A very succinct guide to winning contracts – for suppliers

By nature procurement is a competitive business – and while that sounds obvious, sometimes we don’t stop and think about just how hard it is to get a foothold in the world of contracts and tenders without a lot of time, effort and money investment. Especially so for smaller organisations.

We ‘win’ contracts, which means we have to be in the race, and this, as we know, involves so much more than simply registering your capabilities. You have to do the leg work, and understand your market and the buyer’s needs, and be in a position to sell your wares above anyone else’s. It’s all about differentiation – especially where multiple bids are concerned, because each one must be different, so a template style approach won’t cut the mustard.

So we were delighted to come across a rather handy new ebook for suppliers from supplier information and supply chain management firm, Achilles.

It’s a short and succinct, pocket-sized guide to help suppliers prepare, find opportunities, understand buyer needs, assemble the right team and write the bid. We like its premise that ‘great bids start long before any words are put on a page!’

Here’s a synopsis of what you’ll find in each section:

Preparing

  • Look to your internal processes – it all starts with having all the information you need in one place, so that all statements you make can be easily evidenced.
  • Consider pre-qualification – so you appear in searches of qualified suppliers.
  • Data management and document control are key – if it’s not accurate, up-to-date and retrievable you can’t demonstrate the quality of your practices and past experience.

Finding opportunities

  • It’s important to look ahead, not just at what is in the offing now. Many projects, particularly government ones, are a long time in the making, and can be a very lucrative source of opportunities for suppliers.
  • Look out for buyers’ Forward Workplans.’
  • Stay connected with peers and other contacts in your industry, they can provide experience and insight and help you connect with the right people.

Understanding buyer needs

  • Reviewing buyers’ past ITTs will give you an indication of the kind of additional information to include to help you stand out.
  • They will also tell you how submissions work, such as timeframes and format rules, and possibly how they are scored, so that you are ahead of the game.
  • Read and keep up to date with the buyers’ websites, mission statements, blogs, news and so on, to help you frame the right response.

Bid writing

  • This is the big one. You have to inform and persuade a time-poor procurement team, keeping it short but targeted is a real skill.
  • Outline the positive impact you can make, but use language that will resonate with them (look back at the penultimate point).
  • Make sure everything you say can be backed up. Be honest!

The right team

  • Decide on and be clear who will be performing which tasks.
  • Use your team members’ capabilities as an asset in your submission.
  • Empower those people to prioritise the bid, but remember someone has to be doing the day job.

This is just a small taste of what’s in the ebook. Each section goes deeper into each point, and summarises with a handy best-practice list at the end of each one.  It’s definitely worth a 5-minute read of your time, or something to keep in your virtual pocket.

Rebecca Bantoft, Achilles global head of corporate communications, said:

"Working with businesses on both sides of the procurement process, we know that winning contracts is no longer just about presenting a simple list of capabilities. It’s a blend of art, science and a coherent, believable value proposition. Achilles’ ultimate guide to winning contracts is the new playbook you need to help you win business, with tips on how to be proactive, not just reactive in your business development efforts."

You can download it here for free.

 

 

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