If you’re reading this, you no doubt have an in-house ‘bid team’ of some description.
Your bid team might be a dedicated group of specialists who focus each day on writing and managing bids. Or, it might be someone on your team who fits tendering in alongside their 'day job'.
Whatever your bid team looks like, are you confident your tendering activities are having the desired impact (including leading your business in the direction that you're wanting to head in?) If not, repercussions can include missed opportunities, wasted resources, and poor-quality bids which don't provide good return on investment (ROI) for your business.
Consider the following five questions, to take stock of your business’s current approach to tendering:
1. Do you have a documented tendering plan for this financial year?
No doubt your business or annual plan includes specific revenue and/or growth targets. But do you know exactly how tendering will contribute to your business’s financial performance? If you don’t have a plan, a good place to start is by collating the details of:
- ‘Expiring’ contracts your business needs to re-tender for and retain
- Key clients or contracts you have identified for acquisition
- Sectors or markets where you have identified opportunities for expansion, and
- How you will regularly ‘scan’ the market for tenders in your areas of expertise and capability.
Bidding for contracts which aren’t aligned to your business objectives can be a waste of resource (and distract you from opportunities which are). Having a clear plan of the specific tenders, clients and opportunities you wish to target is the best way to optimise your team’s time and tendering budget.
2. Do you have a process for deciding which opportunities to tender for?
With a tendering plan in place, ‘go/no-go’ decisions are more straight-forward and can be linked directly to a specific business objective (for example, a financial target or a longer-term strategy to acquire a key client). You could consider drawing up a simple decision-making matrix aligned to the tendering priorities identified in your plan to support consistent and strategically sound decisions.
3. Do you calculate potential ROI so the ‘right’ level of resource can be invested in a bid?
While there can be reasons other than financial return for tendering (e.g. client relationship and acquisition strategies), it is important to ensure the time and money you invest is appropriate. For example, a lowest price conforming bid which will yield $20,000 profit demands a different approach to a 70% non-price/30% price tender which will add $200,000 to your bottom line.
By calculating potential Return on Investment (ROI), you can eliminate ‘over production’ of low return bids and set budgets at an appropriate level for bids where potential ROI is high, and quality of content and presentation is non-negotiable. If you produce a large number of bids each year, it may be worth creating a set of bid templates, design and production specifications which align presentation and format to potential ROI.
4. Does capacity planning form part of your tendering practice?
Regardless of the size of your business, the staff members who write and manage your bids have a finite number of hours in their week. A tendering plan and robust ‘go/no go’ process will ensure time is invested only in bids aligned to your business strategy. However, best practice should also include planning early and managing capacity to support quality and quantity of bid submissions.
5. Do you know when to bring in external resources?
Finally, a good tendering plan should include the flexibility (and budget) to bring in additional resources, if required. Obviously, this is an area where Plan A can assist. The reasons our clients most often choose to engage us include:
- ‘Must win’ bids, where the quality of the content and presentation are important – and having a specialist bid writer can help to improve the evaluation scores
- Submissions to existing/potential key clients, where the objective is to create positive brand perceptions, and/or open up dialogue with the client
- Assistance with overflow, when in-house bid teams are at full capacity
- Specific/targeted expertise, including development of bid strategy; bid management; preparation and coaching for client presentations.
Whatever your tendering requirements, we have a large team located around the country (and beyond) who have the skills and expertise to help. If you'd like insight on where you could lift your game with your tenders, get in touch.