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The most successful government suppliers have something in common

Written by 
 at Stotles

Across the world, governments publish their business opportunities - also known as "tenders" - to the public. Tenders exist for most everything a government needs to deliver public services - even peculiar needs like this £456k opportunity to build a BMX bike racing track or this purchase of £5m worth of beer.

So you may be thinking, "governments are becoming more transparent. That's great!"

Not so fast. Just because all those tenders are public, doesn't mean they're necessarily accessible. For all you seasoned public sector sales & marketing folks out there, this is likely no surprise.

The data behind a not-so-public sector

In a recent study, Stotles researched anonymised sales data of its customer-base (companies who supply governments). We analysed historical sales leads from inception to outcome - win or loss.


In the funnel above, the study revealed that opportunities pursued by bidding on a "cold" published tender resulted in a win only 4% of the time (the blue arrow). In this context, "cold" means you've only become aware of the tender for the first time at its formal publication. Why might that be? Typically, another supplier has been in the conversation. We call this "shaping" the tender.

Therefore, it's no surprise that opportunities pursued, shaped, or influenced before publication of a formal tender resulted in wins 46% of the time (the yellow arrow).

These findings echo complaints heard 'round the world from businesses across all sectors:

  • "If I'm seeing a tender for the first time on a public portal, I'm too late."
  • "Tenders are a necessary evil."
  • 'If I haven't shaped the tender, I won't touch the tender."

Reveals a frustrating, but useful lesson

Most suppliers are dealing with a frustrating reality.

Some see tenders as real opportunities. But more often than not, solely relying on tenders will land you in a world of reactive sales strategies and stagnated growth.

Others suppliers monitor tenders to keep a pulse on what's hitting the market. This takes time and effort, and is unlikely to yield material positive outcomes.

Conveniently, this study provides blueprint for success.

The most successful government suppliers have something in common...

They are proactive; meaning, they do less reactive tender chasing, and more proactive opportunity shaping.

How do they do it? They use data to find early market signals which focus their sales efforts on earlier engagement.

Stotles has created tools for teams to get proactive using simple, relevant views of the entire public sector in one place.

To eliminate the resource used on monitoring tenders, the most successful suppliers on Stotles put this tender monitoring function on auto-pilot, with our smart feed that serves up hyper-relevant results.

With all their new free time, these suppliers begin tracking earlier buying signals across the market, such as:

  • Anticipating competitor contract expirations - a software provider starts building a relationship with a local council 9 months before their competitor's contract with that council is due to expire
  • Mapping their partner network to find warm intros - a consultancy sees its partners are rooted in many NHS trusts and uses this partner's help to create new relationships and opportunities
  • Understanding tech stacks - a systems integrator looks for technology signals in central government departments and proactively engages with those who match their tech stack expertise
  • Finding early buying signals - a facilities management company engages with a housing authority during it's new-build construction because in 1 year the authority will need facilities management

The most successful suppliers focus their time on the right buyers, using the right message, at the right time. While no amount of data will ever replace the relationship aspect of working with the public sector, the suppliers who use data to proactively build the strongest relationships are those who are getting ahead of the massive £9 trillion global public sector market.

So what kind of supplier are you?

Want to be a proactive supplier? Click here for private access to Stotles.  

For the love of government,