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How to Develop an Effective Win Strategy

Create value for customers and stakeholders is a complex mix of choices, but making the right ones makes finding and keeping that win-win “sweet spot” between business and customers simpler.

Integrating win themes throughout your proposal narrative ensures evaluators understand and accept your line of thinking as they explore your solution, which is where a high-quality proposal truly shines.

1. Understand Your Customer’s Needs

Customers’ needs drive purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. Understanding these needs is the cornerstone of developing an effective customer strategy and creating an engaging brand narrative.

Identification of customer needs can be achieved in numerous ways, including market research, customer surveys, analyzing sales data and observing in-person customer interactions. When conducting the bid development process, teams should focus on gathering and analyzing all this information so as to formulate an effective winning strategy.

Utilizing a win strategy as the framework for their proposal allows a business development team to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of their prospect, where they stand among competitors, and what solutions are offered. Evaluators will use this win strategy when reviewing proposals.

Understanding customer needs is paramount to distinguishing your business from competitors. A buyer persona provides a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research of current customer base; such as age, gender, location, income level and hobbies.

At the core of any successful win strategy lies answering a customer’s most urgent needs in an engaging, unique and convincing manner. Just look at , how they do it with their reviews about different poker platforms. This is what separates great bids from poor ones – bad ones don’t provide enough details to back their claims or present their message clearly, nor offer a compelling narrative or illustrate exactly how their solution addresses customer requirements.

Successful bids must address customer’s most essential needs and offer creative and convincing ways to address them, which is why it is vitally important to utilize a win strategy as the basis for writing proposals. A win strategy provides structure for answering questions on tender forms while creating a cohesive narrative in your proposal.

2. Identify Your Competitive Advantages

To ensure an effective win strategy, it’s essential that companies understand their competitive advantages. A competitive advantage distinguishes your product or service from that of its competition and offers real value to customers; it could come in the form of unique product features, enhanced customer experiences or reduced pricing points; whatever its form, it should be evaluated regularly to ensure it continues providing customers with real benefits.

Beginning the process of identifying your company’s competitive advantages begins by making a list of its core strengths and asking yourself three questions for each strength: who does it serve; what services does it provide; and can competitors copy/replicate this strategy.

Once this exercise is completed, identify your top two to five strengths. Assess whether they represent competitive advantages by answering the questions in the table below. In general, competitive advantages must provide (1) key resources that set you apart from your competitors; (2) valuable for customers within your target market or customer segment; and (3) difficult for competitors to replicate or imitate. Finally, it should provide sustainable value over time with real benefits to customers.

As part of your competitive analysis, it’s crucial to look at your competitors. Do they possess similar core resources as you? If that is the case, these might not constitute your competitive advantages; in such an instance, instead consider differentiating factors like customer quality or market share as indicators of strength.

Once you’ve identified your competitive advantages, it is critical that they be clearly communicated to evaluators and help create a winning bid. When creating your win strategy make sure to include every step you will take to position yourself above competition; this will create an image of excellence in their mind and make winning an RFP much simpler.

3. Create a Theme

Once you understand what your customers and competitors need, and who your competition are, you can create a win theme. A win theme provides an incentive for an evaluator to read your proposal, score it highly and defend it to their decision makers. A well-crafted win theme may serve as an independent statement but often serves as a guide when going through each section of a proposal highlighting key areas to focus on for success.

As such, it is crucial that your win themes are both clear and concise. A simple way to do this is to provide one sentence which captures both your competitive edge and how it will help the client solve their issue – you can then use this hook as a way of drawing in an evaluator while providing evidence in support of your claims.

Your evidence could come from any number of sources, but using data and facts is usually best. This could include customer results, aggregated statistics or survey numbers to add credibility and make your win theme more engaging to an evaluator who skims over quickly.

No matter the nature of evidence you present, make sure it aligns with the RFP requirements and your win theme. Simply listing unique product or solution features isn’t enough unless they directly address pain points identified by clients in their RFP; for instance, listing LEED certified buildings would only make an impressionful case if clients seek green solutions.

Win themes not only help lead an evaluator through your proposal, they can also set you apart from competitors by convincing them of why your proposal is the ideal solution for their project.

To develop a winning theme, it is necessary to collaborate with your team during the capture phase to understand what customers desire in a partner and any immediate problems they are seeking to solve. After this stage is completed, translating these themes into written form will need to happen as quickly as possible; one effective method of doing this would be attending one of OST’s Proposal Writing Workshops which trains participants on writing effective win strategies and win themes at solution-level level.

4. Communicate Your Value

An effective win strategy serves as the cornerstone of your capture effort. It guides and prioritizes actions taken to increase your Probability of Winning (Pwin). In order for business development teams to create effective win strategies, they must first gain an in-depth knowledge of customer needs while also communicating their unique competitive advantages convincingly to create irresistible deals for customers.

As creating an effective win strategy requires extensive research and time investment, we suggest our live win strategy development workshop as a training opportunity for your team prior to taking on this task independently. Participants at the workshop have access to subject matter experts in your target opportunity or customer, along with experienced business development staff from both your industry and company – providing invaluable guidance in creating winning themes at solution and proposal sections of proposals.

At your team meetings and one-to-one reviews, it is critical that they all grasp and communicate the value of your solutions, as well as understand and demonstrate what values your company stands for. Your core values should reflect in all decisions made in the workplace as well as interactions between employees and customers. As leader of your organization, make sure to set an example by living out these core values regularly during meetings and one-to-one reviews with team members.

Communication of Value When communicating your value effectively, it’s essential to remember that evaluators don’t read win strategies but rather proposals, where they look for consistent messaging throughout your document. By weaving win themes into the overall proposal narrative and making sure evaluators accept your line of thinking and accept your message as authentic, your proposal can stand out against its competition. An effective win strategy requires having an in-depth knowledge of your customers as well as an understanding of your unique value proposition – plus being able to translate this into a compelling narrative within written documents. To do this effectively requires having an in depth knowledge of customers as well as having an understanding of unique value proposition that is then translated into powerful narrative.