A good bid/no bid system leads you to your win strategies. An ineffective bid/no bid system leads to bidding without a competitive advantage. If you are:
- Struggling to identify your win strategies
- Having trouble identifying themes to emphasize in your proposal
- Unable to discriminate yourself from the competition
- Hopeful instead of confident
The real problem may be what you are bidding instead of how you are bidding it. You should examine your bid/no bid system instead of just treating the symptoms.
When you select your opportunities based on your strengths and correspondence with your company's strategic goals, then your win strategies and competitive positioning flow naturally.
When you bid opportunities simply because you discover that the client is accepting proposals from anyone, it is far less clear how to position your company to win. It is even more difficult when the RFP tells you what to propose, and because the award is price sensitive you are afraid to go beyond the minimum needed to fulfill the requirements. You are left with no clear way to discriminate yourself from the competition and no competitive advantage.
This is not necessarily a failure in your ability to devise win strategies, position yourself against the competition, or write theme statements. The way to correct it may be to reexamine your bid/no bid system. If your only consideration is whether you can do the work required, then your bid/no bid system is broken. Among other things, you need to give weight to how well an opportunity reflects your corporate strategies, core capabilities, strengths, and whether you have any competitive advantages before you commit to bidding it.
This is how a good bid/no bid system results in a higher win rate. It's not simply that being more selective means you only bid opportunities that you have a good shot at winning. It's that the selection process points you to the win strategies that will enable you to write winning proposals.
Consistently winning proposals isn't about somehow finding a clever way to present yourself so that you stand out, when in reality there is nothing special about you. Consistently winning proposals comes from having a story to tell that the customer wants to be a part of. That story will position you against your competition and include your win strategies. By only bidding opportunities that relate to your corporate strategies and where you have a competitive advantage, you start the proposal already knowing what story you need to tell. The rest is just follow-through.
Some of the approaches for enhancing your bid/no bid system include gate reviews and point scoring. The above gives you another option: Do you have a story to tell and is it compelling? If you can't articulate a good story, you can’t write a winning proposal and therefore you shouldn’t bid. You shouldn’t bid if all you can do is hope that someone figures out a clever way to make you sound like you’re not ordinary or maybe you'll get lucky and win on price. Sure you could get lucky and win, but wouldn’t you be better off putting your effort into winning opportunities where you can articulate a competitive advantage?