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Bid process

Kickoff or kick out?

When do you hold the bid kickoff? Is it one of the first things you do when the bid lands? Or do you only hold this meeting when the bid decision gate has been passed, and you know whether you should be submitting a response?

Jack Grealish lining up for some kickoff / free kick magic https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/aston-villas-jack-grealish-shines-18059041

I have worked in organisations where as soon as an opportunity comes in, a kick off call or meeting is convened. No evaluation has taken place, and the kickoff is treated partly as that discussion.

By the time you have the kickoff, the opportunity should have been fully qualified with three key questions addressed – is the opportunity real, can we win it, and do we want to?* But, like where I previously worked, how many times is the kickoff used to have those discussions – when it’s already too late? If you haven’t already held the bid decision call/meeting, once the team is engaged on a kickoff it can feel like a runaway train that you have no way of catching to bring the team back to properly debate whether we should be bidding in the first place.

The APMP Body of Knowledge (BOK) outlines two major pitfalls around the kickoff – and in my experience, the first point is where the damage most often occurs:

  • Confusing the kickoff meeting with the initial planning meeting: The kickoff meeting should not be confused with the initial planning meeting. An initial planning meeting should be an internal meeting with core team members immediately after the RFP is released. The outcomes and directions of this initial planning meeting are the inputs to the kickoff meeting.
  • Not allowing sufficient time to plan a kickoff: Considerable time needs to be spent preparing for the kickoff. Having a kickoff meeting as quickly as possible after the release of the catalyst documents can set the team up for failure if key information and guidance is missing. Take the time to prepare and plan. Ensure that all fundamental documents are in place prior to the kickoff meeting.”

The kickoff should also happen later in the process than you may probably expect. According to the BOK: “Kickoff meetings are not executed immediately upon RFP receipt. Resist the urge to have a kickoff meeting as soon as you receive the bid request… Instead, schedule kickoff meetings about 15 percent into the response timeframe.” 15 percent. That means if you have a three-week turnaround, the kickoff meeting should not happen prior to day three. Obviously, shorter timeframes mean it can still feel as though the call is happening “as soon as” the bid lands – but you still should have evaluated and made a qualified decision to bid prior to this meeting.

So you now know you shouldn’t hold it immediately, but when you do, how long should the kickoff be? This will depend on the opportunity and submission requirements, but the BOK suggests you set aside up to four hours. How often do you do that? Or do you just have a quick half hour? This is another reason, in my experience, why the kickoff and bid/no bid meetings get confused.

The kickoff should be a key activity along the bid timeline – it takes time and preparation, both for the bid manager, and the bid team. At the point of holding a kickoff meeting, as the bid manager you should have reviewed the client papers so that you can provide an overview of the requirements and timetable, the longer-term programme, and answer any questions the team has. You should look to agree win themes, your value proposition, and relevant team and experience. At a more granular level, the kickoff should also be used to agree and assign tasks/actions, confirm the timetable and agree logistics, and confirm any early clarifications you may have for the client. The BOK has a useful checklist, but even a simple list of tasks can be used as your agenda to ensure you cover everything.

So if you are one of those organisations that holds kickoffs immediately, think of it as a kickoff from a free kick when the game is already in play.

*For more detail, see our blog on the importance of bid decision process from last year.

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Bid process

The intriguing case of the case study

How often are you asked to include case studies and experience examples in bids? The likelihood is that we’re asked for some variation of such experience in almost every bid. They are important pieces of the bid response puzzle because, as the APMP Body of Knowledge (BOK) says:

“You wouldn’t put much trust in a surgeon who had never performed the operation you needed, nor one who had made multiple attempts and failed at each. Similarly, customers prefer organizations that can demonstrate both experience that is relevant to the management and technical work they need done (relevant experience) and a track record of success (past performance).”

APMP Body of Knowledge

In last year’s blog, we talked about the different ways in which you can effectively file such experience – within dedicated subject folders, or perhaps using defined file name and/or tag words in a larger database. But how do you create your past performance library in the first place? And more importantly, how do you keep it up to date and add new or differently focused examples, so you aren’t having to scramble for the most relevant example at the last minute?



Andy Dwyer’s approach to work – no idea what he’s doing, but he’s doing it really well
https://www.pinterest.ch/pin/299911656422358652/

We all know those public sector bids that ask for contract examples within the last three years, and that really is best practice. Does a case study or experience example from 10 years ago hold the same weight?

Of course, the easiest way is to copy down any case studies and examples used after each bid – easy, but not always quick! If you have them saved already, you will need to check if you’d made any updates and if so, save this new version down. At one organisation, we saved different versions of the same client / case study in one document, but with headings so you knew what was slightly different in each. For example, anonymised, short-form, long-form, employment-focused, real estate focused and so on. It probably won’t come as a surprise that this was the organisation from our previous blog where we used tags in the file names!

But again, this assumes we already have the case studies and examples written – what if you are starting from scratch? Focusing specifically on the more detailed case studies now, rather than the few-line experience examples, my best practice brain means I am a big fan of the humble template. Not only will this give helpful prompts those drafting the case study, it will (usually!) ensure you have covered all the various options clients will ask for – although bear in mind you may still need to tailor headings and content to be compliant with the client’s requirements. Key headings/information may include:

  • Client name
  • Contract/project title/description, location, dates, and value
  • Client contact name, title, telephone number and email (you may also want to note whether you have ongoing permission to use this contact and case study, or whether you need to request permission each time)
  • Brief summary of the contract/project
  • Your role
  • Challenges / issues encountered
  • Results e.g. was the aim of the project to improve performance, and over the course of the project, your role achieved an uplift in customer satisfaction of 20 percentage points?
  • Quantifiable benefits achieved for the client
  • Awards/nominations related to the work
  • Client testimonials

So now we know what to include, but when do you draft or request new case studies? To try and get ahead of the game, why not implement a process whereby each time a project or contract completes, the responsible project manager or account manager completes the case study template as part of the close-out? Or for longer, strategic contracts which may be in place for several years, you could include this activity as part of the client annual review process, meaning it is guaranteed to be updated annually (as a minimum).

Obviously even with the best intentions, we cannot cover off all clients’ scopes and requirements and so we often end up creating new case studies (or amending existing ones) during the bid. If that is the case, provide the template and supporting guidance to the person (or people) with responsibility for drafting, and set a deadline that is both realistic for them to revert by, but also allows enough time for review, potential redraft/amends ahead of the bid final review.

Either way, preparation will save you a considerable amount of time the next time you’re asked for a similar case study.

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Bid process

Internal debriefs

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the value of carrying out client debriefs whether you win or lose a tender. But that is only half of the debrief story. How often do you review the bid process with the bid team who went through it? 

Whether your organisation has multiple service areas and the bid team changes every time, or only one line of business and the same team on each bid – there will still be learnings, and opportunities to improve your processes and win rate. As the APMP Body of Knowledge (BOK) says, “from the internal lessons-learned debriefing, you can learn: how efficiently you operated [and] the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal process”. 

The internal debrief should be conducted as soon as possible after the bid has been submitted

According to the BOK, your process should be to conduct an internal review, develop your internal lessons learned, carry out the external client debrief, and then combine all feedback to develop and implement your improvement plans. While you will need to wait until the client award decision for an external debrief, the internal debrief should be conducted as soon as possible after the bid has been submitted – firstly so the process is fresh in the team’s minds, but also so the team is not clouded (negatively or positively!) by the award decision. 

The focus of the internal review should be positive – rather than ripping apart what went wrong. That is not to say you don’t discuss what didn’t work, but you should approach it from a positive and constructive slant. The session should include all key team members who were involved in the bid, such as technical/solution leads, operational leads, pricing, graphics/design etc. The BOK sets out some of the key areas to think about with the internal team:

  • How effective were our opportunity/capture planning and proposal management processes?
  • Did we get senior managers involved at appropriate points?
  • How do we rate the proposal for compliance, responsiveness, persuasiveness, and clarity?
  • Did we budget correctly for the proposal development efforts (resources, time, and money)?
  • Were the needed decision points properly scheduled and presented to senior management for bid/no-bid decisions?
  • Were the appropriate reviews done? Did they provide significant improvements to the final bid? What could be improved?
  • How well did the team(s) work together?

Consider using a structured feedback form to keep the session to a rough agenda, and to help later in coding/categorising the feedback received. You could also share this ahead of the meeting, so team members have an opportunity to reflect beforehand. When running the feedback session, the leader should encourage feedback to be shared constructively and focus on the bid, not the people involved. 

After the meeting, document lessons and summarise recommendations for improvements, combining them with client feedback into an organisational improvement plan which is communicated to the key stakeholders for action. As the BOK says, “lessons collected are not lessons learned”.

So next time you submit a bid, don’t fall into the trip of thinking the only valid feedback is from the client – your team members can provide equally valuable learnings!

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Bid process

The power of CRM

Building on our ‘Talking to Clients’ series over the past four weeks, my focus is now turning to how you store, analyse and use the client intelligence and insight you gather to support your business development and bidding opportunities. 

Imagine your most important client has predominantly worked with one account manager in your organisation since they joined. They’ve shared hundreds of telephone and email conversations, account management meetings and even partaken of the odd rugby match spectating together. Then the account manager leaves your organisation. If you don’t have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, all that client knowledge leaves with them. 

David Rose, with a lot of information to process https://media4.giphy.com/media/RfkkfkWXq8laiWatVI/giphy.gif?cid=4d1e4f298gojaik3cn39fvg1cu0iipa3hzfjrvrya95g7mjm&rid=giphy.gif

I’ve been a big believer in the power of using CRM to manage client knowledge for many years and was lucky enough to implement Salesforce as our weapon of choice at a previous employer. But CRM can come in many different shapes and sizes to suit your size, needs – and of course your budget; from Salesforce or Zendesk, to budget or free systems such as Hubspot or Insightly*, or even as simple as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or shared folder on your network or in Microsoft Teams. What matters most is not the system you use, but what you record and how you use it to develop the client relationship. Anyone in your organisation should be able to pick up the reins in working with a client – or when it comes to bids and proposals time – and should be able to access the same intelligence and insight as anyone else. 

Recently, a white paper** on this subject was shared with me by a colleague. While the focus is on how consulting firms should use CRM, its learnings are no less useful across all industries; whoever, and wherever, your clients are. As it says:

“A firm’s employees and client networks may be spread around the globe, but they need to collectively work toward a common goal…CRM offers an integrated and comprehensive view of each client relationship, from previous and current engagements to project management, market insight, available resources, and billing.”

Every piece of client information – emails, notes from telephone calls, meeting minutes, press releases, newsletters opened, events attended, bids and proposals submitted, contract renewal dates– should be saved into whatever you use as a CRM tool. This is the basis of your “common goal” of developing client relationships and winning more business. It is not enough, however, to merely save the information and do nothing with it. It must become intelligence. My article on WinningTheBusiness.com last year spoke of how bid tools, including CRM, are only valuable when the right resources are invested, and the right information is put into them. For CRM to be effective for your client relationships, you must engage all stakeholders and users and bring them along on the journey. This message is also evident in the white paper’s ‘five best practices for fully leveraging CRM’:

  • Approach CRM as part of a strategic vision
  • Engage and align leadership
  • Focus on people, not just IT
  • Keep it simple
  • Drive impact

Encourage this sharing of knowledge through defined processes for gathering and saving insight to your system – make it simply part of the day job. Look for trends within and across clients, markets and industries, that you can take externally to your client or internally to your business development teams to encourage the as-yet unseen opportunity. The CRM tool should be the first port of call when a tender is released – what do we already know about this client, who do we know there, what have we discussed or shared with them, what feedback did we receive the last time we pitched, what is happening with other clients in their sector? The client ‘life’ should be in your CRM tool. In short, the white paper states:

“CRM builds personalized experiences, which can greatly enhance relationships and drive growth…[CRM] also enables full visibility over client relationships, which leads to informed decision making.”

It was with this full visibility of client relationships in mind that one contributor’s words jumped out of the white paper as the crux of CRM:

“Understanding those relationships is like piecing together a massive box of jumbled-up Lego [pieces] and then building something unexpected and beautiful” (Vicki Boaden, global Salesforce success lead at PwC).

If the right knowledge is being shared and analysed, who knows what new opportunities could be uncovered. And who doesn’t love playing with Lego?

* Other CRM platforms are available!

**Published by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, sponsored by Salesforce (I promise I am not on commission)

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Bid process

Talking to clients part 4: Client engagement

Whether you have won a new client through a competitive procurement or informal approach, or have a 20-year relationship, client engagement throughout the full lifecycle is vital to maintain and build on that relationship with further business wins. As the APMP Body of Knowledge (BOK) says, “Effectively executing on a contract is the best way to position for future business with an account or client organization. Apply account management techniques, such as regular customer contact, product demonstrations and upgrades, social marketing, and participation in relevant industry and trade events. These activities demonstrate an ongoing interest in the customer’s business and success and help position your organization for future opportunities.”

Johnny Rose’s customer engagement philosophy involved well-known social media site Tweeters https://giphy.com/gifs/schittscreek-schittscreek-pop-poptv-comedy-tv-funny-eugenelevy-danlevy-l0IyhuGIkIfxfLL0I

If you are not already carrying out account management activities with your clients, consider what you are missing out on – both in terms of nurturing a strong relationship, but also in your preparations for the next tender with them. As the BOK states “In a tough competitive market, retaining the business you have is just as difficult as winning new business”.

Your account management team could include project managers, account managers, business development managers, and even service delivery managers and front-line staff. They have daily access to your client and can seek out and gather the vital intelligence to not only improve your current performance, but also identify improvements and innovations for the next contract. You could instigate ad hoc ‘water cooler’ conversations with client representatives to discuss any frustrations, or share/discuss knowledge pieces via e-letters and social media, you can invite them to events, and engage right through to formal performance reporting, client review meetings and satisfaction surveys.

Even if you don’t have a formal function, send somebody to talk to the client.

In last year’s blog about bidding as the incumbent, we shared that complacency is the biggest reason for loss. You should put in as much effort on a tender whether you are bidding to a new client or a current client. Alongside your usual account management activities, if you have a formal client engagement function, start them talking to your client for at least six months before a planned retender. Even if you don’t have a formal function, send somebody to talk to the client. The purpose is to give the client someone more independent than their day-to-day contact, so they can be open on issues or ‘wishlist’ items, or simply bring a new way of looking of things from the client’s perspective. Feed all gathered intelligence into your bid planning, content planning and of course the final submission to show that you are listening to your client. And like the advice for interviewing for an internal position, assume the interviewer (or in our case, client) knows nothing about you. Tell them too much, rather than not enough.

Use every opportunity to learn what they think about you, what you do well, and how you can improve.

Last week’s blog talked about learning from a client debrief, win or lose. Again, the same applies for new clients or an established client in this scenario. Where you win a retender, never assume just because you have worked with the client before, you know what they are thinking, that they thought everything was fine in your submission and, it follows, your relationship. Use every opportunity to learn what they think about you, what you do well, and how you can improve.

Put yourself in the client’s shoes; would you award more work to the supplier who is consistently talking to you, investing their time, holding review meetings, sharing knowledge and interesting articles/blogs/press releases, and seeking to make improvements and add value at every stage – or the supplier that does a good job, but who you only hear from at contract renewal time?

Don’t just think won and done; client engagement should be an ongoing process – it is called an engagement ring after all!

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Bid process

Talking to clients part 3: Debriefs

How often do you request* a debrief with the client after the procurement process has concluded? Rarely or never? Always, but on losses only? Or do you request a debrief every time, whether you have won or lost the contract?

If your answer isn’t the last option, you could well be missing out on important feedback on your tender, your team, your pricing and your approach in general. Without understanding why you won or lost an opportunity, how will your submissions improve? It really is that old adage of the definition of madness being doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Client debriefs are a real opportunity (whether on the telephone, video conference, or even emailing tailored questions) to understand what you did well or where you need to improve. Many bidders only request a debrief on losses, but they are equally important where you have won; you cannot and should not assume the client liked everything about your submission.

So the client has agreed to your request, now what should you be asking? Clearly there will be specifics from your submission, but some ideas are:

  • What were you were looking for from the procurement process? Did it achieve what you wanted?
  • What was your perception of us prior to the procurement? Did this change during the process?
  • How did our submission measure up generally against the other submissions?
  • What did we do well? What could we have improved on?
  • Was there anything in other bidders’ submissions that you particularly liked?
  • Do you feel we demonstrated our experience in your sector/market clearly and effectively?
  • Do you feel that we [have] proposed the right core team for you?
  • How important was pricing in your final decision? How did our pricing compare to other bidders?
  • How did we do in the presentation stage? Do you feel we brought the right team to speak with you? Do you have any comments on any member of the team?
  • How did you make the decision? What was the process? Who was involved?
  • What did other bidders offer in terms of added value services, or meeting your unwritten needs?
  • [If a win] Do you have any concerns about our ability to implement, or our relationship with you going forward?
  • [If a loss] Are you happy for us to stay in contact with you in relation to relevant mailings and event invites?

But don’t let the debrief process end there. File and save the debrief notes, and start coding the responses (e.g. strong team, evidenced qualifications, good use of technology, poor recruitment processes, lack of innovation), chart them, track the themes and share across your organisation with the relevant people. This can provide vital information to your organisation on where you need to focus future strategy and investment, and what you need to focus on as you onboard if you were successful, or tackle for the next go around.

How can you move on and develop a stronger relationship if you don’t know what to address?

All feedback, positive or negative, will help shape not only your next submission (and hopefully improve your success rates!) but also the future of your organisation, and your relationship with the client – whether you won or lost on this occasion. How can you move on and develop a stronger relationship if you don’t know what to address? Learn lessons, improve and share knowledge.

*For the purpose of this blog, we’re talking about the bidder requesting a debrief, not whether the client then agrees to provide one, and not the generic feedback letter you receive upon contract award.

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Bid process

Talking to clients part 2: Pitch presentations

Rory Gilmore, setting the presentation rules
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/417357090468200087/

This week, we’re turning our attention to presentations during the pitch process. The importance of the presentation is confirmed by the APMP Body of Knowledge (BOK), which terms them “oral proposals”. Put simply, they are the opportunity to vocally prove, and evidence, what your written proposal described. As the BOK states, “The written proposal qualifies the selling organization, but the oral proposal may determine the winner.”

Although the team may be made up of highly intelligent people, they may not be experts in oral presentations

APMP Body of Knowledge

If the client has invited your firm to present, they already know, to some extent, you are capable of meeting their requirements. The purpose of the presentation is more likely to assess whether you are the right people for them. How do you gel as a team? What would you be like to work with? Who you choose to attend is therefore vital, and you should give real consideration to at least one of your team being someone who will be ‘on the ground’ with the client – not just the most senior / impressive people in your organisation. If you are including someone more junior or less experienced, consider using a coach to prepare them, and in fact the rest of the team. After all, as the BOK says “although the team may be made up of highly intelligent people, they may not be experts in oral presentations.”

Once you’ve decided on your attendees (within any team size restrictions imposed by the client of course), there are other housekeeping factors to consider:  

  • Client instructions – have you been provided with an agenda, or is it a free format? If the client has given you scope to shape the agenda, ensure you cover the main themes/sections of your submission, and the win themes to draw out.
  • Time limits – is there an overall time limit provided, or timings by agenda point? Does the overall time include Q&A?
  • Setting – is it in-person, or by video conference which has, for obvious reasons, become more prevalent over the past year. If the latter, ensure well ahead of time that the required software is downloaded and works, and you have at least one practice using this software if it is not your organisation’s native video conferencing product.
  • Client team – who will be involved from the client side? What do you know about them and their focus areas? Carry out research before your planning sessions so you can identify the key messages you should be hitting.

When you have considered all the above, in particular the running time and the agenda, thoughts should finally turn to the presentation content itself. Many organisations still see ‘presentation’ and immediately open up the PowerPoint template – but death by slides can be a very real and negative experience. If you are not asked to provide a slide deck, consider why you are still reaching for PowerPoint. Is it really to provide key information to the client, or simply to act as an aide memoire for your team? If you still choose to use slides, ensure they are concise and limited to key points and diagrams only – after all, you don’t want the client-side team reading the slides rather than listening to you.

Just like your proposal, carefully plan the content of your presentation and make sure everyone really knows your written submission. The BOK provides a really useful template to help with this, which doesn’t just focus on replaying the content from your written submission, but calls on you to State, Support and Summarise the key features and benefits of your solution for the client. Assign topics to the most appropriate team members, and ensure everyone gets to speak or the client will question why they are there.

Do not be afraid to add further sessions if required, and encourage all presenters to practice their content on their own

Then it’s rehearse and practice time. You should factor in at least three practice sessions ahead of the presentation date – one to discuss and run through the content at a high level, a second (timed) practice to present more formally and make adjustments to content against running times, and your final practice which should run as though you are in front of the client. Do not be afraid to add further sessions if required, and encourage all presenters to practice their content on their own as well in between sessions.

This planning should mean your team don’t need to rely on the slides to help them through, so consider a one-page placemat instead, which summarises the key points of your submission, your team and your organisation. This should use the same colour and imagery themes as your bid submission and should be handed out after the presentation, not before – else again you risk the client spending more time reading this than listening to you.

Finally, but by no means less important, most presentations include a question and answer session, for which you should be equally prepared. Consider the questions you’re likely to receive – by reviewing the client’s requirements and your submission, assessing the client’s market and sector, and gathering intelligence from within your organisation. Have other teams previously pitched to the same client for other services? Or to similar or even competitor organisations. A little bit of groundwork can often help you plan for the majority of questions you will be asked by the client. But your preparation shouldn’t end there:

  • Group the questions into themes, and divide them amongst the presentation team. Again, if someone is silent during the Q&A it may make the client query why you included them, or what they will actually bring to the relationship. But don’t just allocate for allocation’s sake. If you have the most appropriate attendees on your team, the questions should naturally fall between your presenters. For example, if your project manager is attending, they would naturally answer questions about the onboarding plan, overall project plan and budget. A head of contact centre would be able to answer any questions about the service delivery, recruitment and training, performance management and so on.
  • Practice answering questions more than once, using an independent interviewer who should act as the client, e.g. with little prior knowledge of you and your business.  
  • Build answers into your presentation for those questions you think are most likely. The less the client has to ask to reach their decision, the better!
  • Consider your worst case questions and ensure you have strong answers to these, including covering off any known issues you have; for example if you are the incumbent and performance has slipped recently, come armed with an action plan of how you’ll get the service back on track.

If you find you are regularly falling at the presentation hurdle, try something different. At one firm, we used a mock panel approach for strategically important bids, asking senior staff to sit as the client presentation team. We provided a synopsis of the written submission, and they asked any questions that had naturally come up for them from the synopsis and during the presentation. They then provided feedback on the content and team. We did this stage independent of the pitch team, and then fed back to them after – allowing the mock panel to be as honest as they needed, and provide truly objective feedback which allowed our team to refocus.

Above all, while it may seem like overkill if you know your subject: prepare, prepare, prepare. It could well be the difference between a win and a loss.

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Bid process

Talking to clients part 1: Scoping calls

When you receive an RFP, and are deciding whether to pursue it (or indeed, deciding whether to continue your pursuit, as you should already have a fairly good idea by this point unless it’s a cold bid), how often do you undertake a scoping call with the client?

Many firms assume once an opportunity is issued, the client is off-limits – however this is not always the case. Some clients offer scoping calls as part of the procurement (group and individual), and even if they don’t expressly mention in the RFP documents, you can ask. Worse case, the client says no. Best case, you learn key intelligence and insight that may not have been included in the papers.

So you have the scoping call agreed and diarised – but who should attend, and what should you ask?

The scoping call should involve those who will be heavily involved in the bid production and sign off

Unless the client restricts attendees to one person, you should aim for your bid manager and bid lead (e.g. sponsor, whoever will sign off the submission) to attend as a minimum. You may also find it useful to invite key subject matter expert(s) if the opportunity is technical in nature. At the basic level – the scoping call should involve those who will be heavily involved in the bid production and sign off, so that they fully understand what the client wants, and so can ensure your submission is persuasive and is written to win.

Once your attendees are decided, you should gather scoping questions from the bid team – not just the attendees. It should go without saying that you should not ask anything that is already set out in the documentation, unless it is unclear. Scoping calls are the chance to discuss the client’s unwritten needs or issues, and can give you those golden nuggets of intelligence that other bidders may not have. They can help frame your bid themes and value propositions, and your questions could cross the client’s business/sector, culture and requirements, their position on fees, and the performance of their current providers (if applicable). Of course, there is no guarantee that a client will answer everything you ask, but examples of key questions include:

  • Are any changes planned for your business? What impact will they have?
  • What plans do you have to increase your competitive position?
  • What do you feel are the current issues facing your business?
  • How does this project/service fit into your overall business plans?
  • What, in your opinion, does added value look like? 
  • Who are your current service providers? Why did you choose them? What do they do well, or what would you like to see them do differently?
  • How important are the project/service costs/fees for you? Is there anything that has caused you a problem with fees or billing in the past?
  • What would we need to do to convince you that we are right for you?

Scoping calls can provide an opportunity for you to ‘get into the weeds’ of a tender and the client’s unspoken needs, potentially giving you competitive advantage – all within the procurement rules. As long as you plan properly ahead of time to make the most of the opportunity, what have you got to lose?

The second part of our ‘Talking to clients’ series next week will address presentations within the procurement process. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not just about PowerPoint!

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Bid process

Bidonomy’s top blogs of 2020

We’re quite pleased that the word cloud we’ve created above, from all our published blogs, has team, client, process and content front and centre – quite rightly the factors that underpin every bid!

In terms of readership numbers, these were our top ten blogs of 2020…clearly, everyone’s as into (or frustrated by?!) linguistics as we are! Although also very proud to see the ode to Tommy Caldwell’s free climb up The Dawn Wall of Yosemite so high up the list – a personal favourite blog.

  1. Apostrophe Rage: or, how I learned to love the Oxford comma  
  2. The Redundant That
  3. To bid, or not to bid
  4. The Dawn Bid: Free climbing the bid process
  5. Setting up and managing an effective content library
  6. A brief history of bidding: Past, present and future
  7. Once Upon A Bid
  8. When is Best Practice not best practice?
  9. The Right Team, or the ‘Their Turn’ Team?   
  10. The Great Exec Summary Debate

When Bidonomy was set up in June 2020, we had no idea how well received the blogs would be. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to read and engage with us, and who took part in several polls we ran on LinkedIn.

Happy New Year!

Categories
Bid process

The 12 Days of Bidmas

On the first day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… a double G&T.

On the second day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the third day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the fourth day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the fifth day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… five val-ue adds. Four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the sixth day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… six clarifications, five val-ue adds. Four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the seventh day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… seven client examples, six clarifications, five val-ue adds. Four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the eighth day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… eight fee proposals, seven client examples, six clarifications, five val-ue adds. Four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the ninth day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… nine compliance questions, eight fee proposals, seven client examples, six clarifications, five val-ue adds. Four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the tenth day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… ten detailed bios, nine compliance questions, eight fee proposals, seven client examples, six clarifications, five val-ue adds. Four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the eleventh day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… eleven colour graphics, ten detailed bios, nine compliance questions, eight fee proposals, seven client examples, six clarifications, five val-ue adds. Four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a double G&T.

On the twelfth day of Bidmas, my bid lead gave to me… twelve days till deadline, eleven colour graphics, ten detailed bios, nine compliance questions, eight fee proposals, seven client examples, six clarifications, five val-ue adds. Four hundred pages, three hard copies, two hours sleep, and a doub-le G-&-T!

Happy holidays everyone!

With additional thanks to Victoria Lee for her help in composition.