Submissions and Tenders

“Think like the client”

Last month I worked in a bid team for a market-leading software developer. They employ some of the best people in their industry: innovative, experienced, process-oriented, master problem solvers. People who do not, however, enjoy writing and actively shy away from it. People who felt the whole bid process inefficient and frustrating (“I write code, not sales material. And why would they [the client] ask that question anyway? It’s ridiculous.”).  

The CEO of this company (also a computer boffin) is aware of their shortcomings. She explained she prefers their Sales team to perform a more client-facing support role (“be more likeable to the public”) than proactively ‘sell’ the business.   

For occasional business needs (such as bids and marketing), they assemble teams of the necessary talent with knowledge of current trends and best practice techniques to assist them complete the project. Aside from the obvious flexibility such an approach allows, the CEO explained it also gives them access to expert resources they would otherwise be unable to afford or retain (“the biggest problem is we don’t do enough of this to keep good people around”).  

The CEO explained I had been selected to articulate their offering and technology in layman’s terms and, more importantly, “think like the client”. The team also included several other specialists: CAD modellers, quantity surveyors, and industry bench-markers. We were welcomed by all the client’s people who treated us as members of their team and shared everything they could to make us all successful.  

This experience reinforced two things for me:

1.     Introducing and embracing outside talent and ideas can result in a wonderfully vibrant and productive team culture for contractors and employees alike. Side note: I am contacted daily by some really good people who are now available for contract/project work.  

2.     To “think like the client”.  Always keep the problem you are solving for the client foremost in your mind (especially when preparing submissions).

Update: The company has been shortlisted to present to the client later this month! BOOM! (Yep, I’m a self-confessed bid nerd!)

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