Stop bidding for everything and win more

Don’t waste your time chasing seagulls!

I was recently reminded of a conversation I had with one of Salentis’ first UK clients. He was explaining his business’ capture pipeline and said it seemed that they were just bidding for everything they came across that was remotely in their field. They weren’t having much success. He described it as being “like a dog chasing seagulls on the beach”.

I could immediately picture what he meant.

By trying to bid for everything, they were winning almost nothing. The team was being spread impossibly thin trying to work multiple bids, often concurrently, not having the time to develop complete and compliant drafts. They were certainly struggling with making them compelling. They were missing deadlines, working long hours and weekends. Worse than that, they were seeing no reward for it in terms of wins.

I don’t know if there is a metaphor for how to catch any particular seagull on a beach but, if there is, it might be about deciding carefully which seagull you most need to catch, then putting everything you have into catching it. Then moving on to catch the next one in turn.

What does this mean for new business capture?

In terms of new business capture, that would mean:

  • being clear about what the long-term business strategy is
  • prioritising opportunities in terms of alignment with it
  • a realistic view of the resource requirements for each opportunity is essential, one that gives it the very best shot possible, with contingency to deal with the unexpected.
  • think what it would take to knock it out of the park.

Comparing the resource requirement to the budget gives an immediate feel for the affordability of the options, and whether pursuing two opportunities in parallel is realistic. “We should just about be able to do it” isn’t an affordability statement I would recommend.

Instead, I believe you should do less to win more.

By this, I mean that my client should try to do less bidding to win more business. He will need to choose very carefully what he does do, and then do everything in his power to do it really well. And, obviously, if they don’t have the know-how or people to do it, that is where @Salentis International can help.

If that is you, just get in touch!

Now go and catch that seagull!

Article published: April 2022

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