How to determine the winning strategy in a tender? Think like Hannibal!

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How to determine the winning strategy in a tender? Think like Hannibal

About Tender Management

As a tender advisor, your role involves assisting clients in winning tenders, which are competitive bids for projects such as a sea lock, highway, or tunnel under the Amsterdam IJ. Projects of this scale require meticulous preparation and execution to satisfy not only entities like Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch government agency) but also the surrounding community and political stakeholders. The contractor that formulates the best plan, comprehends the project’s risks, and devises effective risk management measures wins the tender!

Flux’er Roeland Boonekamp is excited to take you through the captivating tender process of exploration, refinement, and execution!

Winning Tenders

We all want to win, but how do you do it? To win a tender, it’s crucial to focus on three pillars: the client, the competition, and your organization. Additionally, possessing certain characteristics is advantageous.

  1. The Client
    Delve into the client’s interests in their request and analyze it. While this may sound logical, it is often insufficiently done in practice. The winning solution always stems from the strategy, so the deeper the analysis, the more specific the strategy, and the greater the chance of winning.
  2. Yourself
    Assess your strengths and whether you’ve undertaken a similar project before. Ensure you deploy the right people with specific knowledge. It’s also essential that your colleagues enjoy working on this particular tender, as we all know tenders can be draining.
  3. The Competition
    Ask yourself: On what aspects can the competition make a difference? For example, a unique type of equipment that aligns well with the client’s interests. Analyze these aspects and address them. Surprise the competition with an approach they don’t see coming.

After analyzing these three pillars, ask yourself: If we win the tender, what set us apart? This aids in creative thinking.

But what does all of this have to do with Hannibal?

Around 2000 years ago, perhaps the greatest adventure in history occurred: the battle between Carthage and ancient Rome. General Hannibal, starting from Gibraltar, led thousands of soldiers, horses, and even elephants over the Alps to attack Rome from behind on its own territory.

During this battle, Hannibal feigned that his men were no match for the Roman legions, but in reality, this was a preconceived plan. Hannibal’s army surrounded the Romans, and at the moment they realized it, Hannibal’s army attacked the Romans from the rear, completely encircling them.

Hannibal had analyzed the competition (the Romans), the capabilities of his own army, and their goal in advance. Based on this analysis, he devised a strategy that provided an approach the competition did not anticipate. This element of surprise resulted in the winning solution.

If Hannibal were to ask himself later how he had made the distinction with his army, he would say:

  1. We surprised the enemy by attacking them on their own territory.
  2. During the battle, we pretended to be losing, but in reality, we surrounded the opponent.
  3. We had studied the strategy of the opponent: the Romans could only fight in one direction, forward. We forced them to fight 360 degrees, something they were not trained for.

So, if you want to win a tender, think like Hannibal. Invest time in the analysis of the three key pillars, formulate a strategy based on this, and come up with a surprise!

Key Personality Traits

To be successful in tendering, it’s not only important to consider the three pillars mentioned above, but it also helps if you possess the following traits:

  1. Analytically Sharp: You must be able to get to the heart of the matter.
  2. Perseverance: Tendering is a competitive sport and demands a lot of perseverance.
  3. Strong Sense of Responsibility: A lot is at stake for the client, and consequently, for you as the contractor!
  4. Curiosity: You must want to know how everything works and be eager to figure it out.
  5. Organizational Skills: You are not only the conductor of yourself and your team but also of the client.

Tendering at Flux

At Flux Partners, we assist our clients in crafting winning proposals. We structure the tender process, understand the client’s needs, organize sessions, and write the plans. In an iterative process with technical, legal, and financial specialists, the proposal takes shape, and we assess its ambition level. Is the plan ambitious enough? At Flux, we always work in teams, and you are never alone. Together, we aim for a winning result!

One of the projects we are most proud of is the Afsluitdijk. Read more about it here.

Curious about what it’s like to tender at Flux Partners? Contact our advisor Rob Tönissen: He would be happy to tell you more.