There is a one-time opportunity to learn valuable lessons directly after submitting your tender or proposal by asking your client for feedback. The client should feel like they owe you some considerable insight into what you should do differently next time with the efforts you’ve put into their procurement.
With public sector clients you may automatically receive feedback and scoring. This can usually be high level as the client doesn’t want to risk adverse issues with their procurement or attract any challenges, but don’t be scared to ask for more information. For instance, ask for scoring per response relative to the highest scorer if you haven’t received that and ask for feedback on what differentiated their response from yours. If appropriate, request a face to face feedback session either formally, or informally if you have the relationship. These are very useful as you can read the clients body language as they work through the feedback and tell you what they may not have put into writing.
Think carefully about who should attend the feedback session. Its possible some feedback may be personal and relate to you or people in your team – their performance on the bid and also their interviews and presentations. Take into consideration who’ll be on the other side of the table – what level of seniority is going to be represented and look to mirror that. Try not to have people who are too senior on your side of the table compared to the client side. You’re very much looking to piece together a constructive evidence base of what you should do next time to win a similar deal. This can range from feedback on your people and approach, your solution, the responses you provided and the look and feel of your documentation.
In a few markets and regions, we’ve seen an increase in organisations challenging procurement decisions. It is true there has been an erosion in quality of documents and procurement processes in the last decade as we’ve seen austerity and efficiencies bite, particularly in the public sector. There does appear to be a slight increase in probability that mistakes have been made and poor decisions taken. It is fairly easy to pick apart client’s processes with the help of a smart lawyer, but we urge you think carefully about how you tackle these instances. You’ve invested a lot of time in their procurement and a lot of effort both financially and emotionally, but its very easy to destroy a long-term relationship and streams of opportunity through knee jerk reactions in the heat of the moment. Really do your homework on where you stand and if there is a genuine issue, approach it carefully and sensitively with the client, considering how you might all win.