Having worked in infrastructure consulting and now as a bid coach, I routinely get invited into teams to support, challenge and guide the development of a bid securing a particular project or programme of work with their client. I am now prepared for what is the inevitable first contact that constitutes a team transfixed on their ideas and solutions whilst trying to ram their square peg solution in the clients round problem. After a tugging of the reins, we circle back around to the actual problem that the client is trying to solve.
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) provides a great insight into these situations and the approach that engineering industry organisations take when undertaking a bid. In my experience, people often gravitate to industries and roles in organisations that are more aligned with their innate preferences.
In the infrastructure delivery field, that often results in people with preferences for:
- Sensing: Facts, figures, evidence and details; and
- Thinking: Objective, process and logic.
As a bid team it is important to address these two preferences by building confidence with your client through the following areas:
- Experience: Showcase your experience on similar projects and the outcomes/benefits generated for the client;
- Details: A project program, costing and technical solutions;
- Method: The method you will follow to deliver the work in a step by step manner, including inputs, deliverables, who is involved and timing; and
- Quality control: Your teams review practices and work methods.
Most find the above discussion quite easy to elicit and comfortable to talk to. The problem with this, is that more often than not, the client will have a mixture of personnel responsible for or involved in and assessing your bid. In most cases this includes highly influential people in the client organisation that are focussed on senior responsibilities including overall project delivery, governance and high level internal and external stakeholder relationship management.
I routinely find a gaping hole in the team’s awareness and capability to articulate information that the clients bid evaluators actually worry, care about and are responsible for. From a preference perspective this includes:
- Intuition: Strategic context and the link to overarching business objectives, patterns and interdependencies often associated with integration; and
- Feeling: Empathy, people oriented and a recognition of the impact on people and stakeholders.
In order to address these areas in a bid adequately it is important to address the following throughout your bid strategy:
- Client drivers: Valuing and investing in the upfront understanding of your client’s issues and concerns before diving into solutions;
- Client pressures: Having a genuine recognition and understanding of the internal pressures your client is under (e.g. Ministerial, promotion, reputation);
- United Leadership: Compiling a team with strong united leadership and self-awareness; and
- Flexing: Being prepared and able to flex your style, both verbal and written to impact the client team.
In order to improve your bid strategy, verbal and written response ensure you have a well-rounded offer that addresses all four preferences:
- Sensing: Address the detail of your offer – What is your idea? Where has it been used before? What were the outcomes? Can you provide evidence to back up your assertions?
- Intuition: Provide a link to the strategic objectives and context of the client – Link your ideas back to deliverable outcomes that will enable your client to achieve their strategic objectives. Recognise the complexity of interdependencies and integrating with other broader project elements;
- Thinking: Demonstrate the rigour process and methodology – Outline how you will deliver your idea; and
- Feeling: Show the impact that your idea will have – How will it affect the people in your client’s organisation? What benefits will it provide? What impact will it have on wider stakeholders?
Give it a go! Think more like your clients, which in the end can only improve your ability to help them solve their issues. BRS hold a range of experience across a number high profile bids and projects within Australia and New Zealand. If you would like more information on how BRS can assist your team with implementing a successful bid strategy visit our website to find out more or contact us.