Bids & The Tender Process are a Waste of Time & Money
Bids & The Tender Process which includes Bids, ITT (Invitation To Tender), RFP’s (Request For Proposal), PQQ’s (Pre Qualification Questionairre), and Frameworks, whilst common when selling to Government bodies, are now also more common in commercial business. There are also now many websites and businesses who provide notification services to make sure you don’t miss out on these opportunities, so much so, that you can spend your whole sales life completing Bids & Tenders. Many of the tenders can be detailed and not only require sales resources to respond, but also valuable technical pre-sales time and knowledge. This all costs the business money, so at what point does this become wasted resource, at what point are we better declining to respond and walking away? Whilst you can never guarantee success in sales is there some way we can at least improve our chances of winning, and equally as important, is there some way we can reduce the amount of time and resources spent on bids & tenders that we are most likely to lose? The answer is most definitely Yes and here’s how.
In the same way as there is a Qualification Process for leads, there needs to be a Qualification Process for Bids & Tenders. Sales Leads often appear at the start of the buying process – information gathering and needs analysis, whilst a Bid or Tender is most often towards the end of the buying process and the buyer is in the solution phase. The qualification criteria therefore may well be different from a general sales lead, as the circumstances are different. Over the years we have helped clients design fantastic Qualification Matrix & Processes, but in the spirit of keeping things simple here is a great starting point.
1) Do you have a Relationship with any of the Buyers in the Buying Organization?
People buy from people and this includes Bids & Tenders. Yes there may well be a scorecard in the Tender Process that is designed to be objective and eliminate sales influence, but the facts remain most Tenders are won buy the company who has got in early, done all the groundwork, helped shape the Bid/Tender criteria and built a Relationship with the buying team. Never forget that is what sales people are paid to do.
2) Does your offer have a clear price advantage over the competition?
Price is a driver for tenders although it is DEFINITELY not the only driver. We have many clients who continue to win Bids & Tenders with higher pricing, however human nature means we all love a bargain. The feeling that we have saved some hard won money.
3) Is your solution truly unique and/or disruptive?
Does your solution produce the same impact as your competition but via a different method or route? If this is the case, does your prospect recognize and understand it is truly unique, if so is it proven, is it proven in the prospects industry and do you have Case Studies and references from the prospects industry?
If you can genuinely tick two out of three from the list above then you have a basic qualification criteria for your Tender Process, that will eliminate most but not all of the bids and tenders that you have little or no chance of winning.
There will of course be many circumstances where people have won a blind Tender or Bid without passing the criteria above, and that will continue to happen. What will also continue to happen though, is that without any qualification criteria in your Tender Process, time, money and valuable sales resource could be wasted on Bids & Tenders that are going nowhere. There is a huge cost of sale to Bids & Tenders that many companies either choose to ignore, or are simply not aware of. There are of course many additional qualification criteria to the three above you may wish to include before responding, however in the absence of those please use the simple check list above to help increase your win ratio and reduce your cost of sales.
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