How to Choose Bid Win Themes

Selecting Bid Win Themes is a key part of Capture Planning and the Bid Kick Off Session.  Bid Win Themes should percolate your bid like the chorus in a song and provide the client with compelling reasons for selecting your company.  But how do you select win themes? and which ones will you choose?  This article sets out to answer both of these questions.

  1. Selecting Bid Win Themes

a) What do you already know about this client and what is important to them?  This is where your business development function needs to kick in.  What can they tell you about this opportunity and why it has come to market?  How is the contract currently being run?  What changes is the client ideally looking for in the new contract?

b) What do the bid documents (and the client’s website) tell you?  Study the client objectives and the specification for the contract.  A picture should emerge of what is important to the client for this contract.  If there is some dubiety, use the clarification question process to refine what is important to the client – much better to do this than make assumptions.

c) Do you have any Unique Selling Points (USPs) that could apply to this contract?  What differentiates you from other bidders?  Note of caution though – they must be relevant to this client and this opportunity to be meaningful.

d) Since bids are invited for a Need or a Problem, think about your Solution, but focus on the Benefits to the client not the Features of your offering.  In other words, it’s all about the Client, not about you.

e) Use the Bid Kick Off Session to agree the win themes.  Do not just leave this to the Bid Manager / Bid Writer – taking a collaborative approach will produce stronger, sharper win themes.  

  1. Examples of Bid Win Themes  

a) Added Value – you will not just be doing the basics well, but will be adding value for the client – you can demonstrate specifically how and what you will deliver on this contract (perhaps backed up by a case study or two).  If you can quantify the added value e.g. financially, time saved, or otherwise this will add weight to your case 

b) Innovation – you will introduce innovation i.e. you won’t just be doing ‘same old, same old’ but have identified aspects where innovation can be introduced.  Of course, you will need to give the evaluators specifics and make clear how and why your innovation will be of benefit on this contract.

c) Managing Risk – buyers (especially in the public sector) have a focus on risk.  Demonstrate how you are managing risk – not just your own, but theirs too!  Show how your approach and actions will de-risk them – now that it is a winning theme!

d) Better, Cheaper, Faster, Friendlier – each of these can potentially be win themes, but once again, you will need to quantify and evidence in a contract specific manner.

e) Incumbency-versus-New kid on the block – If you are the incumbent, there are many ways you can play this to your advantage – knowledge and understanding of their client, the contract, etc.  However, some caution is needed on how you present this to ensure you do not come across as Complacent or Tired.  Instead, your win theme could be built around how you will use your knowledge and experience as the foundation for some new approaches.  If you are not the incumbent, then your win theme could be around your fresh approach.  You can also demonstrate how you will bring experience from other contracts into this one … but, be very contract and client specific.

f) SMEs and/or Community Engagement – This will figure in some public contracts, so don’t just focus on the work you will doing on the contract … think about how this will impact on the communities.  Developing a contract specific approach to SMEs and / or communities can involve doing some legwork before / during the bid process that can help differentiate your bid.