To bid for substantial business contracts in a compelling, memorable and persuasive way you need to draw on the experience and results enjoyed by your previous delighted clients and customers.
Case Studies of how you have successfully delivered value to other organisations are vital components, not only in your marketing and messaging collateral, but also in your bid packs and presentations.
In order to be most impactful, Case Studies need to focus on your customer’s results and the value you have added to their operation and outcomes, whilst also defining the problem or challenge they were facing, what solution you implemented and how you implemented it.
These provide the proof or evidence of your past track record of delivery, as well as supporting your expert positioning and experience in your field of operation.
Case Studies are not just fluffy words of appreciation – although these do help! If you can elicit an appreciative quote from the key decision maker in your client organisation, ensure that it focuses on value and what is now possible for their business or venture having deployed your product or service.
(It can be helpful to have client testimonials in video format also to maximise ‘re-purpose-ability’ for marketing and internal communications.)
It is crucial to attribute the comments to the actual person in your client’s organisation who offered them, along with their role and title. Avoid anonymity at all costs in your Case Studies as it reduces credibility.
It would also be useful to indicate if your client’s spokesperson or representative would be willing to act as a referee or be contactable for further information. Providing clear points of reference emphasises openness, transparency and trust in your approach.
Of course it would not be practicable to generate client Case Studies within the timeframe of a bid. Bid production is already pressurised enough!
Rather it makes sense to build up a library of reliable Case Studies as a matter of course, so that these can be at your fingertips for upcoming bids and marketing opportunities.
This is likely to constitute a separate project or initiative outside the bid process but can be deemed an investment to ensure your evidence is readily accessible and available once opportunities arise.
You may allocate internal resource to producing your Case Studies, or you may consider outsourcing the activity to a specialist Case Study writer.
Firstly you can include Case Studies as entire examples, in the appendices, of what you have delivered and for whom. With a library of Case Studies under your belt, perhaps indexed to reflect which capabilities they prove, you will have ready access to the right supporting evidence.
This is particularly useful and powerful in response to the Preliminary Qualifying Questions (PQQs). This is the time when you need to bring your past experience to the fore and include as much proof as possible of your value, capabilities and know-how.
You can also include Case Study snapshots, in essence the quantifiable results of your deliverables for previous clients.
In an engineering or technology context these might be project or solution statistics, improved timescales, reduced costs, or increased capacities.
Where any deliverable qualified you or your client for any award, then of course the award-winning Case Study deserves a mention and will lend credibility in your suite of evidence. This is particularly good as a ‘name-drop’ piece of proof, and may go well with an attributed client testimonial.
Quotes from your most senior, reputable and well-known clients also work well throughout your PQQ response, providing they do not consume too much of the word count limit!
Throughout the bid process you can adapt well-crafted Case Studies to answer and illustrate the relevant questions, providing supporting evidence to highlight how you have solved a problem, delivered a solution and achieved a set of desirable results.
Once you reach the final pitch, and find yourself in a presentation scenario, visual images depicting your Case Studies will stay in your audience’s mind – and anchor your offering in reality – as they move into their decision-making process.
It is useful to tag your Case Study library with the capabilities you wish to showcase. This means that when you are searching for evidence in response to a particular question it is easier to find what you are looking for.
For example, if you’re a railway engineering organisation you may wish to use indices or tags appropriate to headway or signalling technology.
You will also find it beneficial to categorise Case Studies by the question types germane to PQQs and RFPs in your sector. E.G. Design Management, Project Delivery, Social Value, Industry Awards, Best Practice, or even just Uniqueness of Approach.
To illustrate, one of our BiD Masters construction clients had an excellent Case Study involving a helicopter delivering equipment into the Square Mile at the heart of the City of London. It was indeed a very memorable account of ingenuity in project logistics – with stunning photography!
What this boils down to is the proper documentation, curation and application of your best Case Study stories qualifying you as a serious bid contender, and putting your prospects completely at ease with your capabilities, experience and offering.