Top ten tips

1st.         Understand the rules of the game (chapter 3)

There are formal rules and informal or local interpretations so it’s always worth checking which rules the buyer is following. The purpose of the rules is to achieve best value for government by having a fair and open competition between well qualified suppliers. 

2nd.        Get to know potential buyers (chapter 4 and 6)

The best sorts of opportunities tend to be those with organisations and people you know.  Not only are they are easier to filter because there are fewer uncertainties but the processes of bidding and delivering are also likely to more predictable.

3rd.        Build a network of buyers, peers, and potential allies (chapter 6)

A good network of contacts enables you to know who to call to see what opportunities are in the pipeline, understand what a buyer really wants, assess how the procurement will be run, and build consortia.

4th.         Don’t wait for opportunities, create them (chapter 5)

If you can create the need for your product or service you will have implicitly shaped the way the buyers think about and describes what they want.  You will also have a much clearer idea of what the buyer will value. 

5th.         Have a consistent process for selecting opportunities (chapter 7)

A simple scoring system is often helpful to enable you to get to consistent decisions quickly.  If you haven’t got such a system try scoring each of the five categories qualification, relationships, capability, references and attractiveness.

6th.         When the facts change re-evaluate (everywhere)

Looking particularly at the balance between the cost and value of winning, taking into account any change in the odds.

7th.         Understand contractual options (chapters 12 and 13)

Look at whether an existing contract, whether with you or another organisation, can be used and failing that whether there is an appropriate framework available.

8th.         Have a reuse library for building proposals (chapter 9)

Build up a library that includes far more than any individual buyer will want and draw from it, personalising it to for the buyers and reinforcing their themes. 

9th.         Create references from project completion reviews (chapter9)

Base the bonus for a successful piece of work on the quality of the project completion review documentation to both improve performance in future projects and provide the raw material for case studies. 

10th.       Build in downstream innovation (chapter 11)

Persuade the buyer to reward downstream innovation so that the costs of implementing the changes are recouped when benefits are realised.