Win rate is one of the most important metrics that measure sales success, but sometimes it’s overshadowed by conversion rates, which have a direct impact on the bottom line.
It measures sales divided by the number of sales opportunities. It’s a bit like measuring the effort suppliers put into sales, whether it pays off or not.
We’re going to take a deeper look at win rate and how an early engagement strategy can improve your chances of winning procurement contracts.
Why Is Win Rate Important?
Win rate is particularly important in the public sector procurement process because it zeroes in on patterns that could be costing you lucrative tenders. It also pinpoints strengths, indicating what works and what can be transferred to other projects.
Deeper analysis enables B2G marketers to use patterns of data to predict their business’s future sales and unravel its financial capabilities. It effectively gives you a road map to maintain high win rate percentages.
A good win rate also instils confidence in stakeholders and other key people in the process and attracts the interest of public sector buyers.
Win Rate Can Be Simple Or Complicated
On the face of it, win rate is easy to calculate. It starts to get a bit more complicated when you have a few B2G marketing campaigns on the go simultaneously. You can simplify the process by choosing a narrow area of focus to generate current data that is easier to act upon.
How To Increase Win Rate
There are several steps you can take to reach your sales objectives and increase your win rate.
1) Strategic early engagement
Early engagement is one of the most important steps you can take to lock in B2G contracting authorities. It’s about establishing lines of communication with key decision-makers and proving your worth by sharing information via webinars, guest blog posts, and podcasts that have a direct bearing on their field.
If you nail your early market engagement strategy, you’ll leave procurement buyers with a good impression of your business. In the highly competitive public sector, a good and lasting impression can be invaluable.
We’ll take a deeper look at how early engagement can give you a competitive advantage below.
2) Automation systems
Automation systems can be game changers in public procurement. They automate several time-consuming tasks, freeing employees to focus on their core activities, including strategic engagement planning and implementation.
This can dramatically improve your planning process as you have more constructive input from employees who would be otherwise engaged.
Furthermore, automating tasks removes the risk of human error, increasing the accuracy of essential data. Data provides real-time insight, so you can make decisions and implement new ideas immediately to optimise opportunities and minimise risk.
3) Be proactive
Follow up on promising leads. Don’t bombard potential clients with phone calls and emails, but keep in touch just enough to remind them that you’re there to deliver all the products, services, and benefits they could possibly need.
Proactive supplier engagement shows your target audience that you’re so confident in your products or services that you’re willing to grab the bull by the horns, initiate communication, and provide informed knowledge that addresses their pain points.
Confidence (well-placed confidence) mitigates concerns and builds trust that you can help them achieve their goals.
4) Nurture relationships
Take care of the relationships you established during the early-stage engagement process. You put a lot of effort into creating an early engagement marketing plan, so don’t let your relationships with key decision-makers and stakeholders fade away.
You can nurture these relationships by maintaining regular communication – again, not to excess – and continuing to provide useful resources, like blog posts that are particularly relevant to their professional (and maybe personal) interests. A little personal attention goes a long way to building goodwill in the public sector.
5) Understand pain points
Just like early supplier engagement, understanding pain points is an incredibly important step in an engagement plan. To make it work, suppliers must develop a communication strategy that clearly demonstrates active listening.
This enables you to tailor bids more closely to public sector needs.
Maintaining supplier engagement demonstrates ongoing interest in pain points, as you continue to develop solutions and innovative services that have the potential to meet objectives and deliver the desired results.
As promised a deeper delve into early engagement.
An early engagement plan in procurement is a strategy for suppliers to introduce themselves to key players in public sector procurement before contract notices are published.
Early engagement is a (not-so) secret weapon
An early supplier engagement plan is a bit like a secret weapon that everyone knows about. It provides several benefits which, when used correctly, can improve suppliers’ chances of winning contract notices.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that your competitors also use early engagement strategies to attract the attention of public sector buyers. That just means that your early engagement plan must be particularly compelling to outshine fellow bidders.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of supplier engagement is that you get to understand contracting authorities’ pain points in more detail. You gain insight into their inner workings and you can leverage that information to write super-specific bids when you submit bits for contract notices.
It works both ways.
Ideally, you want to provide early benefits to public sector contractors. For instance, input into the services buyers require can give them insight into the nuts and bolts of the field.
They might learn that supplying Product A is not quite as simple as originally thought. For example, they might have to make allowances for certain challenges, such as extending the deadline to account for variable shipping dates.
The quid pro quo relationship can work in your favour in restricted bidding tenders or contract frameworks, where standing out from the crowd can give you a competitive edge.
Furthermore, collaborative information sharing has the potential for you to build a reputation as a thought leader in your industry.
About Thought Leadership
Being a thought leader is about being a few steps ahead of other businesses in your field. Thought leadership requires unique insight into the industry. It’s an ability to gather, study, interpret, and convey new data or new ways of thinking to the masses.
If you want to be a thought leader you need to be able to get below the surface of existing data and delve more deeply into the subject to revolutionise old ways of thinking.
However, while revolutionary thinking is the bee’s knees, insights must have practical applications that provide tangible benefits to the supply chain. This is especially important when you want to engage your target audience and share knowledge that can achieve objectives using a different, more effective process.
The trust and confidence built on the availability of new research and resources can indirectly boost your win rate.
Three ways thought leadership boosts win rates:
Putting yourself out as a thought leader ensures that virtually everyone in the field, including competitors and contracting authorities, is aware of you and your innovative ideas. Your reputation grows and so does your business’s ability to convert opportunities into wins. The result is a higher win rate.
The more evidence to support your ideas and innovation in the supply chain and procurement process, the greater your credibility. It’s great if you can produce compelling evidence, but it’s even better if others in the industry put your theory to the test and confirm the validity of your ideas and applications.
Unassailable credibility builds trust. And if anything is going to improve your win rate, it’s going to be trust in you, your brand, and your product.
But Wait, There’s More to Early Supplier Engagement
Social Value And Sustainability Can Also Boost Win Rates
The Procurement Bill due to come into effect in October 2024, places special emphasis on social value, especially initiatives that help the government reach its sustainability goals.
Contracting authorities will include their preferences for social value programmes in the contract, leaving it up to suppliers to create projects that address these challenges.
For example, if a department prioritises renewable energy, social value projects should incorporate renewable energy or sustainability in some way. An option is to set up a community vegetable garden with shade provided by solar panel arrays.
Well-thought-out projects that clearly state how outcomes will be achieved are likely to be favoured over projects that are slap-dash and that miss the point completely. An engagement plan that includes creative social value initiatives is a surefire way to increase your win rate.
Sustainability refers more to suppliers’ business processes than social value initiatives. It includes things like eco-friendly manufacturing processes and recycled packaging materials. It also includes things like reducing water consumption and using solar panels to run all office and admin power requirements.
If sustainability efforts reduce your carbon footprint or offset the unavoidable use of fossil fuels, you’re going in the right direction.
Contracting authorities will be impressed if you can demonstrate your commitment to incorporate sustainability into your business operations.
After trust, if anything is going to increase your win rate, it’s impressed public procurement buyers.
Increase Win Rates on Published Contract Notices
Early supplier engagement doesn’t guarantee that you will win contracts left, right, and centre. But, a successful early engagement strategy that results in good business relationships or sets you up as a thought leader will enhance your chances of winning published contracts.
Being memorable for the right reasons, coupled with good tendering skills can dramatically increase suppliers’ win rate. At the very least, you’re likely to get more requests for proposals (RFPs) and then it’s up to you to shine.
While you’re looking for and optimising early engagement opportunities, remember to focus energy on other aspects of your marketing strategy and supplier communications. Marketing success doesn’t depend on one factor only, you need a well-rounded approach to make your name in the public procurement sector.
You can further increase your chances of success by working with a marketing agency that specialises in B2G contracts. Cadence Marketing provides a range of services to help you break into the public sector. Contact us and book a free consultation to discuss how our marketing experts can leverage early supplier engagement and communication to help your business stand out from your competitors.