I was reading some interesting research recently about the attitudes and approaches of both buyers and bidders to the tendering process. What struck me is how differently buyers and bidders still tend to see the world. The Bid Coach is all about narrowing the perception gap between bidders and the people who put contracts out to tender.
A few findings leapt out at me. The first was that less than 50% of bidders rated the quality of their bids at greater than 7 out of 10. In my experience bidders overestimate the quality of the bids they submit, this suggests that the majority of bids submitted are sub-standard (and that bidders know it!).
You would imagine that the fallout from the collapse of a business the size of Carillion would lead to clients and contractors questioning their approach to public sector tenders. But is anything changing? And will any changes be permanent or a temporary reaction to a traumatic event?
There are, of course, many factors involved in the Carillion situation and we’ll know more about them in time. Received wisdom is that an aggressive pricing strategy led to them taking on contracts that didn’t generate enough (or any) margin to sustain their business model, or to cope with financial shocks of major project overruns.
Adversity is always a learning opportunity, so they say. In which case the recent blast of icy weather gave us plenty of chances to absorb some valuable lessons.
Comparisons also help us understand where we stand in relation to others. As a bid coach I also can’t help reflecting on parallels between how snowstorms affect the UK compared to other countries, and the performance of well and poorly prepared teams facing the challenges of a bid interview or behavioural assessment.
Let’s use Denmark as a comparison. Here they routinely deal with snowfall and temperatures on this level without loss of life, travel chaos, interruption to vital services and legions of stranded motorists. There are five key areas where their approach differs from the UK. These factors are highly relevant to the tender process.
There’s a little part of most people that imagines themselves standing up in front of an audience and having them eating out of their hand. Rapt, the audience hangs on every word, laughs on cue and follows every nuance.
And most people grudgingly admit that this vision is unattainable. They feel they lack the booming voice, and the broad sweeps and gestures of the theatrical presentation style that they think will be needed.
Well, here’s the good news. It’s inside all of us to command the attention of a room full of strangers. To find the secret of how to do this, inside ourselves is where we need to look. Unless you have the acting talent of Olivier the secret doesn’t lie in pretending to be someone else. It’s about being yourself, only more so.
Be honest, we’ve all done it. Sat through a presentation wishing, hoping and praying that the ground would swallow us up. Staying awake through a mixture of willpower and distraction. And then, after the presentation, the presenter asks you what you thought and whether you found it useful. And you said, “...
Did you tell them that the audience already knew most of what they covered, that their slides were boring, that you struggled to relate the content to the title, that their presenting style lacked colour or conviction?
Or did you do the ‘British thing’ and say, ‘it was great, everyone really enjoyed it!’?
I have many years of senior sales and account management positions.
This experience taught me how to interpret exactly what clients are seeking, and what they need and expect to see and hear from the successful bidder. We draw on this experience to give your team an additional competitive advantage by building on their existing strengths while improving their team-working and self-awareness.