Getting onto a pitch list is always thrilling, the RFI/tender stage, less so. This is the first foray into finding out a little more about the client but mainly them finding out about you.
And so, the pack is gathered and the horn is sounded. The Hunt begins. Usually this is a burst of activity where you and your team spend a couple of hours rooting through old pitch documents because you know that you answered that best practice question for that pitch in June 2012…or was April 2013?This is also when you discover, worryingly, that you have three different sets of answers for what your business proposition is.
Every tender varies in length and complexity but the most frustrating aspect about them is that each one seems to ask the same questions…but just in a slightly different way. This inevitably means that good old copy and paste won’t do and you have to re-write each answer slightly to fit the question.
And then of course, there are the questions for which you don’t already have the answers and need someone else in the business to help you craft something. That person will inevitably tell you that they definitely wrote something about managing conflict for the pitch in March 2011 (or was it January 2010?) and send you on your way to try to find it. The Hunt continues.
Once everything’s together, it’s time for a quick read through. Ah… guess what? Unsurprisingly the whole thing sounds like it’s been written by twenty different Year 4’s with, at best, a shaky grip of spelling and grammar. The Hunt is thus redeployed to assign someone, with at least GCSE level English, the herculean task of transforming a dot-to-dot sketch into a Hockney.
And that’s before you’ve thrown in the responses from the other twelve markets in the remit, none of whose first language is English.
There is a better way. A much better way. Shaped by our own first hand experiences of everything above and worse. Come along to our New Business Skills Day on 27th March, a remedy for anyone displaying mild to acute symptoms of tenderitis.
Amy Robinson – Feb 2014