“Navigating the ups and downs of tenders and new business opportunities is hardly straightforward”, says Sandy Boxall. But nonetheless it can be done. He explains how competitor analysis can help shape the perpetual pursuit of propositions and profits
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. A bid document drafted and submitted. A set of slides prepared and polished. A presentation rehearsed and perfected. Days, if not weeks, of hard labour followed by that feeling of innate satisfaction of a job well done and the brewing, quiet confidence that the glory of new business will surely follow.
And then the call or email which ends in crushing disappointment. Your bid has fallen short and, almost worse, the successful party is a firm – and team – you know all too well. Their success, and your distress, is total.
I shudder at the memory. But as in life, business does not always run in a straight line. Moments of triumph are often followed by the deflation of an opportunity missed; celebrating a new project can precede the post-mortem of a losing pitch. Linear it is not.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to turn weaknesses into strengths, or make winning new contracts more likely than not.
Finding the right opportunity
New business is the lifeblood of any successful organisation. No company wins every single time – that’s simply not going to happen – but what you can do is try to ensure that you and your team are best placed to capitalise on a new challenge or opportunity when they arise. There are several ways to do this.
Firstly, you can hire good people to make your team as strong and effective as possible. Secondly, when any tender is issued, you take steps to fully understand all the requirements – the more you know, the better you will be to demonstrate that you can give them what they need. And thirdly, and perhaps most crucially, you undertake the necessary due diligence on potential rivals and identify what actions you can take to give you the all-important competitive edge.
Know your ‘enemy’
The good news is that the complicated and competitive market which makes up today’s UK public sector is awash with opportunities in abundance. As the government scrambled to address the Covid19 Pandemic, spending on private suppliers has risen sharply and, with the need to rebuild the economy looming large, such largesse is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
But while the scale of the opportunity is huge, that doesn’t mean organisations should rush headlong into pursuing every available tender. On the contrary, they need to take their time and perform effective competitor intelligence in order to make good business decisions. There are so many opportunities it is not sensible or realistic to bid for everything that a firm might want to win. In fact, a business’ success now hinges on not wasting time and resources bidding for the wrong opportunities.
With thousands of competitors bidding for over 100,000 government contracts every year it is very difficult to build an accurate picture of the market. Lots of information is available but managing and keeping it up to date is incredibly challenging, particularly for those smaller businesses which lack the resources to spend the necessary time on it.
Complete your picture of the market
That’s why we at Contract Finder Pro have released a new competitor analysis tool which enables users to search for competitors based on keywords. The tool enables a business to easily see which firms are winning in the market and compare what they have been winning to identify which ones have been performing the strongest. As a result, competitor analysis and bid/no bid decisions can now be made quickly, easily and effectively.
Personally, I’ve used this lot to work out when not to bid for something – and not bidding when you won’t win is a vital element in any successful business development approach.
Of course, knowing you’re up against won’t guarantee the glory of new contracts. But what it does do is help you understand the competitive terrain your organisation finds itself on. From there, the promised land of successful tenders will loom ever larger on the horizon.