I worked recently for a relatively small company that was preparing for the client interview. They believed that larger competitors found it easier to gather teams together to work on tenders. It stands to reason: bigger organisation, more resource and less pressure when it comes to releasing key individuals. They were surprised when I said that, in my experience, this isn’t true.
All businesses struggle during the final stages of a major bid. There may be an exception to this but I’ve never seen it. They struggle to get key people together to contribute to the documents, the key messages and win themes. Most of all they struggle to get people to commit time from their day job.
In particular, pretty much all clients find it extremely difficult to devote enough time to interview and presentation preparation. Yet this precious time can be the difference between an uninspiring presentation and one that makes the client feel as though they are being seen as unique.
The truth is, that no matter the size of an organisation the good people are always in great demand and not readily available for bid preparation. They are always the ones put into the most challenging environments and asked to get the results. They are also the ones people think of first when they want to put together an “A” team, and, surprise surprise, they are always very busy.
Organisations these days cannot afford to have talented people sitting around waiting for projects to come rolling in. So, what’s the answer?
Tackling the resource issue:
- Only bid for projects that you really want to win.
- Only bid for projects where you have a realistic chance of winning, rather than tie up resources on ‘punts’.
- Plan, plan, plan. Know when critical bids will become active and when team input will be needed.
- Commit your resources to important bids and throw everything at them. Bid less, win more and improve profitability.
In spite of this, resourcing the bid with all the skills you need to win will still be tough, which is where external expertise adds real value. External expertise can supplement existing skills and provide coaching on areas outside your core skills - such as communication and behavioural assessments.
Bringing in the right external help at the right time is often the difference between success and failure.
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