In essence the aim is to bid less but win more often.
1. Be realistic with your targets
Much has been written about ideal customer profiles and this is fundamental to making sure resources aren’t wasted. Identify your ideal customers and only invest time on bids where you have a very realistic chance of winning. Frequently sales teams when pipelines are light will stretch qualification criteria simply to have a live bid to work on. You have to be the conscience of the sales team. Think about it this way: how many truly speculative bids do you ever end up winning anyway?
2. If you do bid then go the extra mile
New business is so competitive that you typically need to go beyond your normal efforts to be successful and this does not mean reducing cost. You need to stand out from the competition and so identify what going the extra mile means to your business and deliver it to your prospects. And always keep in mind: what worked a year ago may not work today.
3. Lead from the front
It may not always be practical but as a business leader whenever possible get in front of your new business opportunities with your bid team. I’m a firm believer that new business success is a team effort and so having an active part in bids not only shows commitment to your prospect it also can be a real motivator to your team internally.
Clearly there are lots of other factors that influence new business success. However, as a business leader if you are disciplined in only allocating resources to opportunities in your sweet spot, differentiate yourself from your competition by the pre-sales service you provide, and take more responsibility, you should be in with a fighting chance of improving your success rate and ultimately, your bottom line.
Fergus Gilmore is MD of the Deltek UK and Central Europe professional services organisation. He has over 20 years’ experience of working in the ERP software industry with extensive experience in both the private and public sector.