How CRM can tackle the biggest tender management challenges

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Written by Tim Beresford - 13/09/2017

For companies in industries like construction and manufacturing, responding to tenders and bidding for work are day-to-day occurrences. For these organisations, keeping on top of what tenders need to be responded to and by when and maintaining a consistent picture of the expected business pipeline from these projects can present a major challenge. We explore how CRM can help tackle these challenges. 

Getting bids in on time

The first difficulties are often experienced in planning the tender response. A company can have the best solution, but if they aren’t able to respond before the tender deadline, the opportunity is missed. In many cases a tender response will need input from different people across different teams, and the management and combination of these inputs can be challenging, particularly with a short response timescale. 

A CRM system can provide a location to hold data on the tender, such as:

  • Tender receipt date.
  • Deadline date for response - this can drive the next actions.
  • Expected project start date.
  • Who in the team needs to take the next steps.

Bid management checklist

The next steps can be broken down into activities. These can be assigned to the relevant team members, with individually assigned due dates. Some actions might be created automatically through workflow. These sales rep 'To Do' lists ensure that the team knows what to do and when by. There is the added benefit that a manager can see any actions not yet complete.

Visibility of data in lists and reports can be supplemented through alerts to the sales reps in question. For example:

  • Reminding a sales rep of the upcoming deadlines with a '2 days to go' alert.
  • Notification to the team manager if actions haven't been taken ahead of the deadline.

Some companies may want to build contingency into their timeframes to ensure that the response is not being finalised ‘right up to the wire’.

As an example, Gold-Vision allows you to create automated activities when a new opportunity is created. These can be assigned to the opportunity owner or another team member. The due dates of the follow up actions can be based on the tender deadline date at the opportunity level. This removes the need for manual creation of the follow ups and ensures the tender response will get actioned. Our customer team helps configure these processes and automated workflows during the CRM implementation.

The above processes will help get the response in on time. In a worst-case scenario of a deadline being missed, having a clearly visible record of what actions were or weren’t completed can provide a feedback loop to allow the team to improve for next time.

Understanding who is involved in tender projects

A key part of the tender response process is that multiple customers (contractors for example) will require a quote for services and products. The best approach here is to maintain a single opportunity record for the project in question, but add in the links to all the involved parties. This would include the contacts and companies being quoted and anyone else that might be related to the project. In a tender project example, this might be end clients, architects or developers. Easy visibility of the associated parties on any project will result, and means that in the future, from a contact or contractor, the previous project opportunities they have been involved in can be seen.

Kemper customer success story

 

Reporting on tender projects

Avoiding pipeline multiplication

Another challenge when tendering for projects is reporting, especially where sales teams are expected to provide increasingly accurate and up to date forecasts. The situation where the same project could appear twice in the sales pipeline is a problem. In many cases, different customers won’t always identify the same project by the same name. One refers it by the project location, another by the future building name will be called, another might not give any details at all.

Holding additional information about the project, including the site location and the type of project (for example the industry or application) can assist in matching up two projects and minimising duplication. Building best practice processes into your sales team can assist, such as:

  • Ensuring the sales persons does a basic search for their ‘new’ project before added a new entry.
  • Obtaining as much detail from the potential customer about their project to aid searching.
  • Establishing a baseline of details that ‘must’ be provided by sales people on new entries.
  • Encouraging knowledge sharing within a sales team, so that there is greater awareness of the projects different people are working on.

A sales team wants to ensure that there is a record of the current and previous quotes on a project, but without duplicating the values in the pipeline. In traditional scenario, a sales team could end up with multiple entries in their pipeline for the same project, falsely inflating the sales pipeline. The best approach is to hold a single project record but with multiple quotes under that project. Each of those quotes is linked to the relevant contact or contractor. The different quotes may all be for the same value or might have different values from different quoted options.

This brings all the quotes for a project together, with final piece of the puzzle being to indicate which of these quotes needs to drive the overall project value. This can be dealt with by having an indication against each quote to show that it is ‘included’ in the project. Those quotes that are ‘included’ add up to give the total project value. This offers the sales person the ability to control which quotes they consider most likely to be won within a set of bids on a project, based on knowledge of the contractors involved and their expertise on the type of project.

This level of control also offers the ability to quote for multiple phases of a project within a single opportunity, potentially with those phases having different forecast dates depending on their expected delivery. Those phased quotes may wish to be closed independently.

 

Tender management flowchart
Tender quoting flowchart, showing only Quote 4 is included in the value of the opportunity, keeping forecasts accurate. 

 

How Gold-Vision can assist with multiple quotes

Sales teams want to minimise their effort in producing quotes for the same requirement for multiple contacts. This is where an option to copy an existing quote between opportunities provides a time saving shortcut. Rather than having to recreate the same quote for a second or third time from scratch for another contact, the copy action provides a quick way to set up the same set of products and prices for another potential client. These could will be for the same opportunity, but potentially could be used to add the same quote against a different project for a similar requirement.

The tender and bid process can be complex, both in terms of getting the response out on time and maintaining a clear pipeline value. Through clear sales processes, supplemented by CRM functionality, a sales team can ensure they win more projects, establish better customer relationships and maintain clear management reporting.

 

About the author

Tim has helped businesses implement Gold-Vision for 10+ years as a member of Gold-Vision's customer team. His vast product knowledge and unwavering focus on the customer ensures fast, thorough and helpful CRM configurations and new innovations. Tim's understanding of business processes and bid management is second to none. 

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