In my last post about my bid management survey I showed I had found little evidence that formal qualification of sales opportunities results in improved win rates. My hunch is that this is driven by organisations not being truly rigorous and objective in their assessments.

With that bad news out of the way, I now want to focus on the more positive findings from my survey. (Incidentally, I will be publishing a whitepaper of all my survey results later this year. So follow me or connect with me to get the full story.)

Advance planning really helps win rates

I cross-tabbed answers to How would you describe your current win rate? with answers to When do you start planning your bid response?

Whichever way you read these results, they show that the earlier you plan then the better your bid outcome. These results also show that planning bid responses 3 months before submission is common practice. Try not to get pressured into developing responses 1 month or less before submission.

Customer focus helps win rates too

Look at the extract below. Respondents could select multiple options about what was clearly communicated to the bid team. Bid strategy, win themes and customer business objectives were more usually communicated to the successful bid teams. (The percentages are of the total responses for each response to Q10.)

Clear direction and leadership help, team friction doesn’t

Other results showed that bid teams given clear direction and leadership are successful in developing winning bids. When friction arises between teams though, their bids are much less successful.

Scope, timeframes, kick-off meetings and status meetings

You’d like to think that these factors would drive better win rates too. And successful bid teams do all these and more. Trouble is, so do less successful bid teams. Of course scope, timeframes, kick-off meetings and status meetings are important for any bid. But they are hygiene factors and don’t drive success.

Keep it about the customer

I always knew bid management was a complex field with many, many different factors. Now we can see what really makes a difference. You must practice good management, but you must also press your organisation to support longer planning cycles where you delve into the customer’s business challenge and reflect your understanding of their real needs. Then watch your win rates soar.