Winning bids is a skill. It’s not just a simple process of creating bids. It’s about building a credible, dynamic and engaging strategy. This is often lost during the process of producing a compliant bid. It is especially difficult to do if you’re the incumbent on a contract. Over the years I have worked with many sales team to help them understand the crucial importance of building momentum into bids. It should not be a static process you have to gift the bid writer a winning strategy. This isn’t done by happenstance and good fortune. It involves planning, vision and total understanding of what you would like to achieve, what the customer wants and what your competitors are doing. The bidding process should start months if not a year before submission date.
This is really hard to communicate to disparate teams working across myriad of disciplines. The reality of this is that the NHS in particular finds it tough to win work in a competitive tender environment especially if the commissioner is driven by more than price. The statistics tells us the the hit rate for retention is low for NHS organisations. What can they do? The simple answer seems to be bring in a bid manager. Fine but that’s only part of the answer. This is somebody who is a specialist at taking a vision and strategy and turning it into a compliant and hopefully engaging answer. If you fail to develop that strategy and vision the bid manager is no more than somebody collecting information to shoehorn into a pretty dull bid.
This process shouldn’t be a chore – it’s business critical – and the poor commissioner really does want to be engaged. They would like to see flare, vision and a deep understanding of how you can improve what’s already there. Successful commercial organisation build teams around this and have deep knowledge of sales and bid strategies. They plan to win. They invest to win. In many ways this makes for a unlevelled playing field. These are not skills honed in days, but in fact years and create winning environments built around accentuating current positives and building sweeping, grand visions.
At HealthBid we have pulled together a team of people who have deployed these strategies with incredible success for many years. The core team won over £500m worth of contracts last year with the NHS and had a hit rate over 85%. We also won grants and governments programmes. Complex, difficult stuff which we built from a distance and worked towards over a period. We believe that simply employing consultants and bid writers isn’t the answer – you can spend less and get more by investing in a group of specialist to refine and develop a long term bidding strategy. You need to ensure your organisations visions is hard wired into the bid and is demonstrated at every stage, pre–bid engagement, PQQ, ITT, presentation and beyond.
We love doing this at HealthBid and we really want to help healthcare organisations getting better. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune and can be amazingly productive beyond the simple scope of a bid. Learning how to be creative and sales focused is no bad thing and can transform elements of your organisations – after all it is all about improving care and developing new solutions.
If you’re interested in doing something different and moving beyond the mundane and developing long-term winning sales strategies then why not call me and the team. We’ll even do quite a lot of free just to help you on the way.