We know from personal, and sometimes painful, experience that the world of Business Development can be exciting, hard work, generates great camaraderie, is immensely stressful but ultimately can deliver big rewards. It can also really knock your social and family life sideways, particularly when a commissioner has a quirky fondness for submission dates somewhere between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
Underplaying the Implementation
Quite rightly, investment in Business Development is viewed as a crucial activity and acceptable risk – you win some, you lose some. And hopefully your offer is sufficiently compelling that you’ll win more than you lose.
However, in the decision to proceed with the bid, very often the implementation requirements for any newly won business or a new programme often turn out to be understated or largely overlooked, with organisations tending to prefer to hold off on investment in this area until contracts are awarded. Implementation is often seen a bit of an afterthought, with an outlook along the lines of – ‘…we’ll deal with that if we win – throw in a bit of spend for IT and project support and a little contingency (mainly for IT)’.
Get some insight
Without the benefit of implementation expertise inputting into the bid response, there is a risk that ‘winning content’ will find its way into the bid, and which in reality is very difficult to operationalise. These commitments will then need to be met despite a limited budget and/or a weary operational team, who have been drafted in to work on the implementation alongside their regular day jobs. The outcome will inevitably be a negative impact on performance for both existing contracts and on the newly awarded work… and a lot of tired people.
What we are also seeing right now is that the timescales between contract award and go-live, particularly in the employment support sector, are being contracted significantly in order to rapidly get much-needed help in place. This makes the preparation all the more important.
Plan for success
In partnering with 50 Degrees, 4OC implementation specialists work alongside skilled solution developers and bid writers to craft a winning and realisable bid for our clients. We have been encouraged recently by many organisations putting a lot more focus on reviewing their bidding processes and on their implementation plans pre-award. Much of this is being driven by commissioners seeking greater assurance on these plans, but in the past the quality of thought in this area has been lacking.
Involving an implementation lead, internal or external, at the bid stage gives organisations confidence, as they understand and quickly demonstrate how to mitigate the risks throughout implementation.
4OC’s approach involves building strong and essential relationships with operational staff and across all other functions in the organisation, as well as accessing specific expertise in sectors or workstream areas. This is critical to maintain a positive team environment in what is always a testing process.
The outcome of proper investment in planning implementation activity is the protection of the organisation’s reputation and cashflow – particularly with mobilisation contracts that are payment by results – as well as high-quality plans that contribute to winning bids.
We know this works – our teams have helped to win and mobilise in excess of £5bn of Government funded contracts. If you are interested in finding out more about how 4OC and 50 Degrees can help you maximise your chances of winning and mobilising future contracts, please contact me here -> firstname.lastname@example.org.