08 Feb How to differentiate yourself from the competition in a Bid
By Christine Brown
February 8th 2016
Sometimes it can be difficult to understand how your company has lost out on a bid to a competitor; you had a better product, better service, you know you gave an extremely competitive price, so why didn’t you win? Winning a bid isn’t just about having the best price or product, although that is the easiest place to start, it’s about presenting the information to the Client, in the way required, to tick the right boxes vs. your competitors.
Here are some key areas to consider for gaining that advantage:
Know your Client
the absolute best way you can set yourself apart from the competition is to have a great Client Relationship before the bid or tender is released. Although, depending on the type of industry involved, it is advisable that accounts managers and key persons meet with clients throughout the year to determine focus areas and make bid managers aware of such focusses.
For the projects where this isn’t obvious from the documentation released, the Client knowledge provided by a good relationship will provide the winning edge you need. Where there is no existing Client relationship, make sure to take advantage of any chance to open dialogue with the Client during the bid process, whether that be through clarification questions, or the chance to meet in person, for example at Bidder Events held by the Client.
Know your competition
Take a moment to jot down who you are most likely to be competing against in this bid, can you predict what they will be offering? If so, list how your proposed solutions compare. What are your strengths and weaknesses over the competition? How can you overcome the weaknesses so that your bid doesn’t fall short? Ensuring you have found Client solutions for any potential pit falls of your solution will demonstrate that you have put the Client needs first, and that could gain you a higher score over the competition, who may have chosen to simply gloss over their weaknesses instead.
Give it a positive charge
Try to avoid pointing out what the competition can’t do and instead focus on what you know you can do better. Any negative comments towards your competition could put you at risk of looking bitter or unprofessional, instead, push the areas where you know you are stronger; the Client themselves will see the benefits of your proposal. If there is a feature or service the client is asking for that only you can provide, make sure to feature it in the executive summary and reference it where relevant in the responses.
Take the time to tailor your answers to individual Clients and their needs. Everyone is short of time and it is understandable that this leads to taking shortcuts, especially when you know that your product fits the requirements, however a tailored written response will instantly stand out over responses made primarily of generalised marketing materials or hard to navigate technical specifications.
Get a second opinion from someone not in the know
If you are writing on a subject you have years of experience in, it is possible to subconsciously gloss over areas that are common sense to you. Have your final document reviewed by a third party; this will ensure that you aren’t missing anything that might seem obvious to you, but need further explanation to a Client. Potentially, this can be another person within your organisation, who doesn’t necessarily work in the same area of expertise or, on the other hand, someone impartial from outside the business.
Shout it from the rooftops!
Won any awards or received good reviews lately? Where a bid allows, demonstrate clearly how the Client won’t be alone in deciding you are the best choice over your competitors. Where restrictive bid instructions mean you can’t include this in your response, ensure your company website is up to date with this information; the Client is bound to research you!
In conclusion, the best way to win a bid and stand out for the competition is to focus on the Client and what they want; be clear on how you are going to meet, and exceed those requirements through exceptional service delivery and then