How Do You Answer the ‘Comparability’ Question in Your Tendering Case Studies?
When competing for a tender, relevant case studies demonstrating your previous relevant experience are an essential part of any winning submission. In this blog post, Tony Corrigan, Founder and CEO of Orbidal, offers his expert opinion on how to compile a winning case study and stand out from the crowd in your next tender submission.
When compiling case studies for tender competitions, two questions commonly arise:
- ‘Please describe this project’; and
- ‘How does this example compare with our project’
Suppliers typically fare poorly on the second question as they’ve feel that they’ve said all that they can say in response to the first question. I have just reviewed a tender with 17 submissions and the majority of answers to the comparability question were a variant of “this project is very comparable” – which isn’t great!
The reason that this question is asked is so that you can show that the acquired experience is relevant and applicable to the tender in question. Buyers want reassurance that not only can you do the job, but that you’ve already done it for a buyer with the same characteristics as themselves (e.g. value, scale, expectations, service delivery arrangements, etc.)
There are three types of information to gather before we can answer this question effectively:
- The objectives / requirements / expectations set out in the tender
- The Award Criteria (which prioritises their requirements)
- The characteristics of the buyer and their business strategy (which enables us to determine the environment within which we are expected to deliver)
With this information to hand, we now want to compile 50-100 words (10-15 sentences) to illustrate the comparability of this case study to the project at hand.
What we need to cover is:
- Why we chose this case study to present to the buyer.
- How it is similar in terms of scale (resources), value and timescale.
- How it is similar in terms of the requirements.
In this case we use the award criteria to effectively nuance our response and we try to be as comprehensive as we can to cover not just service delivery, but expectations about response times, methodology, working with third-parties, communicating to stakeholders and managing issues. In each case, the goal is to demonstrate as much alignment as possible with their requirements.
- How it is similar in terms of expectations around outcomes.
In this case we’re looking not only to the project deliverables, but also to the buyers public persona and their strategic plan for the business – we need to frame similarity as outcomes that they would desire for themselves. This includes reputational enhancement, indirectly created value (e.g. reduced administration), value-add (e.g. internal capability building).
As you can see, there’s an awful lot of information that can be provided in respect of this question – it’s a real opportunity to demonstrate your deeper understanding of the environment within which your service is delivered and how your track record makes you an ideal partner for this buyer.
A Before and After Example.
“ACME is a comparative example for us in this framework submission due to the sheer scale and value of the operation across multiple sites. It was felt that due to the volume and size of these contracts it was a great comparison to the volume of staff and processing required for any prospective framework contract.”
- Ability to deliver consistently over an extended period (>1 year) is similar to the type of contract period expected under the framework.
- Between 3 and 10 people deployed daily on site demonstrates our ability to deploy teams of varying sizes and flex to meet increased (or reduced) demand.
- Monthly meetings to review performance and offer value adding initiatives, which aligns with the requirement for public sector organisations to achieve ongoing value for money.
Tony is Founder and CEO of Orbidal. He is a leading advocate of ‘smart’ strategies for businesses involved in competitive selling.