BD tips and insights

3 essential win themes for tenders, bids or proposals to the financial services sector

When it comes to preparing your next tender, bid or proposal to the financial services sector it is a good idea to establish your key “win themes” at the outset.

“Win themes” are those key selling arguments and messages that will be repeated, re-spun, and repeated again in several places and in several different ways both overtly and subtly throughout your bid.

Clear win themes not only reinforce your appeal with prospective clients assessing your bid, but they help all contributors drafting the bid understand which elements to ‘play up’ and what evidence needs to be gathered to establish your credentials.

3 essential win themes for professional services firms bidding to win with the financial services sector

Specifics sell.

And in Australia, with the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry interim report imminent,
3 essential win themes have emerged.

While these 3 themes were always important it is now essential for professionals hoping to work with financial services clients to demonstrate how they ‘get it’ and will respond appropriately to:

  1. your client’s concerns about commercial sensitivities
  2. regulator interest and enquiries of your client
  3. managing conflicting interests during your work for the client.

Astute banking, insurance financial services consumers will increasingly value professional services firms who show that they are both fully aware of commercial realities and can respond appropriately to conflict and/or regulator interest.

Ideally your bid will demonstrate clearly not only that you will not only merely safeguard their reputation, but their choice of you as an external provider will actually enhance their standing with their clients, customers and the market at large.

Distilling the 3 essential win themes for your professional services firm’s tender, bid or proposal

JMA’s quick checklist will help you to develop your own win themes or key selling arguments to position your tender, bid or proposal for a win with a bank or insurer client:

  • Your understanding of this client’s sensitivities to commercial confidentiality issues and conflicts
  • Protocols to maintain confidentiality (no, don’t just treat this as a “given”)
  • Support, tools and experience in swiftly dealing with regulator interest and enquiries
  • Systems and processes you use to recognise potential conflicting interests
  • Due diligence you have conducted to establish that there is “no conflict”
  • Your firm’s policies (in particular governance structure)
  • Real life examples of commercial sensitivities you have recognised and your response to these
  • Examples of actual and possible conflicts – and what you would propose to do about them
  • Ongoing input and collaboration from your client on these areas, and how you propose to obtain it and increase their capabilities
  • What work/other clients you would be prepared to relinquish in order to establish and maintain a long-term relationship with this client – that is, how much this relationship does/will mean to you and what “price” you’re prepared to pay for it
  • How far you’ll go to protect and advance your client’s interest.

While far from exhaustive, this list is a useful starting point in determining how best to position your firm’s alignment to the 3 hot win themes and to maximise your bid’s probability of success.

Evidencing your 3 essential win themes

It’s one thing to claim strong skills around commerciality, governance, conflicts and responsible management but it’s another thing to show it convincingly to a prospective client.

If you need some tips on building solid proof to evidence your win themes head to our blog Using firm governance and management to gain competitive (and other) advantages for guidance on how to demonstrate your fit and prove your firm as the ‘best’ choice. There’s even a ‘how to’ guide on creating policies for your firm.

By proactively and constructively dealing with your client’s commercial sensitivities, concerns around regulators or any possible conflicts (and backing up your claims with evidence) you will increase your professional services firm’s appeal by reducing perceptions of risk in accepting your proposal and establishing a business relationship with you.

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Tender readability – tips to improve your tender presentation and some tender presentation no-nos

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Tender readability remains a problem for some in the 21st century. I still see submission documents that cling to a handful of really old hat tender presentation and formatting techniques. I suspect this is because some of these ‘rules’ are viewed as being more appropriate to a ‘formal’ style of document such as a tender. […]