Attn Bid Managers – What’s your win theme?

win-themeWorking with Organisations of different size and style, one comes across different sales strategies. They range from pure play cold-calling and rate plays, to solution selling through some hybrid solutions such as the Sandler training – a true spectrum of sales strategies.

People will argue that different methodologies apply to different products and industries – probably. All strategies however have two known commonalities:

1. Their finality is to sell

2. Their initial aim is to “get a meeting”

They all have a third commonality: they’ll lead to a hell more success if based upon identified “win themes”: why should your prospect give you the 30 minutes he didn’t have for your competitor? Why should he /she buy your offering over your competitor’s? This is when your win-theme kicks-in – if you have one that is.

Your win-theme – or themes – is the must-have information to bid. Don’t waste your time bidding without a win theme, you are clearly not in the game for this bid, better concentrate on another one. Win theme is a pivotal input to bid / no bid decision making. A win-theme must:

1. Be an important component of your offering i.e. your offering must be structured around the win theme

2. Bring tangible benefits to your prospect, ideally fit within a known success criteria for the bid

3. Convey experience

4. Differentiate your proposal from your competitors’

A simple example would be staffing for a program in a country where you are the market leader and for which command of the local language is of the utmost importance. There you are on a true win theme.

At this point usually kicks-in the price discussion: is price a win theme? Most definitely true to say that in the current economics, price is important, “LPTA” (Lowest Price Technically Acceptable) has taken over “Best Value” in many procurement processes. Is price a win theme though? No, not strictly speaking, LPTA and “Lowest Cost” are still two different things. Again, it is not to say that pricing isn’t important, and bid managers should read twice every tender to ensure that they pick-up on whether the offeror seeks “Best Value”, “LPTA” or “LC”.

So going back to win themes, they are essentials to successful bids. They are defined during the qualification process, form the basis of the response to a tender, and will be different from one tender to the next. Make sure you have one!


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