The Review Advantage – Helping to Win Future Deals

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What’s the first thing that gets dropped from your bid process?

Yep, you’re right, it’s the lonely ol’ learning review that gets forgotten about. We’re onto the next bid and can’t get everyone together anyway, so “Let’s just leave it for this one”. But here’s the thing….internal and external/client learning reviews are like gold mines for winning deals/contracts. They create significant learning opportunities for you and your team.

They help you:

  • Learn and improve: reviews help us learn from past bids – both the wins and the near-misses. By spotting patterns and refining our strategies, we get better with each attempt.
  • Understand the competition: we’re not in this alone and to truly understand how we fare against the dastardly competition, who better to give us intel but our clients?
  • Build team spirit: facing the challenges together and not brushing issues under the carpet may be tricky at first but it will improve collaboration and motivation in the short– and long-term.

When should you hold reviews?

  • Hold your initial internal review within two weeks of the bid submission while it’s fresh in everyone’s minds
  • Ask your client for a debrief. Depending on the process and whether public vs private sector, this may be following the formal evaluation process – but the earlier, the better.
  • Potentially you’ll need to hold another internal review following the client debrief and outcome

Running the review:

  • Have an independent facilitator – someone who has the skills but hasn’t been involved in the bid
  • Email everyone involved in the bid requesting a response with two things that went well, and two things that could be improved
  • Decide on the topics for the review meeting based on the consensus of the email responses
  • Honour what went well and treat anything that didn’t as an opportunity to improve, not to blame
  • Capture client and competitive information that may be useful for future bids
  • Document key learning points with action(s) required, owners and agreed milestones and share with the group
  • Share this key learning regularly with senior stakeholders (perhaps quarterly depending on how often you’re bidding)

Capturing client feedback

  • Again, an independent facilitator is ideal – what if your client didn’t like the client-facing team?! The client is likely to be more open with someone independent.
  • Prepare questions on the following topics:
    • What did you think of our offer? E.g. the strengths and weaknesses of your offer vs other bidders
    • How was our engagement during the bid? E.g. the quality and responsiveness of engagement, professionalism, handling of negotiations, etc
    • How was the quality and impact of our proposal? How did we perform against your evaluation criteria? What could we have done to make a better impact or score higher?

So, win or lose…embrace learning reviews. They’ll drive improvements, improve collaboration and ultimately help you win more!

This article was written by Lorraine Baird.

Lorraine specialises in helping organisations to win – evidenced by her personal win rate of over 85%. She’s recognised for equipping bid teams with the right skills and tools to produce winning proposals and pitches for their organisations. Formerly heading up the bid team at Aviva, Lorraine’s career in sales and bidding spans over 20 years. Lorraine is qualified at the highest level of certification in the profession – APMP Professional – and also recently attained the new APMP Capture Practitioner certification.

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