If I had a fiver for every time I heard ‘oh no, that’d be marketing, I wouldn’t know anything about that, I only do tenders’ I’d have the price of a night away in Monart.
All your good work
So you’ve updated the website, optimised it for search, done the LinkedIn posts, sent the eblasts, and spent days working with a marketing person to create a general introduction document. You’ve brought the client to visit the factory and showed them around a completed job. You’ve lowered the pints and talked the rubbish up at the bar. You even invested in a video that showcases your areas of specialisation and the cool stuff you do. And finally, yes! All your good marketing and business development work has paid off and you’re invited to prequalify or submit a bid.
So what now?
Delighted with yourself, you then get your bids manager (who can build an aesthetically pleasing document using software such as InDesign) to work with your project managers (who have all the knowledge of the case studies and the CVs and the org chart and the methodology in their heads) to put the technical part of the tender together, and you get your commercial guys to price it.
But are you missing a trick?
The marketing people who built your story brand, made the videos, wrote the emails, created the social media posts and generally got the message to the target audience to get you on the tender list in the first place are not invited to the tender preparation process. Oh god no, I hear you say, bids are not marketing! Are you insane? Marketing is marketing and bids are bids.
Bids are the most important marketing you will ever do!
The tender or prequalification document is an opportunity to place a piece of carefully curated marketing content directly in front of someone who has a job to give, and the power to give it - or at least influence the decision. All of your events, and brochures and strategising on websites and social media notwithstanding, the tender submission hits the bullseye directly.
I love a good acronym.
All good marketing strategies require careful attention to 3 things: Message, Audience and Conduit (MAC - yes, I know!) Your bid should be approached exactly the same way as a marketing strategy: the story we’re telling (Message); who we’re telling it to (Audience); and how we're getting it to them (Conduit - in this case a tender submission).
Figure out how you can help the client achieve their own objectives before you start writing the bid.
So, your marketing content, if done properly, should always be showing how you’ll help the client get what they want. So when you read the RFP you’ll be reading between the lines to understand what their goals are and how you can help them achieve them. It could be energy performance or carbon reduction, it could be staff attraction/retention, it could be ESG or virtue signalling. Then you need to make a bid plan to strategically demonstrate your unique understanding of the goals that are closest to the client’s heart, make sure that you showcase the resources you have to help them solve their specific set of problems and your track record of doing something similar before for someone else.
What you’re not doing, I hope.
Of course I know you would NEVER copy and paste pages and pages of stuff from other bids in the hope that this kitchen sink approach might convince them that the good stuff must be in there somewhere.
Or would you?
Contact me if you are in need of marketing guidance.