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BID PERFECT CASE STUDIES

HELPING COMPANIES CREATE WINNING BIDS

These case studies illustrate a few examples of the flexible approach that Bid Perfect takes in working with its clients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BID PERFECT CASE STUDIES

HELPING COMPANIES CREATE WINNING BIDS

These case studies illustrate a few examples of the flexible approach that Bid Perfect takes in working with its clients.

Business Services & Facilities Management Company

The requirement: 

Our client is the market leader in their sector, and to maintain this position the company sets challenging sales targets for its various divisions. Despite its leading position, the business recognised that there was an opportunity to improve the quality of the tenders it produces, increasing the success rate as a result.

There is a high degree of autonomy within the group, allowing each division to make some supplier selection decisions. Initially, this meant that the central Sales Operations team chose Bid Perfect to offer a flexible, alternative training provider to an incumbent trainer/consultancy already working in certain areas of the organisation. The offer was immediately taken up by the education division, closely followed by the Irish operation. 

On appointment of a new Sales Operations Director, a decision was made to move to one provider across the group. This has cost benefits and improves continuity and standardisation of message. Bid Perfect was selected to deliver the training programme, which has been augmented to include full tender support services and content creation projects.  

The approach:

After sending four people on a Bid Perfect open course to provide proof of concept, representatives from both companies held a series of meetings to work through the course content and agree a client-specific version. Bid Perfect followed a tried and tested approach – a ‘mini-consultancy’ involving:

  • Reviewing several client bids
  • Understanding the client structure and those that are candidates for training
  • Assessing client tender feedback
  • Looking at how competitors to our client present themselves
  • Discussions and meetings to hone and finalise course content

From the process above, Bid Perfect developed a two day Bids and Tenders Foundation Skills Workshop. The core of its content is based on Bid Perfect’s generic course offering (as the fundamental concepts and ‘rules’ can be applied to any market), but was tailored through the use of client-specific material, examples, questions, etc. 

The Programme

The programme commenced with the educational sector business, where two courses were delivered in quick succession to a mixture of sales and bidding personnel, contract operators and subject matter experts. Bid Perfect also created a one day workshop for the senior management team. This was quickly followed by adopting exactly the same approach for the delivery of three courses in Dublin for the Irish business.

Since the selection of Bid Perfect as the sole training provider, there has been a continuation of sector-specific courses, where themes and content were tweaked to provide the most relevance to each market. Due to a higher degree of centralisation, cross-sector workshops have also been run with participants attending having different roles and responsibilities. This has led to the forthcoming delivery of one day workshops for those, such as subject matter experts, who do not require the full range of topics covered in the two day course (in the same way as for the version created for senior management teams).  

On the back of the training programme, Bid Perfect has supported four divisions with bid management, writing and review services. 

The number of client personnel trained by Bid Perfect is now approaching 200 and we are looking forward to continuing and expanding our strong partnership, always considering the potential for improvement and responding quickly to client requests.

The Bid Perfect Team:

Neal Basson and Marcus Eden-Ellis, owners and Directors/Consultants for Bid Perfect take joint responsibility for the management of the client relationship and creation, ongoing development and delivery of the training programme. 

Client support for live tenders has also been provided by Neal and Marcus. Kimberley Roberts, Bid Perfect Senior Bid Consultant, has also worked extensively with the client on several bids over the last few months.

Prominent issues encountered:

There is a good working relationship between the parties and any issues that have come up have been discussed and resolved. For example, due to a change in management and strategy, our client needed to achieve an improved financial arrangement for the training, but was prepared to reward the successful provider with a higher degree of commitment. After discussions, a win/win was achieved for both parties. 

Our client is keen to ensure that the bid skills training does not contradict, dilute or repeat other programmes run around the subject of business development. There is also a requirement to ensure the content is very relevant to the role of the audience within the tender process (e.g. subject matter experts). This has become more apparent as the programme has matured, hence the development of a shortened one day workshop.

Lastly, and this is true of all training, the business and its leaders need to support those that have learnt new skills and techniques to be able to apply these in the workplace. This can involve development in functions and processes that assist the sales effort. Fortunately, Bid Perfect has had the opportunity to meet and present to the group’s senior management team, who have given their full support to the programme.    

Principal outcome summary:

The programme has been running for ten months and the written and verbal feedback shows that it has been received very positively from the large majority of delegates. The techniques taught by Bid Perfect are uncomplicated and have resulted in some specific instances of success for our client.  

Although progress has certainly been achieved, less than a year is still a relatively short amount of time and we will need to continuously refine our approach and monitor the impact, based on ongoing feedback and evolution of tender success rate.   

Typical course delegate comment: 

“A fantastic course. I really enjoyed the training. It was delivered at the right pace and I learned a huge amount. My tender writing has already improved dramatically.”

Key points of this case study: 
  • Client needs fully understood
  • Current client standards and quality assessed 
  • Flexible approach by both parties
  • Adaptable content for different audiences/divisions
  • Positive feedback
  • Training complements other Bid Perfect services provided
  • Open dialogue with partnership approach

Global Telecommunications Business

The requirement:

Our client is a global telecommunications provider. The core of their business is centred on the provision of secure and efficient networks for voice and data communications for commercial customers and government departments.

As a result of new management in its learning and development function and the resulting analysis of training needs aligned with the objectives of the business, two key focus areas were established, specifically linked to the development of individuals who have responsibility for the sales process or provide a direct contribution to it. Training was required in:

  • Bids and tenders skills
  • Presentation skills

The majority of bids are written by the salespeople themselves, and the audience was comprised of Account Managers, Sales Directors, Sales Engineers, and bidding personnel from director to writer. Ideally, the organisation was looking for a provider that could train in both areas above, the presentation being a normal part of the follow-up to the bid submission. The need for training was Europe-wide.

The approach:

Following an exploratory meeting, our client was invited to send a delegate on a Bid Perfect open course to determine if the content and delivery of the training was right for their organisation. This was successful, and further discussions followed to finalise commercial terms and the programme scope. Next, we ran a two day workshop for the dozen account managers and sales directors that make up the client’s transport sector team. The feedback was extremely positive from everyone involved. We were now in a position to roll out the training across the entire sales and bidding functions. 

As normal, we had taken steps to ensure that the workshops would offer a high degree of relevance to the intended participants, including: 

  • Reviewing several client bids
  • Understanding the client structure and those that are candidates for training
  • Assessing client tender feedback
  • Looking at how competitors to our client present themselves
  • Revising course content based on initial feedback received
The Programme

Bid Perfect commenced wholesale delivery of two courses: a two day Bids Skills Workshop and a one day Presentation Skills Workshop. These started with account managers and sales directors, plus a mixture of bidding personnel. The focus then moved on to sales engineers and a few specialist consultants. Both courses were delivered at several UK locations and in continental Europe, where our client brought its teams together at two European ‘hubs’ in Paris and Amsterdam. 

As is always the case with large roll-outs, we continued to hone the content as each course was completed, based on delegate comments received.

There was a close working relationship with learning and development, partly due to the logistical and booking arrangements for the programme. As more salespeople undertook the training, our reputation grew and we were asked by the VP of Sales to make a presentation at the European sales convention to consolidate the message.

In total, Bid Perfect trained a mixed group of 130 people in bid skills and presentation skills throughout the seven months of delivery. 

The Bid Perfect Team:

Marcus Eden-Ellis, Bid Perfect Director and Consultant, commenced the project and ran the first course. Neal Basson, Bid Perfect Director and Consultant, took over the main responsibility for the client relationship, acting in the capacity of Account Director. The Bids Skills Workshops were delivered jointly by Neal and Marcus.

Gary Naphtali, Bid Perfect Associate Director, was responsible for creating and running the Presentations Skills Workshops.

Prominent issues encountered:

There were one or two organisational issues, where allocated training rooms were a little inadequate for group size. This may sound unimportant, but the correct surroundings and environment has a significant impact on the motivation of participants and success of the course. There was a lack of discipline from some teams, resulting in individuals pulling out of the training at short notice. The courses still went ahead, but with fewer participants, which resulted in additional cost for our client. 

The mixing of job roles worked very well, as people with different responsibilities were able to empathise more with their colleagues, compare notes and discuss their challenges and how to overcome them in a positive and supportive atmosphere. 

Principal outcome summary:

Shortly after completion of the programme, the business was acquired and a merger of operations took place. Therefore, any scientific analysis of outcomes would be flawed. What is apparent is that the key techniques within Bid Perfect’s training were enthusiastically taken up and applied. We know this to be the case through follow-up discussions with the client and by providing additional review services on live bids. Our ‘Bid Value Matrix’ tool became a standard part of all responses and several opportunities are known to have been converted as a result. The Bid Value Matrix was also the first thing that a director would expect to see when asked for their involvement in a specific bid. 

Typical course delegate comment:

“Excellent content delivered by Bid Perfect who clearly know their stuff and how to apply it in real world situations."

Key points of this case study: 
  • Instigated by learning & development, but championed by sales 
  • Client needs understood and tested
  • Quality of current tenders reviewed
  • Importance of disciplined approach to attendance 
  • Dual programme covering the response and the presentation 
  • Content relevant to different roles
  • Forum for discussion and relationship/empathy building
  • Excellent feedback
  • Key tools being used in tender responses and for internal planning

Environmental Services Business

The requirement:

Our client is a multinational recycling and waste management company, who provide commercial, industrial and local authority customers with sustainable recycling and waste management services to minimise their impact on the environment.

Although the leader in its market, the company has a keen focus on continuous improvement; both for the services provided to customers and within its internal operations. One area that has been identified as key to the business development and contract retention strategy is an improvement in its approach to tendering. In terms of process, a new management structure has been established, processes have been clearly defined and adopted and roles and responsibilities marked out. 

It was also clear however, based on post tender customer feedback that certain enhancements needed to be made to the quality of the content within our client’s bids – for example, they need to be less generic and more tailored; less feature driven and more benefit focused. 

The company invests heavily in the training of its people through a dedicated training and development division. However, no formal curriculum had ever been provided for bid writing/management. It was evident that a programme was required that would up-skill employees who are responsible for managing and writing tender responses and those who contribute content to bids as subject matter experts.

The business is also keen to ensure that the new skills are actually being put to use in the workplace and require a mechanism for checking that this is the case. 

The approach:

Our client has two distinct business streams: a) Municipal Services who cater for UK local authority requirements and b) Commercial Services who focus on other public sector opportunities (e.g. hospitals, education) and commercial customers. Initially, the emphasis was on the Municipal business and discussions took place between the client’s Development Support Team Manager and a Bid Perfect Director. Common ground on commercial terms and a general approach was soon established. Bid Perfect then undertook a ‘mini-consultancy’ by:

  • Reviewing several client bids
  • Understanding and advising on bid roles and responsibilities
  • Assessing customer feedback from client bids
  • Looking at how competitors present themselves
  • Further discussions and meetings to hone and finalise course content

As a result of the findings of these various actions the dialogue broadened to include representatives from the training division, as it had become clear that there was a ‘bigger picture’ and much larger company-wide requirement.

These wider discussions led to Bid Perfect being asked to develop a two day Bid and Tenders Foundation Skills Workshop. 

The core content of this training would be based on Bid Perfect’s generic course offering (as the fundamental concepts and ‘rules’ can be applied to any market). The course would then be tailored to public sector bidding in general, and our client in particular, through the addition of specific material, examples and questions etc. 
 

The Programme

The initial agreement was to deliver ten courses of up to ten people per course. A pilot course for bid specialists received excellent feedback and from this a one day workshop for subject matter experts was created in consultation with Managers of Business Development and Training  Management. Once again the pilot of the one day course received excellent feedback and the initial estimate of the number of courses required has now doubled as the value of the training has been recognised organisation-wide. Further dates have been agreed and work has now been completed on an adapted version for the Commercial division.

In addition to the course, a method for review and checking of skills deployment has also been agreed. Following their training all delegates are required to submit a piece of their own writing from a real bid to Bid Perfect for assessment and critique. This will help to ensure the effective transfer of the skills into the workplace.

In view of the strategic focus on bid improvement in the client’s business, Bid Perfect is looking forward to a long-term partnership. One of the keys to the early success has been the relevance of the materials and case studies to the work of the specific audience. It will be important that the content continues to be adapted to the needs of the audience and reflects the feedback received. 

The Bid Perfect Team:

All discussions, negotiations, course development and delivery of the pilot course were completed by Neal Basson, Director and Consultant at Bid Perfect. 

Marcus Eden-Ellis, Bid Perfect Director and Consultant, took the main responsibility for creating the one day workshop for subject matter experts, with Neal and a client representative acting in an assessment capacity during the delivery itself. 

Unusually, the arrangement going forwards is for joint delivery of the workshops through a trainer from the training and development division and a Bid Perfect trainer/consultant. The first course of this type is scheduled for August 2013. 

Prominent issues encountered:

The process was uneventful with no major stumbling blocks to speak of. On the pilot course, there was some prior scepticism from one or two of the more experienced personnel who perhaps had the opinion that they wouldn't learn anything useful. However, this was not borne out during the event or based on the course feedback.   

Principal outcome summary:

The programme is in its early days, two courses having been completed, one for each duration and audience. The working relationship between the two parties is strong and will continue to develop as the workshops start to be delivered jointly. Delegate feedback has been very positive, with a combination of good and excellent scored across the board. We must now keep up the momentum and keep a careful eye on making sure that the knowledge is being used effectively.

Typical course delegate comment:

“Very informative course – trainer excellent, engaging and very knowledgeable.”

Key points of this case study: 
  • Smooth and open dialogue
  • Client needs fully understood
  • Current standards and quality assessed 
  • Flexible approach by both parties
  • Pilot to prove concept
  • Adaptable content for different audiences/sectors
  • Happy participants
  • Follow-up process in place
  • Partnership approach
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