Take the time to analyse your core strengths and match them to the size and type of tender within your cross hairs - Julian Patel

Analyse your core strengths and match them to the size and type of tender – Julian Patel

This year’s FA Cup has, so far, been an absolutely cracking competition.  Why?  Because so many of the so-called smaller clubs have socked it to the big glamour clubs.  Think Bradford City beating Chelsea, Manchester City losing to Middlesborough and, even worse, my own mighty Southampton losing – all at the home grounds of the bigger clubs!

The reality is, though, that these type of results happen because the smaller clubs have prepared for their big day with an attention to detail that gives them the best chance of success. 

In my mind, there’s a direct analogy here with our channel partners’ ability to win new business from tenders and bids!  A tenuous link?  No! Let me explain…

The gameplan

So, first of all, you need a gameplan with a clear objective and strategy for achieving that objective. Do you have the resources available and in place to realistically win? What type of contract are you looking for?  Whether it be Public Sector, Corporate or SME, you need a strategy in place to ensure you’re in a winning position.  Some of the planning considerations include:

  • Researching & attaining the correct industry accreditations for any public sector contracts, such as ISO9001 or CSA STAR certifications.
  • Can you demonstrate a strong understanding of a corporate’s requirements?
  • Are you willing to invest in innovative technology that could offer a corporate long term savings?

Playing to your strengths

When Bradford City played Chelsea, they recognised what they were really good at and stuck to it.  Again, the comparison is valid when approaching a tender.  Take the time to analyse your core strengths and match them to the size and type of tender within your cross hairs.  Could you scale to meet a much larger contract? Which types of contracts would complement your internal skillset and resources?

Ensure you can compete on the day

A smaller football club will focus on pre-match training to be competitive on the day and, again, the comparison is clear with the tender process.  It’s no good opening a dialogue with an organization at the point the RFP comes out.  A relationship has to be built in advance.  Identify who the procurement manager is; what support do they need?  Build a tender database to hold this information so that, at the time of the RFP, you are in a position to offer a personalised, rather than general, approach.

Know who you are up against

Lastly, you need to understand who you are competing against; what do you know about them that may allow you to get an edge and win?   In tender terms this means researching reasons you should win the contract; can you compete on price?  Can you win on innovation?  What could you deliver exclusively?  Could you offer more flexible billing terms?   What’s your value proposition to the end user?

I spoke in my first blog about coming to Xerox with a mantra of ‘Making it Easier.’ In this blog, I’ve endeavoured to help illustrate how a little time investment in pre-match legwork can set you apart from the rest and increase your success rate with tenders.  Cost does not have to be a barrier!  In my next blog I’ll look at what, once you are on the tender list, you can do to get the result you want.

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