Any B2B manufacturer or publisher involved with public sector bidding and RFPs knows the model for finding these opportunities has dramatically changed over the last 5 years. The traditional methods of 'formal' postings in local papers or state publications has vanished. So too, has been the time honored tradition of keeping a 'bid list' to mail out formal documents.
Blame the economy and the web. All states now recognize a 'web posting' as a legitimate public posting that meets the fiduciary responsibilities of the city/town or state. While this makes it simpler to get the bid out, it creates a mess for those trying to find and respond.
Federal bids have a standardized format and set process for posting, however, when you move down to the state and local level the wheels fall off.
Yeoman tracks over 50 different bid and RFP sites and all of them have slightly different formats for posting and actively block deep Google crawling of their web. For these sites, you can't just 'Google it' and find opportunities. They have the opps and what you to pay (or visit them to access). Larger players like Onvia and BidNet offer strong filter and alerting reports that can get you segmented lists on a regular basis.
One note - these 50+ players only make up a fraction of the opportunities because approximately 30-50 % of organizations that post simply do it on their site. Simple options like google alerts can help, but a bigger challenge is what to do with all these data points?
However, the bigger issue isn't getting the data but having the proper organizational structure to review and act.
Many organizations have taken their traditional sales organization out of the process of reviewing and evaluating digitally discovered opportunities. Part of it can be blamed on volume (you will find more) but a bigger part (in our opinion) is a bias against sales. Since they didn't 'find it' it can be handled by admin.
Big mistake. We studied the response behavior of two groups. One bid and rfps response was directly managed by sales with a direct financial incentive. The other was managed by an admin bid team that was directed by sales, but had no sales incentive or plan in place. Both groups had to filter through thousands of bids to determine if they could respond. However, what they responded to and the results obtained were vastly different:
- Both groups had to filter through a significant volume of opportunities to find matched potential (between 75-84% of opps were rejected)
- Sales Centric teams found 56% more bids that were deemed 'a fit'
- Admin teams were 2.4 times more likely to pass on a qualified opp (due to time limits, requirements, etc)
NOTE: Based upon Yeoman review of 15,000 researched opportunities for Yeoman clients from Jan 2014 - Jan 2015.
Bottom Line: Bid and RFP research is NOT an admin function. It is a sales function that requires a sales team that is more digitally literate and has the ability to review, assess, and respond to opportunities.
Yeoman provides cradle to grave bid services and support including primary research, training, and evaluation. Feel free to review our services or give us a call