The three fundamental skills of a genuinely sharp, sustainably successful bid/proposal/tender professional are the ability to think, listen and ask quality questions.
It sounds simple and logical, yet it’s these very skills that are noticeably absent in many bid, business development or sales executives today . . . as unpopular as this assertion may be.
Furthermore, formulating successful business development and bid strategies is the process of research and thinking; not the product of tools and templates.
The capacity and willingness for a bid leader or business development professional to think deeply, logically, strategically and client-centrically is a key differentiator between those who can sustain a high win rate and provide much-needed leadership in new-business pursuits, and those who flounder in such a role.
It’s a skill set that can be taught – so long as the necessary degree of humility and “coachability” exists. And that’s the reason this book was written. Its title is an unashamed play on that of the all-time business classic, Think & Grow Rich, penned in 1937 by leading business thinker of his time, Napoleon Hill.
Think & Win Bids is more than a catchy title. It’s a book with a strong message and a wealth of commanding insights into the fundamentals of winning bids . . . including the need to deeply understand a potential customer or client organisation, the world in which it operates, its intended procurement, and the all-important backdrop against which that procurement is being made.
- The importance of understanding your customer or client organisation and its procurement from a holistic (versus a narrow, service- or product-focused) perspective.
- How to gain a detailed and bid-winning appreciation of the procurement psyche of your prospective customer or client organisation.
- How to determine the most valuable information to acquire about a customer or client organisation’s intended procurement and the bigger picture directing or impacting it.
- How to plan for the acquisition of the above points of critical knowledge.
- The difference between high-value and low-value conversations and how to plan for the former.
- The specific differences between great listeners and average listeners.
- What highly effective business development operatives and bid professionals do that average ones don’t.
- The many types of information available to help inform your bid strategy, and how to source them.
- Little-known sources of competitor information.
- The criticality of channelling information back, in a valuable format, from the client or customer coalface to the bid team.
- What you need to know when your client organisation has its own (up-the-line) client.
- How to take advantage of arrogance on the part of the competition.
- The importance of avoiding arrogance in your own organisation.
- The value of “sleuthing” the customer’s documentation versus simply “reading” it.
- The critical distinction between “features” and “benefits” and how to capitalise on your ability to translate one into the other.
- What constitutes bid strategy . . . and what doesn’t.
- How to turn raw information into bid-winning intelligence.
- Working wide while drilling deep in the strategy formulation phase.
- How to develop a winning bid strategy.
- Why “thorough” is the best default position when it comes to strategy.
- Why talk of “silver bullets” is naive.
- How to avoid confusing tactics with strategy.
- Why templating is the opposite of thinking.
- The importance of documenting your bid blueprint in detail.
- How to position your organisation as a trusted advisor.
- How to get the most out of a de-brief.
- How to hire the most effective professional support.