A new era of engagement – modern solutions for old problems

David Lunn CP.APMP, MCIPS

 

BidWrite’s always done things a bit differently.

When establishing BidWrite more than 13 years ago with my co-founder Nigel Dennis, we saw the value to clients in combining our decades of procurement and bidding experience to create what we call the 360° approach to tendering. This underpinning principle continues to shape how we help our clients.

And our longstanding commitment to the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), the global professional body for proposal writers, has helped raise the profile of our profession and the standard of our clients’ tendering across Australia and New Zealand. In fact, Nigel’s decision to form the ANZ APMP Chapter rates amongst his most satisfying and is something we are all very proud of.

With staff development and retention central to our business model, we’ve also steadfastly steered away from the more common contractor/labour hire resourcing model. While we appreciate the risk mitigation offered by such a model, we just don’t believe it’s in the best interests of our clients or our staff, both of whom deserve the security and evolving familiarity of longstanding relationships.

 

So what’s next?  The time is ripe for more innovation…

Our business model and focus on professionalism continue to serve our clients and us well. But we all know that complacency is a business killer. For a while now we’ve observed that although basic market engagement and contracting approaches may look stable if viewed from a distance, changes in how organisations win and retain business are everywhere. These changes have manifested in three key ways:

(1) Opportunity uncertainty – Pandemic fuelled ‘choppiness’ is pushing and pulling projected tender dates and lead times. It’s injected more uncertainly into an environment that already has a fair amount of stop, go, wait (you can read more about that here). This increasingly volatile tendering environment hinders our clients’ ability to effectively and efficiently plan and resource their work winning endeavours.

(2) Demand for expertise outstripping supply – The availability of high-quality bidding support is being exceeded by demand. In our line of work, this inevitably leads to potential conflicts of interest. One consequence is that we (and I’m sure others) are now frequently having to say no to valued clients because others have beaten them to the draw in engaging our services. Although in the context of things it’s a good problem to have, it’s still a problem and one we feel very keenly.

(3) ‘Work winning’ maturation – A natural result of the growing sophistication of overall sales performance is that buyers’ expectations of tendering capability have risen. With bidding now a firmly recognised specialism within organisations, sellers are continually having to lift their tendering game in order to remain competitive. This is a particularly thorny issue for organisations who desire the results of successful tendering, but currently lack the requisite knowledge and roadmap required to achieve them. This issue will be exacerbated by the growing globalisation of our economy.

 

 We’ve been busily hatching a solution…

When thinking about how to address these issues in a meaningful way for clients, it forced us to revisit how they typically perceive and use our services. This distilled into three main use cases, with these forming the basis for our three new types of engagement plan.

Simply put, these plans formalise the most effective and time-proven ways to use our services. They  provide the vehicles for delivering various combinations and levels of our services in a way that future-proofs work-winning support. Here’s a quick outline of each new type of engagement plan:

 

(1) Access
Organisations with in-house bidding teams often need ‘extra pairs of competent hands’ to get through busy tendering periods. But engaging surge support can be time-consuming. Finding the right provider at short notice and dealing with all the engagement preliminaries can cause unnecessary delays. Our Access plan streamlines the engagement process by removing a number of preliminaries and providing the certainty of pre-agreed rates. It doesn’t guarantee our availability, but it does offer a framework in which new support requests will receive priority over cold-call and first-time client work.

(2) Secure
This plan is designed for regular clients who are looking for more service security. Based on pre-agreed rates, our Secure plan provides clients with a time-bound, first right of refusal on using our services for tenders falling within an agreed industry and geographical scope. This provides  our clients with a mechanism to lock in our services in advance, while also locking competing bidding organisations out. By nature of its design, Secure plans are necessarily limited in number.

(3) Transform
Over the years, we’ve worked with many organisations for whom tendering success has become increasingly important. However, a common roadblock is that they lack the knowledge required to make the systemic changes necessary to achieve sustained tendering success. Our Transform plan is designed to overcome this through a 24-month engagement characterised by an initial audit, followed by a focussed learning and capability development program. All live bid support services are provided as part of the package.

 

A range of benefits beyond live bid support

Satisfyingly, when conducting tender post-mortems with clients, we commonly receive feedback that they learnt so much more than they expected to.

Through our work we’ve always strived to create better relationships, impart better knowledge and through doing so achieve better and more sustained outcomes.

For that reason, our three new engagement plans have a wider brief than simply providing clever ways to package existing live bid support services.

As well as providing preferential rates (we like to look after regular clients), these plans provide preferential course pricing for our soon-to-be-launched Bid Academy and membership to Bid Club, our very own community of like-minded bidding professionals with first access to BidWrite’s ideas and improvement recommendations. And to help you with any day-to-day queries, Secure and Transform clients will have access to a dedicated account manager, as well as a hotline to a senior staff member.

 

Don’t sit on your hands…

Through speaking with a variety of our longstanding clients, we feel these plans resolve a number of their tendering issues in a very practical and easily digestible way. And having thought about them for a while, we’re now very excited to be launching them.

In typical BidWrite fashion, we won’t be sitting on our hands. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be contacting existing clients for whom we think these plans will be suitable.

But if you’d like to know more now, please reach out to your regular BidWrite contact, call us on 1800 243 974, or email bidwrite@bidwrite.com.au.

Alternatively, reserve your place on our informational webinar scheduled for Thursday 21 October, 2021. You can register for the webinar here.

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