In last week’s post, we identified incumbent complacency as a common client complaint in long-term contracts. If complacency extends to your rebid, you’re at high risk of losing the business.
Few companies set out to be complacent. Instead, it’s the cumulative result of various blind spots, including perceptions of client loyalty and habits of working and communicating.
Instead of simply vowing not to be complacent, take the following actions to better inform your rebid strategy.
Five ways to shake off complacency
Get input from non-friendlies: Have your business developers connect with a wider group at your client organization. Seek out the economic buyer, technical buyers and user buyers. If possible meet with likely bid evaluators. And don’t ask, “Is everything OK?” Instead ask, “What improvements would you like to see in the next contract period?” and “How is your business changing in ways that will affect our relationship?” Open-ended questions such as these will produce more useful intelligence.
Send some ringers on the site visit: Take advantage of the site visit invitation to get input from another business team managing a similar contract. Ask your colleagues to be tough markers. What shortcomings would they pounce on if a competitor held the current contract?
Turn speed bumps into lessons learned: Don’t ignore issues that arose during the current contract, hoping your client will have forgotten. Instead, explain the steps you took to address root causes. If the process involved significant investment (of your own money), state the amount. Use non-recurrence of the issue to show your remedy was successful.
Find specific cost savings: Identify new ways reduce costs or add value. Choose examples that involve an investment and business case—otherwise the client will wonder why you didn’t introduce these improvements in the current contract.
Ghost your competition: Try to anticipate your strongest competitor’s moves and decide how to offset them. For example, if a hungry competitor offers to waive its transition costs, what other valid arguments can you make for not switching?
Be sure to do a Blue Team and Black Hat reviews
Successful teams use Blue Team and Black Hat reviews to test strategy. Both provide good value in rebid situations.
The Blue Team tests strategy, using internal resources who understand the project and the competition—but who haven’t been closely involved in building the strategy. The Black Hat team is tasked with attacking the strategy from the perspective of your toughest competitor. In high stakes situations, companies often engage outsiders to perform Black Hat reviews.
We’ll explore these two types of review in the coming weeks.