We were recently engaged by a global company on a ‘do or die’ tender. We love those ones.
This company had been through some tough years financially, although were on the upswing, but were facing increasingly aggressive competition. They had lost most of their recent tenders when a major contract came out for renewal. A new leadership team had recently been appointed and they were highly motivated to win: if the company lost that contract, they would be out of the market in that geographic region for the next decade.
We were engaged to work on the full spectrum of bid management services, including strategy development, bid management, content development, production and creative services. This case study will mainly reflect on the bid mindset and how it transformed this company’s approach to business. We know it sounds a bit grandiose to claim such a significant impact, but we’re just repeating what the client told us!
Like all of our other major successes, in this situation the CEO shared a clear and inspiring vision – win the contract and secure the company’s future. The team knew the end client well from several years of delivering services to them, and the relationship was positive, but the team knew that the competition would be leaving no stone unturned in their effort to win this strategic deal. The team needed to dig deep, question everything, and leave nothing in the tank for this one.
This was a great starting point for the team. The CEO made this tender the priority, assembled his best people on it, and brought in the big guns (us) to pack some extra punch. The team was intensely motivated and deeply committed.
The first thing we did was help the team transition to a bid mindset.
Until this point in time, they had been tackling tenders as if they were tests: answer each question with a clear and concise answer. Tick a box. Prove compliance. Pass the test. Except that a tender is not a test. In a test, everyone can pass or even get 100%. But in a competition, only 1 can win. It isn’t enough to submit a clear and concise answer and hope to win. All that you will get is the ‘pass mark’. To win, the answers need to be so much more: comprehensive, compelling, persuasive and convincing. Tick a box just won’t do.
Fortunately, this team saw the logic and embraced the new mindset. From that point forward, a common catchphrase in the office was ‘How do we go beyond the test question? How do we win the competition?’
Persuasive, Compelling Solutions
Following on from the transition to a competitive mindset, we then introduced the team to our proven bid-winning methodology for developing content. Our 8-layer methodology gives us a simple framework for going beyond the test question to develop robust, persuasive and compelling content that scores better.
Again, the team embraced the process. They used it consistently in the tender, and went further to customise it and deepen it to their specific deliverables. And going further again, they started implementing elements of the model to their own non-tendering roles back in their day jobs. It was a pleasure to work with a team so open-minded, with such a strong growth mindset.
Interestingly, this organisation works in a highly-regulated sector, with strict regulations that control many areas of their business. At first, when we asked ‘what do we do differently?’, or ‘what would the client like us to do?’, etc, the team’s responses were like a broken record: ‘it’s all regulated’. They saw the regulations as the limits of what they could do and a tight boundary around their way of operating, when actually the regulations are the foundation and the minimum level of service. Once that penny dropped, the team was excited to think of all the ways they could go beyond ‘business as usual’ and beyond the regulations to provide a more exceptional service. This is the key to the transformation that swept its way through their organisation. Our methodology for delivering a winning tender opened their eyes for how they needed to operate across the board. Kick it up a notch. Push the boundaries. Go beyond.
Usually, a CEO attends the most crucial content analysis and review sessions, and tries to be as engaged and active as he can be, but the reality is that he is normally juggling multiple priorities and the tender sometimes drops lower in the list than he would like. However, in this case, the CEO was uniquely committed to this tender and set an extraordinary example to his team. He attended every content development and review session for the entire tender, and even stumped up to write a few key sections as well. He worked around the clock for 6 weeks in order to do his day job and participate fully in the tender. After all, he was asking his team to go the extra mile, so he lead by example to show what full commitment looked like.
At the time of writing, the decision is still pending, but the team was immensely proud of their submission and know that they have given it their best shot. It was an absolute pleasure working with them and we look forward to celebrating their success with them soon.
For assistance in transforming your organisation, contact us today at Aurora Marketing on 07 3211 4299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.