In my experience there are four types of bidders. Which one are you?
These are companies that generate 90%+ of their revenue from competitive bidding through a highly regulated process (e.g. defense contractors, specialist federal/government IT contractors, large infrastructure). Performance bidders have it nailed. They bid only for high value contracts where they have a high percentage chance of winning. They have a high volume of bids and a dedicated team of experienced bidders, driven to win. They are the early adopters of new ideas, methods and technologies and foster a culture of winning and innovating. They have tried and tested processes that team members adopt and buy into. As such they have a high win rate (above 70%).
These are companies that generate 75% of their revenue from competitive bidding through a highly regulated process. Unlike performance bidders they do not have it nailed. Whilst they may be focused on the right bid within their sector or specialism, they don’t market test the chance of success and instead focus on ‘getting the bid in’. They do not engender a culture of winning, it’s a churn and volume game. The methodologies and processes they use are built around internal compliance rather than winning. As such they have a medium/low win rate (below 50%).
These are companies for whom bidding is a requirement only some of the time. While they may be able to negotiate their way into an exclusive role occasionally, they cannot guarantee growth on this model. They resist bidding and view it solely as a response document. Likely to have little to no in-house experienced bidders. RFP‘s will be completed by a combination of sales/marketing/admin. Because the reluctant bidder is not strategic in their choice of bids they will often be relatively low in value and perceived to be a ‘chore’. With resistance to bidding, no bidders and no track record of success the win rate is likely to be low (below 30%).
These are companies for whom bidding is a requirement only some of the time. Lifestyle bidders know what works for their business model. They are strategic in what they bid for and will have done their homework well in advance of the RFP going live. They will bid for less than 5 contracts a year and will measure at each stage of their bid their likelihood of winning. Likely that C-suite will be involved in managing the process, utilizing all resources at their disposal, bids will be creative, innovative and of high value and importance to the business. They are likely to have a high win rate (above 70%).