Clients rate ‘the ability to clearly articulate value’ as key to work-winning

Graphic listing bidding competencies to work on: client relationships & trust, efficient bidding processes, and ability to clearly articulate value.

Over the last few months we’ve surveyed a cross-section of our tendering clients across Australia and New Zealand to find out how they’re faring given the upheaval of 2020. This exercise delivered a range of findings: some expected and others not.

COVID-19 has resulted in some clients experiencing stalled opportunities and increased buyer-side price and supply chain sensitivity. However, 72% of those we spoke to expect the number of tendering opportunities to either remain the same or increase over the next 12 months.

This high level of confidence in the tendering pipeline was supported by a unanimous belief that job security for bid staff will remain the same, or better over the same period.

Importantly, the data supports our view that the bidding function remains a highly valued skillset and a key part of any organisation’s arsenal of work winning resources.

What’s working currently?

When asked what’s helping to win or retain contracts, our clients identified a mix of commercial and soft skills.

  • Cost insights are being used to help reconfigure offers to new price points
  • Sales functions are becoming more streamlined through more formalisation of business development activities and better internal communication
  • Brand trust was also highlighted as being important to buyers, which is most likely a reaction to all the uncertainty of 2020.

Key things to work on

Looking ahead, clients identified trust and relationship building, tendering process efficiency and proposal production skills as the areas likely to give them the most traction for winning contracts.

  • On the buyer side, our clients see the long-term value in building trusted relationships.
  • On the seller-side, they know that efficient bidding processes drive down the cost of bidding, thereby increasing the ROI of their direct and indirect tendering spend.

The ability to clearly articulate value

Another key improvement area identified by many organisations is ‘the ability to clearly articulate value’. On the surface this seems a simple statement. Yet when unpacked, it reveals some key insights that run straight to the heart of the bidding profession.

The idea of clearly articulating value stretches further than the ability to put words on paper. Bid professionals understand that value is subjective to the buyer, based solely on what is important to them. They also know that in many cases, buying decisions are not based solely on price alone.

Insights into how the buyer will judge value can be gained by asking questions like:

  • “What truly matters to them?”
  • “What problems are they trying to solve?”
  • “What risks are they trying to avoid?”
  • “What future state are they trying to create?”

Because bid writers use this information to construct the value proposition which underpins any proposal, it’s vital to get this right early in the process. When done well, it provides the opportunity to create and influence buyer perceptions in your favour.

Further to understanding the client’s needs and the value your proposal offers is the ability to effectively articulate this value. This means keeping the intended reader firmly in mind, guiding decisions around the clearest, most efficient and most persuasive way to communicate.

In some cases, bid professionals may not choose words at all, instead preferring diagrams, tables or charts. These are all conscious decisions which are central to the art of bid writing.

Continuous improvement is key to bid writing

What started as a simple exercise of reaching out to our clients has delivered a powerful reminder of the real business we are in – helping organisations win more often and win more easily.

But what’s even better is that the vast majority of our clients are on the same page. They recognise the importance of a strong bidding capability and are striving hard to improve the work-winning skills that will make a real difference to the future of their organisations.

To see a full summary of our survey findings, you can download your copy here


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