to go to

When working on a bid, it is vital you know who to ask about various aspects of the bid response or to get those nuggets of gold to add – especially when you’re up against tight deadlines. While some of this will come naturally from initial knowledge sharing sessions, you may also have a distinct session on who is involved / for what expertise, or just hear about people in passing.

Collating a subject matter expert matrix can be useful when it comes back to remembering who you spoke to about what – their role, areas of expertise, email and telephone numbers (as well as any site or working hours information).

The role of the bid team is not only to win new business, but also to make the lives of the operational teams easier – so it is in their long-term benefit to support onboarding. Above all, if in doubt, ask!

Categories
Personal development

What’s in a name?

While we all work in the bid industry, how many variations of our job/role titles are there? We often see bid managers, bid leaders, bid strategy managers, work winning managers, bid advisers, proposal managers, pitch managers… and that’s before including all the writers, coordinators, assistants and designers!

If somebody asked you to describe the various roles, my guess would be many would say something along the lines of: bid managers lead to end to the end process, writers stick to the content, designers to the images, and co-ordinators/assistants help out where needed. Proposals and pitches are less strategic, shorter, and more proactive ‘punts’. Or, for many, the proposal can be just a small (!) part of the overall bid process.

Both Shipley and APMP Body of Knowledge (APMP BOK) describe the roles within the bid team. APMP suggests bid manager is more UK/Europe focused, and proposal or pitch manager is more US-based. In the last 24 hours on LinkedIn, there were 21 new bid roles and 14 proposal roles advertised in the UK; so there are signs that if that UK/US split was historically correct, this is beginning to merge. There is also a crossover between managers and writers – with many manager positions pitched (no pun intended!) as a ‘writer plus’.

Figure 1: Differences in job titles 1950 to 2013 https://cdn.lifehack.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/job-title1.jpg

But do you fully understand what the various roles actually mean? And what should be highlighted as key differences between the roles?

Increasingly, it seems it is organisational choice of whether your teams are bid, proposal or pitch, and managers, specialists or writers*. But at the grass-roots level, the different roles and responsibilities should be:

  • Bid/Proposal/Pitch manager: leads the overall proposal development, from bid decision through to post-submittal actions. They develop the win strategy, themes and discriminators and manages the integration of your organisation’s offering against the requirements. They lead the bid team (often multi-workstream) to prepare management/technical content and the commercial offering, schedules and manages reviews and sign offs of content and commercial, ensures the bid is compliant and is submitted on time, and manages any client follow-up, e.g., clarifications, presentations etc. The bid manager also ensures appropriate stakeholder involvement at all times – whether that is your internal senior management, or external third parties.
  • Writer: provides any specialised management or technical content required to respond to a proposal or bid. They will work to the agreed bid themes, win strategies and graphics, and follow guidance from the bid/proposal manager. The writer ensures timely provision of their content and other supporting information within the overall schedule.
  • Coordinator/Assistant: supports the bid manager in controlling the overall process and production plan. They will typically maintain and update the plan and content schedules, provide a point of liaison between the teams/specialists involved, and will support the review and production process including print and collation for hard copy submissions. They may also take on some of the more management focused content, such as producing team charts and CVs.
  • Designer: may solely produce images to be used within the bid, or may work with the bid manager from the bid decision to design the overall look and feel (and layout) of the bid. Adobe InDesign is increasingly used as the bid format of choice, and you’ll often see a requirement to have proficiency in/knowledge of in role advertisements.

Whether you are a bid, proposal or pitch manager, or a strategist, specialist, writer, co-ordinator, assistant or designer, one thing should be the same – we all work together to submit a compelling, compliant and on time submission, hopefully winning our organisations new business.

*For the purpose of understanding the differences between the team roles here, bid, proposal and pitch are interchangeable.

Categories
Bid process

Once Upon a Bid…

Storytelling in bids has been a topic of much conversation over the past few years, with interesting sessions from Sarah Hinchliffe and Ashley Kayes recently on the APMP calendar.

In Ashley’s session in the recent Winning Business Virtual Experience, she highlighted the link to Disney – ‘storyboarding’ as a concept started in the Disney studios. This got me thinking about the similarities between many Disney animated films and the bid process. There is a chance continued lockdowns are starting to take their toll… or just that I watch too many Disney films. But there are some shared themes!

https://wallpapercave.com/w/tfUMfjr

The Little Mermaid

  • The Disney version: The film tells the story of a mermaid Princess named Ariel, who dreams of becoming human and falls in love with a human prince named Eric, which leads her to make a magic deal with an evil sea witch to become human and be with him.
  • The bid version: The challenger firm dreams of being “the one” and usurping the incumbent. They look for the insider knowledge, doing a deal to repay the favour with a job if it works out well…

Peter Pan

  • The Disney version: Wendy Darling and her brothers John and Michael go on an adventure to Never Land with Peter Pan (the boy who never grew up) and his pixie friend Tinkerbell. Peter leads a band of Lost Boys who spend their time hiding from and fighting with Captain Hook. After helping Peter win a battle with Hook, the children fly back home. Peter and the Lost Boys return to Never Land.
  • The bid version: Peter and the Lost Boys are the MD and the operational and technical experts the bid manager (Wendy) tries to round up and control to input into the bid; usually seen all the time, now the bid has come out, they’ve gone into hiding.

The Black Cauldron

  • The Disney version: Set in a mythical land during the Early Middle Ages, the evil Horned King hopes to secure an ancient magical cauldron that will aid him in his desire to conquer the world. He is opposed by a young swineherd named Taran, the young princess Eilonwy, the bard Fflewddur Fflam, and a wild creature named Gurgi who seek to destroy the cauldron, to prevent the Horned King from ruling the world.
  • The bid version: Two bidding firms – one of which is the incumbent – battle over a third party expert who will give them the edge in the bid.

Aladdin

  • The Disney version: The film follows Aladdin, an Arabian street urchin, who finds a magic lamp containing a genie. He disguises himself as a wealthy prince, and tries to impress the Sultan and his daughter.
  • The bid version: The bid team that exaggerates or even makes up its experience to get in the door with the client and their advisors. Beware – the lack of experience will be found out!

Tangled

  • The Disney version: A lost, young princess with magical long blonde hair yearns to leave her secluded tower. Against her mother’s wishes, she accepts the aid of an intruder to take her out into the world that she has never seen.
  • The bid version: A client has been with the same service provider for some time. The service delivery team has pushed back on their MD as they feel things can be improved. The client is now coming out to bid for the first time to find something different.

Big Hero 6

  • The Disney version: Hiro Hamada, a young robotics prodigy, forms a superhero team to combat a masked villain.
  • The bid version: In probably the most obvious bid link of the Disney back-catalogue, the bid manager and sponsor pull together a crack bid team with differing skillsets to outbid the competition.

And finally, an honourable mention to Inside Out – set in the mind of a young girl, where five personified emotions (Fear, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Joy) try to lead her through life. Definitely all the emotions the Bid Manager goes through during the bid process…

Categories
Bid process

The Right Team, or the ‘Their Turn’ Team?

How often do you team with a partner organisation (or multiple partners) to deliver a bid submission? Your organisation might only team on a complex, strategic bid, or you may partner on any bid where you feel you need a little extra oomph or sparkle.

One of the key questions at the early bid pursuit decisions is whether you can deliver all the client’s requirements on your own. You should answer the need to partner question honestly for every opportunity, and in comparison to your known (and unknown) competitors. Can you deliver all the requirements as a sole bidder, or are there gaps in expertise or experience for which you need a partner firm(s)? And if the latter, should you lead or contribute in that relationship? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses in both approaches? Which gives you the best win probability against the client’s requirements? The APMP Body of Knowledge (BOK) provides a template to help you carry out this exercise.

Fast forward a few days and you’ve conducted your appraisal, know who you need to partner with, and have agreed to team up. How do you actually decide who leads the bid? Who will be responsible for leading the bid production, submission and relationship for this opportunity?

According to the BOK: “There is a complicated, delicate balance of strategy and tactics required to assemble a winning team. While an effective teaming strategy can significantly improve a bidder’s win probability, a poorly executed strategy can create serious performance, reputation, legal, and financial problems.”

Figure 1: Team Boys or Team Supes? https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/ustv/

With this in mind, your bid lead should be the partner with strongest relationship with the client, the most relevant demonstrable experience, or the organisation who will be responsible for the majority of deliverables/requirements. For each teaming decision, you should assess the opportunity in detail and choose a bid lead for the right reasons. You should not pick a lead party simply because it’s one or the other’s ‘turn’, or the opportunity came into them (either directly, or through their registration on a client portal).

Put yourself in the position of evaluator. Would you not wonder why the firm who would deliver the majority of the work is not leading on the bid?

Imagine your client is procuring for a new software solution, with a requirement for underlying MI analysis. You can deliver all the requirements in the ITT, but partnering with a specialist MI firm will give you an edge. Who would lead? If you’ve worked with the MI firm before, and last time you led the bid, it might be tempting to let them lead to ‘even it out’. However, to the client, this is likely to be the wrong decision. Put yourself in the position of evaluator. Would you not wonder why the firm who would deliver the majority of the work is not leading on the bid?

While you may not need to do this on all bids, there are numerous formal structures you could set up, such as the traditional prime/sub, joint ventures (where a new legal entity is established), or a partnership/alliance where each party contracts with the client. Whether you go formal or more informal, you should negotiate a teaming agreement as early as possible (if you don’t already have one in place with the partner firm(s)), setting out the legal, operational and financial aspects of the relationship.

There should always be a clear rationale on who leads the bid. Which lead organisation offers the maximum competitive advantage and highest win probability? Which makes the most sense to the client’s specific opportunity? Don’t just hand off the lead because you led last time. You could more damage putting forward the wrong team than not partnering at all.

Categories
Bid process

Making Software Work For You

For this week’s blog, we have something a bit different – Bidonomy is famous! Our article about how important the human factor is in effectively managing bid software has been published by APMP on its Winning The Business website.

Check out the article here!

Categories
Bid process

The Psychology of Bids, Part Two

In part one of our blog last week, we examined how Belbin’s team roles model can help us look inwardly at our bid team. If Belbin provides an internal view, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can help us look externally to the client to help us really understand what is important to them and how we pitch our response.

Carl Dickson of PropLibrary has previously translated Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to making better decisions in the bid process; but we’re looking here specifically from the perspective of the client’s requirements and how we meet them.

An External View: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Figure 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (www.blogtrw.com)

In Maslow’s model, the needs at the lower end of the hierarchy must be satisfied before progressing to those higher up. The first four layers, grouped as basic and psychological needs, are classed as ‘deficiency’ or ‘d’ needs. The top level, self-actualisation / self-fulfilment needs, are ‘growth’ or ‘b’ needs. In basic, Psychology 101 terms, deficiency needs motivate us when they’re unmet, while growth needs come from a desire to grow, rather than being something you are actually missing.

In bid world, basic needs are those basic client requirements they must have you fulfil e.g., you hold x accreditation, can provide/already have a building to house the contact centre, or can demonstrate your commitment to health and safety. All the ‘things’ your client has to have to function.

The client is looking for how you’ll bring value to the relationship, and make a difference to its people

Psychological needs encompass how the client needs you to involve their staff and/or customers, to give them something they need. For example, your software will provide an online portal for customers to easily make contact and manage their account, you will demonstrate a commitment to training staff (particularly in customer service skills, which will again deliver a secondary benefit), or you’ll establish a reward and recognition structure. At these levels, the client is looking for how you’ll bring value to the relationship, and make a difference to its people (again, staff and customers).

For some bidding organisations, this may be where they stop on their journey up the pyramid. But what about what the client hasn’t verbalised/documented? What about those benefits you know your solution will provide to them and which no-one else can deliver?

Figure 2: How do you convey what you know the client needs when they haven’t said they need it?https://giphy.com/gifs/Friends-season-5-episode-111-the-one-where-everybody-finds-out-Vh3UM5CfE64AZgmJ6N

These are the growth needs, perhaps unwritten and unthought of, but which will deliver real value and prove to the evaluator why your solution is the only choice. Identify how your solution benefits the client at the start of the bid process, devise themes and messaging which can be played back to the client throughout your response.

Give them something different to think about. Something only you can deliver and which may be the difference between a shortlist and a win. Use psychology!

Categories
Bid process Personal development

The Psychology of Bids, Part One

If you’ve ever studied a social science, psychology or business management discipline, or taken any organisational teamwork training, chances are you’re already aware of Belbin’s team roles and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Both have a strong crossover to bid management*. Their application is extremely useful in understanding what is happening in your bid teams, how you respond to a bid, and in identifying any issues and areas for improvement. In part one of this blog, we’re looking at Belbin’s team roles model and its application to internal bid teams.

Internal: Belbin’s Team Roles

Belbin’s team roles model is often used in team-building exercises where you complete a quiz to work out your team characteristics and how well you work together. For anyone unfamiliar, the below diagram shows the nine roles, their strengths, and “allowable weaknesses” (basically an inversion of the strength):

Figure 1: Belbin’s nine team roles (www.belbingetset.com)

It’s important to understand that you don’t need nine people in a team to perform each of the roles – we’re often a mix of primary and secondary characteristics.

When I previously completed the quiz, I was – probably unsurprisingly given my profession and to anyone who has worked with me – a primary Completer Finisher, and secondary Monitor Evaluator. You may have the Co-ordinator role in there instead. These three roles provide many of the key skills for a Bid Manager: maintaining awareness of the priorities and deadlines, encouraging the team, ensuring a high quality response by proof-reading and correcting issues, reviewing content coming in and identifying gaps, and getting the response across the line. Worry and be anxious? Never……….

During a bid, you’ll work alongside many, if not all, of these roles. Your Resource Investigator may be your Account or BD Manager, who knows the client well and initially brings the opportunity in, pushing for its pursuit. No doubt you’ll rely on some Specialists to produce technical input, and have the Teamworkers and Implementers who just put their heads down and get on with drafting content or designing graphics. And how many of us have worked with Plants and Shapers – maybe your MD, CFO, or Sponsor. Those who kick things off, gee the team up, leave you with a great idea, and then disappear off into the night until sign off time when you just can’t get the solution to add up? Can you recognise these roles (or personalities) in your bid teams?

Figure 2: Which type of Plants and Shapers do you know? The Ron, or The Leslie? (https://giphy.com)

While working on a bid, it’s vital we have a combination of roles

Do you have a balance in your bid team; are you too ‘heavy’ in a particular area, or are there any gaps? While working on a bid, it’s vital we have a combination of roles, since there’s such a mix of tasks and responsibilities which require different skillsets. Successful bid teams have this mix, even if you don’t realise it at the time.

If Belbin’s team roles model can help us look inwardly at our bid team, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can help us really understand what is important to the client and to focus on the right areas in our response. We’ll cover this in part two, next week.

*In fact, in its more recent iterations, the APMP Body of Knowledge references Belbin amongst other traditionally social science models.

Categories
Bid content

Apostrophe Rage, or: How I learned to love the Oxford comma

Who else gets apostrophe rage? Or there/their/they’re, your/you’re, or should of/should have rage?

For writers, grammar rage can be a very real thing. There was even a TV series in the early noughties which referenced it – The Kill Point*, starring Donnie Wahlberg (yes, NKOTB Donnie Wahlberg) and John Leguizamo. Stay with me. Wahlberg plays a police negotiator – Captain Horst Cali – brought in when a bank heist goes wrong. The police and SWAT teams use a local café as command central, and several times, Cali asks one of the officers to get him a spray can. A few episodes in, Cali asks to speak to the owner; he wants to know if he is Marco. He is. Then he asks whether he runs the café alone, or with other men, also called Marco. He runs it alone. You see, the café sign said “Marcos’ Restaurant”. Cali goes outside, spray can in hand, sprays over the incorrect end apostrophe and resprays it to say “Marco’s Restaurant”. It obviously struck a chord as, 13 years on, this is still one of the main plot points I remember!

At our first introduction to Cali, he criticises his SWAT team leader for having once started a sentence with ‘but’ – saying, “in this job, one misplaced word can cost lives”. While a misplaced apostrophe, other punctuation mark, or misspelled word might not cost lives in the bid industry (if it does, you are working for the wrong organisation!) it could legitimately mean the difference between a win and a loss. For an evaluator or the client, it can affect readability or suggest a lack of attention to detail, undermining your professionalism and ‘expert’ authority.

Grammarly will check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure – and even plagiarism

Learning difficulties and disabilities are, of course, a daily issue for many people and I’m not looking to undermine or underestimate that in any way. If you, or your other contributors, struggle with grammar and punctuation (or if you’re just looking to make sure on your writing), there are some great tools available to support you. Grammarly is probably the most well-known, and is available as a free add-in to word processing, email, CRM and social media packages, or as a quick online check. While word processing packages may pick up some issues, Grammarly will check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure – and even plagiarism, which could be useful in our industry.

But apostrophes aside (yes, I start sentences with ‘but’, Captain Cali would not be happy with me…) what about the other common punctuation marks – the dashes, colons, semi-colons, and (eek) Oxford commas. Are you sure you’re using them in the correct way?

  • Dashes: While there are three types of dash, the most common are the en dash and em dash. The en dash separates number/time ranges (e.g., pages 11-12, 13:00-14:00), and the em dash replaces other punctuation such as commas or parentheses, denoting a pause or highlighting emphasis. I recently came across a piece of writing of four lines across a normal desktop screen. It was one continuous sentence, containing eight em dashes**. I almost had to go and lie down in all honesty.
  • Colons: Colons introduce information or a series of points. They can pre-empt a list, a quote, or point to further clarification. For example, our key differentiators are: speed of response, quality of advice, and global coverage.
  • Semi-colons: The easiest way to think of the semi-colon is that it links separate, but closely-connected thoughts – too closely-linked to be separated by a full stop. For example, “I watched the sunrise; it was beautiful”. You can also use the semi-colon in a sentence list, e.g., Paris; Berlin; London; Rome, or as bullet point separators.
  • And my personal favourite, the Oxford comma: When you list items in a sentence, each should be separated by a comma. When you have three or more items, whether you place a comma before the penultimate word (and before the ‘and’ or ‘or’) seems to be a point of some debate amongst writers! There is no right or wrong, rather it is a personal or stylistic choice – but it should be consistent throughout your document. Personally, I love an Oxford comma! I think it gives a hint to the reader they’re coming to the end of a writer’s thought.

You may have an in-house style guide, which sets out naming conventions, abbreviations, whether you use commas or full stops in bullet point lists, or UK or US English for example. If you don’t already have a style guide, think about creating one; they are really useful in ensuring all contributors write in the same style, saving you time at review.

And, be like Captain Cali. Have the spray can – red pen, huge marker, or delete key – ready.

*Currently streaming on Amazon Prime for those wanting to get their NKOTB/grammar-loving vibes on.

**I ran the “sentence” through Grammarly’s online checker; it highlighted seven different issues across grammar, punctuation misuse, sentence structure and style.

Categories
Bid process

When is Best Practice not best practice?

How many of us have, and use, Best Practice collateral, libraries or even standalone roles or departments? Some of the most commonly used Best Practice items are templates and checklists. These are great when you’re gathering or using standard information, but the moment you get into customer/client specifics, it’s a dangerous track to take and can actually lead to more work.

The handover from bid to delivery is a great example of this. While there may be a list of ‘usual’ steps to schedule or action, chances are not every client will need or do things in the same way. A previous firm called it the ‘100 day plan’, and key components included introduce the team, issue team chart, agree communication frequency/method, set up reporting, set up secure extranet etc.

At this level, a template/checklist works well. It can provide an aide memoire to the handover process, and can be shared across the organisation to ensure a new (or returning/refreshed) client is set up as per your protocols and learning.

However, what if we take it down a level. Would you set up a meeting agenda, or reporting template for example? This is where it becomes more of a ‘grey area’.

Take reporting. Most, if not every, client will require slightly different reporting based on their sector, product/service, organisation structure or even just personal preference. They may detail this as a standalone requirement during the bid process, or you may not know until you have that first meeting. It’s impossible to create a one-size-fits-all template in advance that would cater for every client.

Are you making a rod for your own back?

Of course, you could create a basic report template to include in the bid, or – to really wow them – a more detailed version you’ve delivered for another client. However, are you making a rod for your own back? What if the basic template is “fine, but we just need a few tweaks”, and those few tweaks take your IT/MI/Finance teams as long to process as starting from a blank page? What if the client was expecting, and perfectly happy with, a basic report – until they saw the all-singing all-dancing version? And what if you’d worked with the previous client to develop that report, so there is shared IP?

What is more important is that your organisation takes the learning from the bid process into those first telephone calls and kick-off workshops. You can show the client you’ve really listened and understood them, and want to work with them to shape your relationship. Use a checklist as a springboard for the basics, by all means; but listening, learning and collaborating should be the best practice, rather than Best Practice templates for templates sake.