A win strategy is the value proposition that you have come up with targeted directly at how you overcome the buyer issues. This is something that you commit to massively. You do not flirt with a win strategy. You wear it everywhere. It is an absolute commitment. The win strategy is your answer to “Why Us?”. It is made up of your big sell and win themes.
Developing your win strategy
The most effective way of developing a win strategy is to workshop it as a group. You cannot just meet around somebody’s desk. Allocate at least two hours if you are in different locations and are video-conferencing in. If you have the luxury of all being together, calendar a four-hour session, with a facilitator.
First, you need to define and agree the buyer issues – this really starts to sing when you do this as a bid team, and this is where the team really starts to gel. Review the intel reports, we believe in documenting intel and producing thorough reports. Then analyze the buyer’s requirements. Asking good quality questions here is where we really start to bring the analysis out, and this is what drives the win strategy. What point are they trying to get at? What are they really looking for? Why are they doing that? Through careful deliberation involving constructive challenge and debate, you will reach broad consensus on what the buyer issues are. You should have between three and five buyer issues – the absolutely most important things they care about.
Then comes the exciting bit - what do we do about it? You will generate many ideas and solutions that hit the buyer issues. But you are looking for the one overarching big sell that answers the only important question there is ‘Why Us?’ The other, smaller nuggets are your supporting win themes, such as fast mobilization or competitive price. They tell the story of your bid and help you stand out from the competition. Most people think that the win themes are the big sell. They are definitely attention grabbers, but only the big sell will close the deal. At best, you do not want more than seven or eight win themes, and capture these in a win themes matrix, which we have handily supplied.
Example of win strategy development for a defense project
|Intel||Buyer Issues||Win Strategy|
|Big Sell||Win Themes|
|Buyer seeking fastidious approach, highly governed, and hugely compliant in running their operations
If you do not massively respect their need for compliance then you are just adding to the pain point of this buyer
|Focused completely on compliance – ‘Power on the ground’ bringing power, rigor and a huge level of respect for process and compliance||Delivering 100% right first time
Zero impact on existing operations
Note: We actually created 32 processes and procedures that proved we could ensure 100% compliance
Example of win strategy development for an online hotel booking platform
|Intel||Buyer Issues||Win Strategy|
|Big Sell||Win Themes|
|The intel revealed how badly the platform was performing and the terrible customer ratings and feedback they were collating as a result
They were miles behind the competition and the issues all stemmed from terrible customer service
The client was in denial about their reality. They thought their issue was their inability to handle the volume not their inability to make their customers happy
|Improving their volume handling issues
Improving customer experience
|We do Happy! Our reason for being in business is to make your customers happy||What Good Customer services look like: first call resolution, speed of response times, multiple platform skills, 24/7 service, informed and well-trained personnel. Customer satisfaction KPIs
Good customer service as a resolution to their perceived volume issues. We evidenced our claims with statistics and data from other transformational cases with previous clients that had been in a similar situation
Once you have your win strategy, everyone in your team must live and breathe it. It must be at the front and center of their minds, so that when they are developing solutions, meeting buyers or writing responses they are consistently pushing this strategy through. Don’t let a communication fail upend your strategy.
You have to test the strategy with the buyer. There should be touchpoints throughout the bid process, where you get to meet with the buyer to develop the solutions. You want to get a feel for what the buyer thinks by seeing how they react. If they are lukewarm, you may need to refine your strategy. If it’s still not working, then you need to get back to base and check if your intel is right or if your buyer issues are off. Don’t be afraid of iterating until you get the reaction you want – delight!
Review the win strategy at every major bid milestone. Sometimes, a key decision-maker will leave or a major event happens in your industry that could impact on your strategy, and you need to be able to react.
Commit To It
You spent so much energy and effort on creating the strategy, don’t forget about it. You need to keep banging on that drum. It’s the thread that runs through your bid. Too often you can lose sight of the strategy as you migrate through the bid.
In the bid responses, in the branding, in your interactions with the buyer, at the interviews, and presentations – sell it!
Build a Winning Strategy for your next RFP
Listen to Anne as she discusses the key steps to building and winning strategy and increasing your growth rate.Listen Here
- Create it - hold a win strategy session with the bid team to define buyer issues, big sell and win themes.
- Communicate it - make sure all the team knows the bid strategy.
- Test it - with the buyer to make sure it aligns to their requirements and expectations.
- Review it - keep checking you’re still on the right track.
- Commit to it - don’t lose the strategy along the way. Too often you can lose sight of the strategy as you migrate through the bid.
- Sell it!