Innovation. The one word that strikes terror into the heart of many people responding to bids. What does the evaluator want to see? How do I know if what I’m proposing is innovative? What if it isn’t something that they want? These are questions I’m frequently asked.
There may never be a right or wrong answer to this question, but what is important is that you justify why what you are proposing is innovative, and what the benefit of that innovation is to the buyer. Don’t assume that everything you do already isn’t already innovative. Do you know whether your competitors do the same things that you do, in the same way? They may not, therefore your standard offer may already be innovative. But that is no reason to rest on your laurels, you should always be looking to the future, working out what will benefit your business, but more importantly, what will benefit your clients.
Examples of innovation I’ve seen recently include:
- new technology to reduce the turnaround time for a particular service, benefiting the customer by providing enhanced responsiveness
- use of tracking technology to reduce complaints
- regular briefings from the seller to the buyer, providing continuing professional development opportunities for the buyer’s staff
Look around your business, look at your competitors’ businesses and see whether you are ahead, or whether you have got work to do. If you’ve not done much product or service development, the chances are you need to refocus. Most importantly, ask your customers what they value and what they would like to see.
If you’re not sure how to incorporate innovation into your bid responses, get in touch.