Pitch Perfect

Getting contract pitches right in highly competitive cleaning markets will be crucial in 2024.

Robin Hastings, managing director of bid consulting service PitchThis, warns that bidding can consume significant resources, with each pitch potentially costing in the order of $10,000 for larger companies chasing major contracts. Given that many companies lodge about 10 bids per month, the annual cost of pitches could hit about $1.2 million.

“It really does add up,” Hastings says.

“So, everybody needs to work out the cost of an average bid and ask themselves, ‘Do we really think we’ve got a chance? Is it worth spending $10,000, or are we better off putting that $10,000 into something that we know we’ve got a great chance of winning?’ ”

Hastings advises companies to keep asking five key questions:

  • Should we even pitch for a contract?
  • What is the offer?
  • Will our bid score well and get shortlisted?
  • Have we used document layout to support key messages?
  • Do we know why we won or lost?

Hastings says two key elements make for a good bid – a deep knowledge of your prospect or client; and having a clear understanding of their pain points and operational needs. “These elements aren’t readily available on the internet, so you can’t just hand it over to ChatGPT.”

She says the pitch should not be about “pushy sales tactics”, but rather about solving problems for clients. She likes to build pitch templates from scratch and incorporate the prospective customer’s logo and colours into the bid document, along with creating an eye-catching bid layout that portrays the bid and brand in the best light for all stakeholders. The design should create a strong first impression and contribute to readability and key message retention.

Hastings advises targeting one or two major prospects with bids, or a particular sector of the cleaning and hygiene space, rather than trying to “boil the whole ocean”.

“You might say, ‘We’re going to work with hospitals or with government’. Just pick one to start with and be strategic about building up relationships with the right people. The more that you can demonstrate that you understand their issues and that your solution matches their issues, the less you compete on price.”

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