Questions DOS suppliers should ask themselves before bidding
Bidding on opportunities through DOS can be resource-heavy - ask yourself these questions so you know it's worth your while.
Do you know the organisation who has posted the opportunity?
If you are to sell your services to an organisation, you surely want to understand who they are, the projects they have worked on in the past, and their future aims, right? Your services and brand will be associated with the organisation should you be successful in winning the bid. Therefore, we recommend you conduct organisational research once you have shortlisted your top opportunities. The main pieces of information you want to find are what they do, their future aims, and how they intend to use your service or software offering.
It is also crucial you recognise who an organisation is for marketing purposes. You can then tailor your responses for each opportunity to the host organisation. If you don’t do so, you run the risk of bidding ‘blindly’ and not winning bids at all.
Are the buyers aware of who you are?
Is it likely the organisation is already familiar with you and your services? For the most part, the answer may well be no. This is where you use the tools available to your advantage – both within your application and beyond.
Your bids should outline who you are as a supplier and the services you have to offer, with examples. These are an explanation of your organisation’s experience with the software or service you are offering.
Beyond this, a bidder can ensure optimum awareness of their brand by networking with public sector organisations that may be buyers on the framework. By doing so before the opening of DOS and consistently, these organisations are more likely to recognise you when they come across your bids. Of course, buyers cannot award only to people they know; the framework would not present a level playing field. Yet, you will be in a better position if already known.
We always like to put this simply to our clients by saying, “Getting listed is just the start.” DOS isn’t a direct sales opportunity; therefore, you still should market your brand and build its presence in the public sector before the framework is open for bids. When doing this, you may decide to network via your usual marketing practices with a new campaign, or you may follow and connect on social media.
Are you able to meet the technical requirements?
On the DOS framework and many others, there are specific requirements you must meet. These cover a multitude of areas from the technology code of practice, the phases of agile delivery, to the capabilities of the services you provide.
Each buyer opportunity you come across will likely have additional requirements. Before bidding, you must understand these and recognise how you can meet them as a supplier. The ‘nice-to-haves’ are indicative of who the buyer is looking for in particular, so should not be deemed insignificant. If glazed over, you risk losing a bid that you have spent considerable time on.
If you cannot meet many of the nice-to-haves, it might be worth reconsidering whether you’re the right fit for the opportunity. Although a buyer cannot disqualify your bid for not meeting the ‘nice-to-haves’, there will inevitably be other suppliers who have met many more of them and so would be better suited.
Once you have determined you can meet the requirements asked of you as a supplier, you will need to provide evidence in the form of mini 100-word essays. You will need to write one per each requirement, including any nice-to-haves that you can meet.
Do you have the resources to deliver?
Buyers will usually state the timescale within which they’re looking for a service to be available to them. You will need to weigh up whether you have the resources to achieve this, respective of how much the buyer is offering. Are you able to deliver the outcomes of the opportunity for that contract price when you win?
Furthermore, if you were to go ahead with the bid when the resources are not to-hand, stage 2 could see your bid fall apart. At this stage, you often have to present a proposal of work. Without availability of resources, this cannot be completed!
Who is your competition?
Last but definitely not least – if you can do some digging around to find out all the details on your competition, do it! On our Advice Cloud website, we have a DOS Spend Data resource, where you can see which organisations are buying what and from who. The data even extends as far as the amounts spent on each supplier!
Knowing who buyers have worked with in the past is crucial – there may be some element of loyalty for suppliers they work with consistently. If so, you can assume they will be bidding, too. Keep your wits about you, but know that if this is the case, the bid isn’t necessarily going to go to them again! A good bid might is ESSENTIAL – although it always is! Know your USP (unique selling point) and use that to show buyers why your bid deserves to win!
These are the main points to ensure you win business -there may be more you’re planning to do as a supplier before bidding on the DOS framework. Look out for plenty more from us on DOS5, such as our upcoming webinar! Click the image below to sign up.