The Tendering Survival Guide - Tip #1

10 Aug 2018

Tendering is a dog-eat-dog world, with only two types of outcome. Either you win. Or you lose.

So, you’ve got to be fit to survive and you’ve got to make every shot count. Tendering is a dog-eat-dog world, with only two types of outcomes. Either you win. Or you lose.  So you’ve got to be fit to survive and you’ve got to make every shot count. 

Over the next few months we’ll show you how to do that. 

Be warned, it’s a jungle out there. But it’s easier to navigate if you remember the PCPC Principle.
The PCPC Principle

Let’s get started by looking at the importance of positioning. 

Tip #1: Postitioning

Positioning involves you gaining a clear understanding of the client, the dynamics of the market they operate in, the competition you’ll be up against and the opportunity itself. It also involves you understanding if, how and where you fit into this picture, so that you can best chase those opportunities that match your organisation’s unique DNA. Some-positioning related questions you need to ask are:

  1. Understand your target client: What opportunities would you like to win? And what are the characteristics of the organisations offering those opportunities?
  2. Understand the competitors: What competitors will also be chasing those opportunities? What’s their approach likely to be? How do they differ from you? 
  3. Understand your competitive advantages: How can your company tweak its offering to best meet the needs of your target clients? What sets you apart? How can you differentiate yourselves from the competition? 

For ease of understanding let’s apply this to a situation. You are tasked with surviving in a river-filled forest. In order to survive, one of your opportunities is to catch fish. So let’s walk through the questions:

  1. Understand your target client: What fish are going to satisfy your hunger? How many do you need to catch? What lures do they prefer? Which parts of the river are likely to deliver the best catch rate?
  2. Understand the competitors: Is anyone else likely to be fishing this part of the river? What fishing techniques will they be using? Are they any good? How can you beat them to the best spots? 
  3. Understand your competitive advantages: Can you cast further? Do you have custom-made lures? Are you more patient? Are you an earlier riser? 

It’s this same sort of knowledge of your ideal clients, your competitors and yourself that provides the foundation for any good bid strategy. Armed with this, you can disregard the opportunities that aren’t a great fit and, instead, focus your resources and energy toward bids that have a much higher probability of success. 

Your survival challenge for the month: 

  • Build a checklist of five things that would make an ideal opportunity for your organisation.
  • Order them in terms of importance.
  • Implement this checklist to filter “good” opportunities from the “just okays”, to arrive at a clear bid/no-bid decision for each one. 
  • Remember, if it’s not “hell yes!”, then it’s “hell no!”   

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Add a comment2 Comments

Reply peter booth (Author) August 14th, 2018 at 1:07pm
We have won many tenders and invariably there is a panel of suppliers.
In many instances, we don’t get to quote on any work, let alone win any jobs!!!
Most of our industry now treats Tenders and Tenderers with disdain!
It’s a lot of work, time and money, of which we are all mostly short of.
You may wish to pass this back to potential Tenderers, as it is costing them in the long run now, by many good suppliers not Tendering and they don’t even know it!

Good luck with your Tenders.
Reply Rob Cook (Author) August 14th, 2018 at 3:28pm
Hi Peter

Thanks for your comment. From our experience, procurers' use of panels varies depending on the purchase category. It seems prevalent in some and less so in others. Clearly it's common practice in your industry. Technically speaking, if you're in a panel, you've already won your way into a shortlist of providers so, in theory anyway, that should increase your chance of winning.

If many in your industry are not keen on the tendering process, your collective non-participation may eventually cause the procurer/tenderer to alter the way they go to market as in the end, they need supply.

We see that variety in the many types of notices we publish through our notification service e.g. requests for quotes, expressions of interest, requests for information and of course requests for tender.

It's also heartening to see the "voice of the supplier" being more strongly represented at many of the procurement industry events we attend. This is causing procurers to start thinking about how to position themselves as a procurer of choice. Long may that last as shows respect for the importance of suppliers in the whole procurement process.

Thanks again for your comments.

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