Client Since:July 2022
Objectives :Improve process and win rates
Results :5 Wins from 6 Bids
BPP got in touch with Bespoke Bids in early 2022. As an incredibly fast paced organisation, bids were coming thick and fast so they were not being given the focus each one needed to be successful.
Being a household name, much of their business was secured through reputation and repeat business through excellent customer service but they did not feel like their reputation and service excellence was being portrayed in their bids.
The initial enquiry from BPP was shortage of bid resource, as a bid resource had left the company and they were struggling to recruit. They were seeking a flexible solution to address resource gap and supplement BPP team to meet peak demand – both in terms of tender expertise as well as just resource count.
One thing that came over in the initial meetings was that they were early into the apprenticeship/training space and therefore won business because of their more advanced business model. However, the market had matured and become more competitive – and they had to up their game to win tenders. They had recent bid losses including where they were incumbent and delivering excellent services.
After an initial discovery call with BPP bidding stakeholders, it was agreed that Bespoke Bids would undertake an analysis of BPP’s bid processes and past responses, to present initial findings and propose a route forward.
We completed an analysis of BPP’s bid processes from finding and qualifying opportunities, bid management, and writing to learning from each project and continuously improving. We took a broad sample of past bid responses from different buyer types and assessed the responses against the process employed and the results of the tender evaluation. We also reviewed the existing bid library and the collateral available for the bid team.
We identified several improvement areas across the business to implement:
- Better opportunity sourcing
- Improved qualification of opportunities
- Better management and organisation of bid library
- A more robust process for live bids – Structured kick-offs, agreed bid plan and mandatory review stages
- An effective feedback system, both internal (process) and once buyer feedback is received
After discussing our findings with the BPP management team, we agreed on the below projects:
- Bespoke Bids would work to understand where BPP were searching for opportunities (there are many complex portals often relaying the same information) and assist with implementing a more efficient yet comprehensive process.
- Bespoke Bids would design and implement a qualification process so the BPP management team could make an informed decision on whether to bid. This included areas to help identify if the opportunity was deliverable, profitable and (often overlooked!) winnable.
- Bespoke Bids would lead a sample of bid projects, deploying our own ISO9001 accredited bid process to each project.
- Opportunity Sourcing
We collected search criteria from BPP including details of their growth strategy, all services offered, locations served, contract values and competitors.
Our in-house bid research team then conducted a comprehensive market search for tender opportunities past, present and future which fit the criteria identified. We traced each tender back to it’s original source and created a search strategy to make sure all future opportunities in these areas would be captured by BPP in an efficient manner. We then spent time with the BPP person identified to take the project forward and made sure the new process was implemented and person trained.
Potential bid opportunities would be taken to the BPP management team with a very short window of time for them to decide on whether to bid or not. We designed three PowerPoint slides to be populated for each bid opportunity, homing in on the most pertinent information for the management team to decide. The slides were focused on:
- Can we respond? E.g. effort required, dates, issues (such as gaps)
- Can we deliver? E.g. solution components, skills required, risks
- Can we win? E.g. competition, buyer objectives, differentiation
The slides were shared with BPP and then revised following testing live opportunities with the management team. The slides were implemented to form part of BPP’s ongoing bid process. The project was successful, reducing lost time spent on bids that BPP would subsequently qualify out of further down the road or realistically couldn’t deliver profitably or actually win.
- Bid Projects
Over the course of three months, six bid projects were identified for Bespoke Bids to lead. They ranged in size, buyer type and the area of BPP we would be predominantly liaising with.
We implemented our Bespoke processes on each project including a structured kick-off meeting where we agreed on a win strategy, a bid plan, and roles and responsibilities through to the bid submission.
We owned the bid response documents and worked with subject matter experts covering different areas of technical and delivery expertise and finance to gather the requisite information.
We introduced clear bid governance with recurring meetings which focused on alignment to the plan, progress of each bid deliverable and completing actions.
We used our internal review processes (4 stage – structure, first draft, final draft, portal/compliance) whilst building in review steps for BPP senior team members to review and approve.
After each project, we conducted a structured lessons learned session where we analysed how the bid project went and identified how we could jointly improve quality and processes for future projects.
Challenge – There was significant pushback when some BPP stakeholders saw our proposed response style as they were a far cry from what had been used in the past. They were seen as too cold and clinical. We reassured that the structures were designed using bid best practice to optimise the scoring potential of each response within the buyer’s instructed constraints.
Results – Of the six bids we were approved to own and lead, we won five. A substantial increase in prior win rates.