As an SME owner, do you avoid applying for government tenders? Do you think that public procurement is the reserve of Fortune 500 companies, and, in any case, deciphering what a RFP means takes times that you just don’t have?
Having participated in the qualification of thousands of RFPs, it’s clear that the norm is for SMEs to run headlong into seemingly attractive opportunities without considering whether it’s really for them - that’s not a recipe for sustained results. Winning contracts is a process that starts with baselining your capability and capacity to compete for opportunities. Once you recognise what your strengths are and you’ve a plan to rectify your weaknesses you’re ready to start finding, qualifying and competing for opportunities
Those are just some of the sentiments that I hear from bid managers and sales executive, when I ask them why they’re avoiding government contracts. To a large extent they’re right to. The average win rate for an SME is an appalling 26% according to PwC’s most recent report into European procurement Activity (Report).
Many small and medium businesses have the potential to compete and win government contract, but there are challenges to overcome. The first is figuring out just why all of these opportunities are hiding.
I’ve arrived at Dreamforce 15 in San Francisco for a week of innovation, fun, giving back and learning about the latest trends in sales and marketing automation. As I walk around, I’m struck by the number of firms with really cool technologies that turn customer engagement into real sales. One thing that’s noticeably absent (although it’s a big conference, I may not have found it yet) are solutions that specifically address competitive selling – where the buyer isn’t looking to engage with you and, worse, is forcing you to sell through a process with a proposal at the end!
Last night's Prime Time (RTÉ One) investigation into corruption in hospital procurement is another blow to public perception of the procurement process and has the potential to undo much of the good work that has recently been done by the government to restore confidence in the system.
The value of the Irish public sector procurement market in 2013 was €12 Billion. It is the single biggest market opportunity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).