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Winning contracts: Taking on Goliath

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1. Get onto the corporate radarFor supply-based industries, third-party brokers are usually the main route to pitch opportunities with large corporates. Build relationships with these brokers. Ultimately, they are the ones who will potentially be recommending your services to the customers.

2. Demonstrate your stability Big businesses can have concerns over the financial stability of SMEs – especially in this climate. Before the e-auction with John Lewis, we held direct discussions with their energy buyer to discuss our background, our investors, our size and our financial results. When our name appeared on e-auction day, the John Lewis decision makers were already comfortable with Opus Energy as a secure electricity supplier. 3. Be hungry With fewer employees, smaller companies can add clout by making senior-level team members directly available to field questions about the business and its services. It shows how much you value new business.

4. Promote the advantages of your sizeFlexibility is often the competitive edge for small companies. Unlike some larger suppliers, Opus Energy could offer a completely bespoke service to John Lewis. We can bolt on specific additional services for the retailer at any point during the contract.

5. Price sensibly Pricing must be based on your true operational costs. Don’t under price yourself, otherwise you may have to make cut backs on the service you provide. Know the best price you are able to offer and make this available early on during an e-auction, so the customer has time to consider it. Be ready to lock in your profit straight away.6. Retain your customersBeing recommended by large corporates for your service is worth its weight in gold when pitching for new business. Make sure you prioritise face-to-face contact before and during the life of the contract. It’s amazing how few businesses do this as standard. Efforts to impress should not stop once the sale has been closed. As far as I’m concerned, no customer contract is considered a success unless the customer wants to renew.  

Related articles:Winning pitches in a recession: part oneWinning pitches in a recession: part two

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