Win the Deal...Stay Alive!

  • If you win the contract will it kill your business?

 We all hear about Qualifications these days, no ‘A’ levels VS Baccalaureate debate here I’m more interested in competitive tenders, bids...Big bids... Those game changing opportunities that appear sometimes. A once in a lifetime chance to grow your business on an unprecedented scale!  

What a prospect. Service and products in your sweet spot; customer HQ in your region and strong cultural and commercial alignment woo hoo! When do we start? I mean what’s not to like?

Well let’s take a step back and think about it for a minute. I am a great believer that “fortune favours the bold” the bold however need to be well prepared, have a good understanding of the situation and above all take a good “Look before you leap”. 

 These opportunities need to be pursued vigorously with a clear plan. The pursuit team should be experienced, the finance team fully briefed, the commercial team be a part of the ongoing contact with the customer oh and you probably need a solution architect and a team of technical folks too.

 The common view is that you cannot win a big tender from a standstill. Whilst I agree with that for the most part personal experience says that is not absolutely true, it can be done. It does however take a disciplined approach that starts with a very tough ‘Qualification process’ “what does that mean?” You say.

Well for me it is a critical look at the cost, benefit, delivery and support capabilities of your own organisation. How do you fund a compelling and convincing bid? Win the customer and not overwhelm your own resources with impossible delivery issues? Provide excellent service, delight the customer and grow and enhance your own company, create an enduring relationship for everyone’s benefit.

The kind of questions that need to be asked, basic I know;          


  • How big is the deal? How much is the revenue? What is the delivery period? (3 months or 3 years makes a great deal of difference)

  • What do we know about the customer requirement? (Or the customer themselves indeed) are we a good fit with them?

  • Can we provide a credible solution and deliver it in the timescale? Do we need to recruit partners?

  • Have we got any kind of sales /senior management / executive / delivery engagement? Do we know really what they do?

  • Have we got the resources available to make a really good credible bid? What will be the impact on our own organisation?

  • How will we benefit long term? (Is it really game changing?) How will the customer benefit by choosing us? And how will we make a profit?

  • Can we finance it???

All of these things and more need to be considered. If you Qualify ‘In’ to a bid , great the future looks bright , but what about qualifying out of the bid?, well that’s really another  blog but all is not lost , by teaming with other potential suppliers you can keep the options open , win some business and spread the risk.  

Happy hunting, It really is exciting when you get this right, and it is all possible too.