They know that their presentation absolutely has to be polished and persuasive. They’re only too aware that they have to know the contract requirements inside out. They must have convincing answers prepared for whatever questions the client could throw at them. And then they realise that they’ve left it all too late.
There’s an age old adage that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ And what many businesses don’t know is just how much effort is required to prepare a winning presentation. Not just to craft an unstoppable argument in favour of their solution, but also to fully grasp all of the project requirements and anticipate what they’re going to get asked.
Having worked on hundreds of bids I can normally look at the tender documents and give a pretty accurate estimate of how long it will take the bid team to prepare.
This is almost always more time than the bid manager or business leaders expect. Fortunately, when I break down the tasks and specify what every workshop will cover most businesses agree.
Some though, explain that they simply can’t spare that amount of time or budget. We do what we can - but the uncomfortable moment of truth eventually dawns.
The simple lesson here is that even with professional help, most businesses underestimate how much work they need to do to have the best possible chance of winning.
Who knows what happens with bid teams that don’t use an additional specialist resource.
Perhaps the best general advice I can give is to estimate how long you think preparation should take and then double it.
Planning for additional time doesn’t mean you have to use it. But if you don’t plan for it you’ll never have it. And, in reality, ‘surplus’ time can always be used productively to hone and practise your pitch and build confidence in your delivery.
You can never spend too much time preparing but it’s all too easy to spend not nearly enough.