A strategy is like the rules of fight club – it sets how you will play the game. It governs decisions and parameters in which to obtain wins. Only once you have the strategy, then you play the moves and tactics to position yourself for the win. Various levels of strategy feed into each other – qualifying and verifying the next.
Firstly, know your overall business strategy, your vision, your mission, your value-add and why you are best placed to add the value. Here, strategy defines the markets you will target and the markets you will avoid; why as well as how you will go to market.
Secondly, your business development and capture strategy (pre-sales) will determine the kind of customers you will approach in a market, the opportunities you will pursue, etc. At this stage, you should focus on pursuit approaches, measurements, and resources needed to win.
When starting work on a bid or proposal for a qualified opportunity, you will requalify your strategy to ensure the path leads to success.
In my view, there are four vital areas to ensure building a strong strategy being:
- Customer context: Know your customer (what do they need)
- Competitive landscape: Know your competition (what can they offer)
- A capable solution: Know your clients desired outcomes
- A compelling reason: Ensure they know why they should choose you.
Tactics will only come into play once you define your strategy. Your strategy should set the destination (where, how, what, why, by when). Your tactics are the actions that will get you there. Both are vital to prepare for the win, so think success and act to win.
As mentioned before, a strategy is like fight club, and there are eight rules:
- The first rule of Bid Club is: you do not talk about your strategy. It is your secret weapon to success, don’t share.
- The second rule of Bid Club is: you DO NOT talk about Bid Club! Actions speak louder than words. Lessons learnt go a long way in building a better strategy next time.
- The third rule of Bid Club: if someone yells “stop!”, goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over. Set a winning framework but don’t be afraid to ‘no go’. Remember: bidding in an area where you have a high probability of winning improves your wins. Short notice unplanned and ad hoc approaches are proven to deliver bad results.
- Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Often the fight is between value and cost. Find the balance between the two where can you maximise value without adding on cost. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
- Fifth rule: one bid at a time, fellas and lasses. Don’t confuse or dilute your strategy building. Give it the time it deserves and then reap the rewards.
- Sixth rule: the fights are bare-knuckle. No shirt, no shoes, no weapons. Ensure the framework is ethical, don’t cheat, but beat the competition.
- Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to. Start early and regularly review your strategy and tactics. It takes as long as it takes.
- And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Bid Club, you have to fight.” If something is worth doing, do it right. Commit to the process – both sales, executive, bid professionals and subject matter experts.
Winning is a team sport. Play to win.