Shine CEO Anne McNamara outlines the company’s approach to winning, using art and science.
The starting point for all our bids is what the customer (our client’s client) wants and what’s the best way to give that to them. It sounds obvious but far too many people want to churn out some standard copy that used on their last bid. Then they say ‘It was a stitch up’ when they don’t win.
What are the customer’s pain points? Why has a project come to market now? Why is it structured in this way? Do they want certainty – of budgets, time frames, quality delivery – or do they want the status of outstanding technical excellence? How can we blow them away, transforming the market and grenading the competition?
Finding the answers to these questions is the reason we invest in project intel. The answer can always be found, even if you have to pore over specs, planning documents, company accounts, technical reports to get it. I cannot stress enough that the client is at the heart of every bid.
So, with some solid intel in place, how do we create a winning formula? It’s a combination of systems and attitude, or science and art.
The Shine Bid masterplan©
Our systems are captured in our bid masterplan, the ‘science’ that underpins our bids. The methods are tried and tested, and they give customers – our client’s clients – what they want.
We use the masterplan to make our clients really think about their client’s business outcomes, pain points and to look at that organisation and its leaders in a different way. We take all the intel that we’ve gathered and ask our clients, ‘So f***ing what?’. What does it mean for our approach? What are we going to do about it? The masterplan ensures no stage is overlooked and it is both a launch pad and safety net.
Having everything set out in a clear approach frees your mind to be creative and focus on developing specific winning bid strategies. When our client embraces it, and we’re able to work with them end-to-end, our win rate is well over 80 per cent and it makes a real impact on our client’s business.
We challenge everything
We don’t win bids for our clients by being nice. We win by challenging them, the status quo, the team they’ve put forward, the approach they’re proposing, the way they run their business. We challenge everything. The art in our work is challenging constantly, without them walking out.
What we’ve found from years of bidding is that there are loads of brilliant ideas in companies – but most of them never get put on the table for clients. We push people to do that – to commit the time and resources to develop a solution that makes business better for their clients.
We’ve worked on dozens of innovations over the years. Even on bids for highly regulated environments, we’ve challenged our clients to innovate – and it wins bids.
And it doesn’t just win one bid. What starts as innovation in the first bid becomes a systemised approach in the next with measurable benefits. We’ve seen our clients raise their game for a bid – and keep working at that level on the contract, and on subsequent bids.
The Shine difference
We are crazy about systems. We ask lots of awkward questions. We never give up. We are disruptive and make people feel uncomfortable. It’s a role we have embraced and it’s how we add value to clients.
Anne McNamara is a finalist in the 2017 Women In Construction and Engineering Awards in the Consultant Category.