The hard work has been undertaken. You’ve successfully pulled the bid team together, you’ve drafted an outstanding response, selling your key benefits aligned to the buyer’s evaluation criteria and, the ultimate objective has been achieved – you’ve been awarded your place on the framework agreement. Pat yourself on the back and watch as the contracts come rolling in…
If only it were like that.
Winning a place on a Government framework is an achievement but it may not be the overnight success you may have promised your Directors. Mostly, framework agreements provide no mandatory commitment and there is no large marketing budget within the public sector to promote it. You may also have to go through yet another competition to win any business.
There are some companies who get this and others who don’t. The successful companies create strong framework call-off, mini-compete or direct award contract opportunities. This isn’t by chance – they have been undertaking research and building relationships for months, even ahead of the framework agreement being awarded; because they know the Framework Agreement provides them with an opportunity to sell their goods but nothing more than that.
So, how do they do this? They are active. They work with the Framework Manager to help market the agreement. They attend roadshows voluntarily and dedicate their time to becoming known as an expert in their market – a specialist consultant, if you like.
Contrast this with the disgruntled supplier who expects the business to come rolling in and is annoyed because others are winning business and they are not.
Successful framework suppliers make sure they are known to everyone. They do their homework, they prepare buyers’ guides, market the framework on their LinkedIn or Facebook pages and generally have an obvious integrated framework marketing strategy.
The good news is that you too can do this quite easily, and the even better news is that not many of your competitors will bother.
The key questions to ask in order to drive your strategy to framework success are:
- What is your target market? Is this based on geography, size of public body, value of potential call-off, existing relationship or a mixture of all of the above?
- How will you identify the decision maker or procurement lead? Does the Framework Authority have a list of key contacts you can use? Good old-fashioned prospecting works.
- How can you position yourselves as more than just a company that wants to win their business? ie. I mentioned ‘special consultant’ earlier, so be this and try and demonstrate value-added knowledge that can help the buyer.
- What is your marketing strategy going to be? ie. the use of social media, press releases announcing your success on to the framework agreement, buyer’s guides detailing how public bodies can best access your services. These are just some ideas, but the key here is not to be restrained.
To conclude, you are one of a small or large number of suppliers to win a place on a Framework Agreement. You can either sit back and bask in that success or proactively and very deliberately use it, as the leverage it is intended to be, to win some actual contracts………that you get paid to deliver. Good luck!