Much of your business success has probably been built on personal contacts, direct knowledge of your clients and the relative directness of their purchasing procedures. Relationships are critical.
But nothing stays the same. The world has become more competitive. Clients want ‘more for less’ and may decide at any time to explore beyond existing relationships. They want to see if there are better ways to meet their business needs.
In a recent article we looked at how social value is becoming increasingly important in public and private sector procurement. This trend is particularly marked in construction. If you are tendering for building projects in social housing, education, healthcare or infrastructure you need to pay very careful attention to social value.
In addition to the tight margins on construction tenders that limit scope for any ‘extras’, there are other challenges for the bid team. For one thing, teams tend to be highly focused on project deliverables. Thinking or talking about activities that aren’t part of core project delivery is a cultural shift.
When I’m helping teams prepare for an interview it’s difficult enough to lift heads from the detail to look at the bigger picture of client value. And that’s before thinking about things that can seem a bit like “soft and fluffy stuff”.
Social value used to be something that some businesses chose to do as part of their CSR commitment. For public sector clients it was a nice to have but was rarely a significant factor in the decision making.
In recent years all this has changed. This is partly because public sector bodies are legally required to promote social value through their contracting. Partly it’s also driven by organisations seeking to restore the social value that came from local employment practices when services were provided by direct labour rather than contracted out.
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.