Sales – The Forgotten Word in Bids

A bid has to do many things for the evaluator – educate them, inform them – but most importantly it has to sell to them. All bids are part of the sales process. Whilst this sounds obvious, we regularly review bids that have forgotten that the point of going through the process is to win work. Some organisations seem almost apologetic to sell, something that is especially true in the public sector.

Some of this is due to the way tender questions are structured. Questions asking for a factual response don’t immediately offer an opportunity to sell to the commissioner. “Is your organisation certified to ISO9001 (or equivalent) standard?” doesn’t, at first glance, offer much to pitch against.

Formatting can hinder the sales pitch too – writing answers into a text box on a portal don’t give the same possibilities as ones in a Word document.

Despite these frustrations, it’s important to remember that as the bidding organisation, the onus is with you to sell, not to wait for the commissioners to ask. That’s why we make every answer to every question a sales pitch. No-one wants a brazen sales pitch that ignores the question, but there is a middle ground to be found between that and a dry, boring response, in order to sell our client’s organisation effectively.

There’s an art to this. At HealthBid, we spend time with our clients developing win themes, and then incorporating at least one of these into every single answer, no matter how factual. A win theme is something that tells the commissioner why they should award the contract to a particular client, and where possible should be unique to that bidder. A question about ISO9001 compliance? Our answer will tell the commissioner that our client has ISO9001, but also why they care – because quality matters to them.

We often run these win theme sessions separately to the bid process, so that we can allow clients the space to really think through what makes their business different without getting bogged down in the specifics of a question. We find that with the right challenge organisations who don’t think of themselves as ‘doing’ sales – an NHS Trust for example – actually can sell, and indeed have some brilliant, unique win themes. This information can then be taken forward into the Pink Team storyboarding session, and incorporated into the bid.

To find out more about how we can support your team to identify win themes, and use these to improve bids, get in touch with Laura Moore on 07341 338200, or email via our contact page.


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