In most industries, a sales process can often last for weeks, months or even years, this all depends of course on the complexity and value of the given opportunity. In the Defence industry, the sheer complexity of projects means that the opportunity will pass through a multitude of gatekeepers within the Defence organisation (CASG, in Australia’s case) before it is even put out to tender for the greater supply chain to bid. And it is during this time that companies conduct a period of shaping.
Simply put, shaping involves lobbying stakeholders, influencing the development and design of the project, and ensuring that you’re invited to tender for the opportunity. The ideal scenario is that you have influenced the project to the extent that the RFT documents and specification are a match for your solution. That is, the RFT is made for you.
Regardless of how much you’ve shaped the opportunity, submitting a tender response always requires a super-human effort and a coercive and aligned approach from the team. But the effort doesn’t stop when you hit submit, it continues throughout the decision making process.
This period in a sales process is about keeping your promises and staying relevant. There are a range of activities that can form part of this period, but the below are our top three.
Within the possibilities and rules of the tender and probity, a solid external and internal communications plan is a must. Internally, it’s time to communicate the pipeline of opportunity and any changes that may be occurring over the coming months before a decision is made. Externally, you should be utilising every opportunity to mirror the customer’s vision, and to reiterate the win themes and strategy of your tender submission. If, in your tender response, you said that you’re going to deliver an innovative solution to the customer, publish some communications pieces about your general research and development capability, past innovations, and partnerships that you’re building to ensure innovation remains a priority. By doing this, you’re passively notifying the customer of your credibility and your companies ongoing industry commitment.
Tender submissions are full of promises, and sometimes those promises are hard to keep. If you want to win this opportunity, your company needs to keep the ball rolling and be seen to be ramping up as if you’ve already won. Especially in the case of a large opportunity, you might need to look at opening a new office, recruiting extra heads, and building up your supply chain and its capability to be able to hit the ground running when the customer knocks on your door.
In the competitive evaluation processes, bidders are given the chance to participate in workshops or give presentations post-tender submission. Even if the customer has specified that the post-submission presentation/workshop will not be evaluated, it’s a crucial opportunity to influence the opinion of the customer. There are a number of key steps involved to maximise the opportunity of post-tender participation, including:
- Developing a seamless, concise and compelling presentation
- Presenting as a cohesive, prepared and professional team
- Delivering a consistent and customer-focussed solution.
If you want to win that opportunity, your effort needs to continue throughout the entire sales lifecycle, maximising every opportunity to participate post-submission. If you need help to develop your presentation, present with force, and deliver the most compelling message, contact us today at Aurora Marketing on 07 3211 4299 or email@example.com