As we have discussed before, the difference between a winning tender, bid or proposal and a loser frequently comes down to what you know before you write a single word … not what you find out after you’ve written the document.
An effective way to know more about a client is to gather your team and run a kick-off meeting for your tender, bid or proposal, before you put your fingers to the keyboard.
A bid team kick-off meeting will help you effectively scan your prospective client’s environment, unlock collective knowledge and deep background, as well as provide clear direction to contributors developing content.
JMA’s suggested agenda for kick-off meetings for your tender, bid or proposal follows.
Agenda – kick-off meeting for your tender, bid or proposal
As a group here are some of the questions you should be able to answer:
- Can we characterise our (prospective) client’s organisation, their culture, range of business operations and functions, and the quality and level of our current and past relationships?
- What do we know about our client’s operating environment? (Financial, relationships with government, industry and regional pressures, political and public drivers, management competence.)
- What has been the stimulus behind requesting proposals? (Cyclic? Political? Cost reduction? New management?)
- Is this RFT/RFP just going to a restricted list?
- Who will be evaluating the responses?
- How are we viewed by the evaluators and our client generally? (What is our reputation and profile?)
- What would they see as our strengths and weaknesses versus our competitors?
- How well do we currently perform on this area of work?
- Who if anyone is this bid written ‘for’?
These are critical questions that you need to ask … and answer … before you respond.
Bonus kick-off meeting questions for your tender, bid or proposal
Other critical areas to evaluate and gain a firm decision on before writing the first word include:
- What work do we want to bid for? Are there geographical or practice limitations?
- How much work are we going to bid for? Is there a minimum threshold? A reasonable maximum?
- How should we price our bid? What are our pricing alternatives?
- Do we clearly understand what it will cost to produce the work?
- What do the client’s expressed requirements really mean? What is it that they really want to buy?
- What do we know about our competitors? What do they do well? Where are we better?
- Are there other expert service providers with whom we should be teaming or jointly bidding?
- What should we be sure to include in our documents?
- What will be persuasive and make a difference?
- Are there any hidden traps, pitfalls, or ‘skeletons’ of which we should be mindful?
- Do we have capacity and enough time to prepare a high quality submission?
As we have discussed before in our blogs Breaking bad bid habits and Four more simple tender tips late decisions or (worse) indecision can create a knock on affect that will seriously hinder development of a complete draft.
While this agenda is comprehensive it will vary for each scenario, so consider this a starting point for questions that your team needs to ask … and answer … during your kick-off meeting for your tender, bid or proposal before responding.
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Remember, nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply Albert Einstein was spot-on when he said “nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply”. Tenders, bids, proposals, and informal pitches for business are not times to show how clever and capable you are by using legalese (I’m looking at you lawyers), […]