Clear thinking

Learn how to improve your proposals and win more business.


Proving your claims

 June 6, 2017
by Paul Heron

When reviewing a new client’s past proposals, we often find they’re long on claims—but short on proof.

In many cases the proof exists. The company just isn’t organized around documenting and managing the supporting evidence to make it easy to find. So when bid opportunities arise, there’s never enough time to make a watertight case.

The result is vague “industry-leading” and “best practices” claims that pale against competing bids with actual performance stats and client testimonials.

Here’s how to address this issue of proof.

Shift your mindset

The first step is to understand that evaluators score based on what’s in your bid response. Even if the bid issuer knows you—even if you’re a current provider—make a commitment to respond as if you have no history.

Next, get in the habit of recognizing your strengths. Many companies take for granted things they do better than anyone else—often because they’ve been performing at that high level for so long. One early win for a bid consultant is bringing fresh eyes to helping you see and express your differentiators.

Keep current records

If you’re a small company, set up a log in Excel or other format. Use one axis for projects and the other for such information as start and finish dates, value, type, project partners, whether a renewal or won from an incumbent. Include performance measures, such as on time, on budget completion, safety record, regulatory compliance, bonuses won, etc. Choose items that fit the kind of work you do.

If yours is a big business, it may make more sense to keep records in several departments. The point is to keep them current and have them available to bid teams.

“What’s measured improves.” – Peter Drucker

Another reason to track performance and make results visible is that the performance itself will improve. That’s good both for the bottom line—and for your ability to win bid contracts.

  • The safety manager at one of our client companies can provide—as of the previous workday—the history of near misses, recordables and lost time incidents for each of dozens of sites across North America.
  • Another client—with fewer sites and people—struggles to assemble safety information every time a bid opportunity arrives.

Guess which company has the better safety record?

Getting started

Do these four things to ensure you have bid-winning statistics available:

  1. Use past bid requests and industry practice to select the data items you need to track
  2. Develop formats for capturing and storing the information
  3. Assign responsibility for keeping records up to date
  4. Identify performance gaps and take steps to improve


Need help expressing your value in bid situations?

Contact Complex2Clear


Photo credit

Paul Heron, MBA, is the founder and managing partner of Complex2Clear, and leads our bid response practice. LinkedIn 





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