It is increasingly the case that clients of professional services firms are required to pitch to procurement professionals, rather than only to their peers. The landscape has changed dramatically in recent months, with a much greater focus being placed on costs and service delivery and less emphasis on experience and reputation.
Experience and reputation are still vitally important, but companies and firms need to perform at their peak when bidding for new business and fight hard to keep existing clients.
Here are 12 top tips to set you in the right direction:
1. Adhere to the Client RFP (request for proposal) process 100%.
2. Provide all material requested and in the form requested/provided.
3. Ensure that the response is as easy to follow and evaluate as possible.
4. Provide response text where requested and avoid cross-referencing.
5. Ensure you have provided absolute price certainty.
6. Analyse what is important to the Procurement team, e.g. Alternative fee arrangements, value added services etc.
7. Meet all deadlines – especially bid receive date.
8. Follow the RFP rules to the letter, e.g. they may stipulate that there must be no exploitation of personal/business relationships, entertainment etc.
9. Ensure a single point of communication.
10. Follow the RFP prescribed communications protocol.
11. Try to estimate the relative weightings to be applied to the evaluation, based on emphasis and repeated references in the RFP.
12. Project manage the Bid creation to ensure deadlines are achieved.
In short, do exactly what the Procurement document states. Do not deviate from or elaborate on any information beyond what is being requested. Doing so will jeopardise the validity of your bid. Remember, the whole reason this process came about and is growing in popularity, is to eliminate irrelevant and biasing factors. Facts are what they are looking for, so facts are what you should deliver.
Finally, to help you get to grips with the terminology, here is a very useful page.