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Teasing out the Winning Themes in your Bid

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Do you have too much information, too many sources of data and too many entangled ideas for your bid? How do you tease out your Win Themes?

As a bid professional you are only too aware that creating win themes is a key part of developing a winning solution. A solution that excites your in-house bid evaluators, and then excites your client even more once your bid is flashing on their screen.

You already know there are very many ways you can collect information – client engagement, stakeholder consultation, workshops, Blue Skies thinking, top-down input, bottom-up data, trends and patterns from elsewhere. You also know that the most creative (sometimes wacky) ideas come from the most surprising members of your team, and the best ideas from the most surprising combinations of possible ideas.

So far, so good. But when you reach the “too much data” stage – when it looks like the rope in the picture – which maybe is how it feels right now – it’s colourful and pretty – but how do you tell which are the winning themes, how they connect, and how they join up into the whole picture? And also importantly, which are the themes to leave behind for a different bid, a different solution or a different day?

When it’s all entangled as you know the bid team needs to have great skills in stepping back, seeing what’s happening and trusting their judgment. When expectations are high, pressure from above is looming and anxiety is starting to raise its head, this can feel a lot easier said than done.

I’ve worked with bid, sales and leadership teams for over twenty years. I’ve learned a lot from working with high caliber professionals such as you. This is what I’ve seen you do. Let me know what else works too:-

  • You expect interconnection. You know that the interdependency and impact of the winning themes on each other can be more important than the themes themselves. You know, with all of your being, that interdependency can be such a rich source of new ideas, quality, and opportunity for cost reduction.  It’s a highly exciting as well as a necessary place to be. You make sure everyone knows to think this way and look for a new perspective.
  •  You allow for emergence. You know that vital information can be late or need re-working and that winning themes or combination of themes continue to show themselves over time. You allow early ideas to step aside gracefully as their successors and nuances emerge. You give your team permission to talk to each other as many times as they need to, to create the best ideas. You know it’s the conversation about the technical expertise which is essential, helping to clarify the wheat from the chaff.
  • At the end of the day, you trust yourselves. You stay true to yourselves, firm in your own judgment and understanding of client focus. You trust your gut and intuition as to what will genuinely be the winning themes – for this bid, this client, this time. After listening to everyone you know it is your job to draw out and hold the “Aunt Sally”, the framework of win themes and move to bid production from there.
  • You thank your full team. You know that they all contribute to the creation and clarity of winning themes. Acknowledging their contribution keeps them working hard in the next stage, describing the themes in full and glorious detail in the bid, writing in a compelling way to win.

Author: Gill How, Director Buonacorsi Consulting

If your bid team would benefit from some extra facilitation challenge, support and perspective when all you can see is entangled rope, do get in touch on 020 8158 3952 / enquiry@bidsolutions.co.uk.

For more expert advice to help you write winning bids and proposals, check out our Ask the Expert page.