This is the third in a series of posts providing guidance for whether or not to bid on any given opportunity. Following a process improves internal alignment and provides information to optimize your win rate.
Find the previous posts at these links:
Evaluating your competition
Assuming that bidding will consume scarce resources (nearly always the case), be sure to assess your competition before making a decision.
Use these questions to start your thinking:
- Are you up against an incumbent? If this is a renewal, is the incumbent bidding? If yes, is the client genuinely looking to change suppliers, or simply fulfilling a requirement to issue an RFP? How well has the incumbent performed on the current contract? In this post, we talk about why incumbents often lose renewal competitions.
- Are you competitive? Do you know what other bidders are bringing to the table? In many sectors (telecom is a good example) disruptive or next-generation technologies can offer huge cost savings in the right situations. Is this one of those situations, and can you be competitive?
- Does a decision maker or influencer favour a competitor? Favouritism could be based on a past association or a current business relationship unrelated to the current RFP. If another bidder is favoured, how well does the RFP process promote fairness?
- Are there any low-ball competitors? Every industry has one or more players who consistently underbid everyone else. These companies may be desperate for a win, or they may not fully understand the RFP or their own costs. The prospect of a very low competitive quote may affect your appetite and/or the way you present your bid. For example, you could provide a highly transparent pricing model to raise doubts about the low quote.
Use competitive factors to fine-tune your decision
Competitive factors are seldom showstoppers, but they can help you prioritize RFP opportunities. Faced with going head-to head against a popular incumbent or a competitor with a cheaper and more efficient technical solution, investing effort in another bid will likely yield higher returns.