When should you get impartial feedback on your bid - before or after it’s submitted?
Getting honest feedback about your tender submissions is essential. Asking for structured feedback from clients is something every business that is serious about improving its bid win rate should do. Yet a surprising number choose not to take the opportunity. Or, if they do, the lessons remain buried in the bid file rather than being shared. But post-tender client feedback isn’t your only option for getting useful feedback.
In many ways you can’t beat feedback ‘straight from the horse’s mouth.’ Feedback from your client or their nominated bid review team should be totally objective. And it will be directly related to the bid you just submitted. You should also get insights into what positive things the winning bidder did and why their submission was scored higher than yours.
Why don’t more businesses do this? Maybe it’s because it’s after the event and the outcome isn’t going to change. For some, hearing about where you fell short despite believing you had answered the client’s questions can be dispiriting. Some may even worry about confrontation and damaging the relationship for future bids.
Losing a Bid Hurts More than Your Pride
The impact of losing a high profile tender is significant. It could affect investor confidence and your reputation in the marketplace. There’s also the issue of the time and resources that you sink into bids for no return.
So, is there an additional way to get feedback, one that could influence the outcome of the tender and be seen as a positive growth opportunity for your bid team?
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.
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.