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How I Bid: Focus on your ‘bid blocks’ and be Innovative

Baskar Sundaram
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We all know the standard bidding process: Qualify your bid, draft the delivery plans and solutions using your allocated resources, engage with your customers, manage your governance, and finally, submit your tender response. Then, win or lose, you learn your lessons and move onto the next bid.

But do we learn our lessons and apply it across the organisation?

I have been bidding on outsourcing deals for the past 10 years, and in my experience it’s the work streams, which I call ‘bid blocks,’ that can make all the difference in a sales environment. Yet these ‘bid blocks’ are often ignored.


So what are the ‘bid blocks’?

In short, they are everything: Bid management, Legal, Commercial, Costing, Governance & Reviews, Pipeline Reporting, Solutioning, Tender Design & Production, Transition & Transformation, Account Management, Knowledge Management, Budget and Resource management framework.


However, it is not so much, what they are that matters, but rather how they function.

    • What is the right structure for the blocks?
    • What function must they serve?
    • How are they connected?
    • How often must we review them?
    • How do we review them?
    • Who needs to be involved?


These and many other questions we must answer, for in doing so we will discover just how critical ‘bid blocks’ are to an organisation’s growth. It is the purpose then of this series of articles then to answer these questions.


Let us begin.

In the past year, I have been working as a growth consultant. This has involved me helping organisations review their ‘bid blocks’ in order to maximise growth.


All the organisations I supported were successful in their sectors, but the interesting thing to note is that generally they structured their ‘bid blocks’ in two different ways. They took either a ‘ Centralised’ or ‘ Decentralised’ approach to growth (though some had hybrids of the two, and one even outsourced their bid management and solution bid blocks to external agencies!).


During the review process with clients, one question always came up – “How can we be innovative? I saw the ‘bid blocks’ playing a critical role here. To achieve innovation an organisation needs to look inwards: sustainable innovation starts from within.


The first step in this journey is to review your ‘bid blocks’ consistently. Are they aligned to your growth objectives in terms of process, systems and people? Small adjustments in ‘bid blocks’ will incrementally improve the success rate in all your bids. My advice to any organisation is: Do not just run after bids and sales targets. Make it a practise to look back every now and then and align your ‘bid blocks’ to your future growth targets.


But saying what needs to be done is one thing, laying out how it can be done is another. So how can an organisation support their bid teams to be innovative?


Well, every single bid team is hit by 3C’s during bidding phase – the Customer, Competitor and their own Company. The bid team goes through the challenge of pulling the best commercial deliverable solution working with the 3C’s within their tight bid timescale.


Therefore, organisations should make the C’s manageable for their bid teams. This will greatly allow the bid teams to focus on the key deliverables and to be innovative, which in turn means they can do more and win more bids.


As for what adjustments need to be made to the individual ‘bid blocks’- these will all be revealed in my next article(s).


Follow me in my LinkedIn Company page Baachu Works Limited.

Twitter: @baachuworks

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