Posted on: 9th May 2017
At Plus Two, the makers of Presentia, we have been developing compelling Bid Presentations for over a decade – this article shares some of our learning and advice.
Most of us involved in selling our organisation’s products / services will be familiar with the following scenario:-
– We receive a request for proposal (RFP) – almost always requiring a detailed response in a tight timescale – followed shortly thereafter by a Presentation.
– We pull together a bid team.
– The bid team works frantically to provide accurate answers to the plethora of questions asked. Hoping that many of the questions have already been answered in previous bids so they can simply cut and paste.
– As the deadline for submission approaches the team put in increasingly long hours as they get things finalized and ready for the review / authorisation process.
– You deliver the response to the RFP with minutes to spare.
– The team collapse exhausted and retires for liquid refreshment!
And only then do they turn their attention to the Presentation which is now only a few days away! So this becomes a rush job by a team that is already jaded. So what typically happens is that the vast majority of the quality effort goes into the RFP rather than the Presentation.
My question is this – is this the best way to win the business? I fully accept that the time has to be spent on the RFP response as if you don’t provide a comprehensive response you won’t be in the game.
However I’ve been in many Presentations where it’s abundantly clear that many in the audience have – how shall I put it – not read or perhaps more charitably not remembered the RFP response. Now I have some sympathy with them – these documents often run to many pages and are rather dry – so it’s very tempting to read the Executive Summary and the Costs section and leave it there!
Generally speaking all the organizations short-listed are all capable of doing the job. Whilst you are normally required to respond to the RFP in a predefined structure this is not normally the case with the Presentation. So the Presentation gives you the opportunity to standout – ensure that your USP’s are clearly articulated – and start to establish relationships with the key people.
Our key point is that the relative importance of the Presentation is often undervalued.
We have helped many clients with Bid Presentations across a wide range of business sectors helping our clients secure multi million multi pound contracts. So we’ve gained huge amount of experience in what it takes to create compelling Presentations.
Some time ago one of our clients was biding for a large 5-year contract worth close to £200m and along with 3 competitors was invited to present their proposal in 30 minutes (which seemed a ridiculously short time given the contract value).
We created the Presentation for them and waited with bated breath to hear how it went. Turns out that they were with the client for 2 hours rather than the 30 minutes allocated – in part as they were so struck by the Presentation. This gave them the opportunity to get their key messages across and to bond with the client personnel. So the Presentation had clearly hit the mark.
And yes they won the contract!
So in summary the generalized advice we would give is as follows:-
If you would like some help with your next bid why not give us a call on 0203 239 2422 – you have nothing to lose but plenty to win!
See examples of our presentation design work here