Well here we are at the start of 2016 and many of you will have already set your New Year resolutions with the determination to success and make this year different to those gone before. On the other hand some of you may have already slipped up and decided that a particular resolution wasn’t realistic anyway so you’ll just forget about it! Now, my interest isn’t about your dieting regime or if you’ll get fit and run a marathon but whether you can improve your performance this year and win more business…so how can you ensure that you stick to this resolution?
The problem to sticking to a plan is often that it is ill conceived in the flush of seasonal emotion and not really based on any analysis of what you did before and how you can realistically improve going forward. New goals are often set without really taking the time to look back over previous performance and consider what you might change for greater benefit. It is only when you know what areas you can improve or need to improve that you can look at changing how you work.
For instance, last year I saw a change in the way organisations asked bidders to respond to their enquiries. There was a significant move across many bids and many sectors that required bidders to provide a method statement to detail how they would undertake a specific task to satisfy the client’s planned outcome. This was reflected in the instructions when procurement managers asked bidders to say how they would undertake a particular task specific to their project – a general, rambling response with lots of marketing information was made all the more difficult by limiting the number or words or pages available in which to provide the information.
But why the change and what does it all mean? It’s simple…client want you to answer that all important question,
And by asking you to strip back the marketing information and only write about your specific solution to their problem, clients can more easily understand what you will do to help them achieve their objectives.
So what does this mean for those of us who want to win more business?
Well, I will be analysing our performance last year and benchmarking where we didn’t achieve the results we wanted. This will provide detailed information from which we can target our approach – it will include looking at scores for specific questions where we didn’t achieve the highest possible marks and provide a checklist to use in the future. You can do a similar analysis by using the approach I outlined in my November LinkedIn Post, ‘How a Big Fat Pen Can Improve Your Bid!’
I will also look at whether we have direct control to influence any changes either within Vision or through our client’s systems to improve the outcomes. This may include pre-bid business development activities, pricing to win strategies or controls to be implemented throughout the bidding process to get the results we want.
At Vision, we focus on communicating effectively so this is another opportunity for us to reassess our communication style so it connects faster and better with our client’s prospective customers. In my work I get to read a lot of bids and see common writing styles repeated time and time again within and across organisations – it is most likely a product of education and authors using previous bids as examples of how they should be written. If I get bored reading these types of responses you can imagine how the procurement team feels when faced with multiple bids all answering the same questions!
Change is needed to make bid responses more interesting to read and even more personal so your audience is fully engaged and wants to know more about what’s in it for them…
Unlike those doomed-to-fail New Year resolutions, a proper plan based on realistic performance analysis from last year will show you where you can and should implement change for the best. And to ensure you stick to it, implement your new approach gradually as you achieve more success and gain confidence so it becomes part of your normal approach over the long term.
- Go back over your bids from last year and write a list of what worked and what didn’t – don’t fool yourself it all worked well!
- Dig a bit deeper by analysing some of your bids – be really critical and don’t rely on the feedback of assessors. Use the techniques we discussed in the November LinkedIn Post, ‘How a Big Fat Pen Can Improve Your Bid!’ to help you stay focused.
- Schedule the changes you can make to improve your performance and rank them under short, medium and long-term headings- you can always add more later if you miss any.
- Now, pick one or two of the easiest and start making those changes today!