In 1982, Kenichi Ohmae introduced the 3C’s model in The Mind of the Strategist. Since then, the idea that effective strategy is hinged upon the successful application of the 3C's has been hard to beat.
And when it comes to proving that your firm is the best choice for the customer and the success of their project, your proposal’s best chance of winning the business depends on how well you can position your company above the competition, and clearly articulate why your solution will get the job done.
But often, developing an effective win strategy can prove more challenging than initially anticipated. In this blog post, we’re sharing three ways to strengthen your win strategy. We will cover how to look at the customer’s issues and uncover deeper insights, how to think about the competition, and how to show the true value of your solution.
1. Go deeper on client issues
Congrats, you decided that the opportunity is viable! But before you start thrashing out your response to the RFP, take the time to do a thorough job of understanding your customer. The most effective bid teams go beyond simply knowing the common revenue goals of a project – they know the names of the evaluators, the decision-makers, and what this project means to each party on a personal level.
Granted, this level of insight may often seem out of reach, but it’s also likely obtainable by phoning or meeting people in your business who have a relationship with the customer.
Here, you’re looking to uncover specific issues related to the project, including reasons why it is necessary and why the evaluators and decision-makers think it could fail. The depth of knowledge you gather will enable you to formulate a highly relevant solution.
2. Assess the competition
Discriminators are often considered the easiest for most firms to compile, but be certain that yours are more than generic statements as poorly constructed or weak discriminators can work against you.
Before you get your creative juices flowing though, spend time picking apart what makes your competition the obvious choice for the customer.
Here are four of many critical questions you should seek answers to:
- Does the competition have a more experienced team?
- Have they had more or less experience and success with similar products?
- Do they have team members with specialized qualifications critical to the project’s success?
- Do they have access to specialized or even proprietary technology which will give them the upper hand?
Compiling a thorough list of strengths and weaknesses of all competitors will help you zero in on the most relevant discriminators to strengthen your win strategy.
3. Accentuate the value of your solution
Presenting the features and benefits of your solution may seem like another ‘easy’ aspect of compiling a win strategy for most firms, but be wary of falling for that trap. Loosely linked features and benefits make it harder for your solution to appear relevant, and your proposal to stand out.
When compiling your features, position them as less of a list and more of a response to the customer’s individual concerns. And don’t stop there – give your customer context by relating the value of each feature and benefit in both the short and long term, as this gives the customer a greater sense of confidence in your firm’s ability to understand the uniqueness of the project, and how important tangible results are to them.
Compiling an effective win strategy is as much about uncovering critical insights as it is about articulating the true value of working with your firm. To build your strongest proposal win strategy, take the time to understand your customer, scrutinize the competition, and accentuate the value of your solution with strong features and benefits.