Tender Detectives: Get the Edge on Your Competitors with Online Research

Competition is brutal in construction and decent-sized projects don’t appear on the horizon every day.

So before your next tender goes in, give your bid management team that little extra through online research on your target company.

The more you know – the closer you get

Anything you can discover about your target company’s projects, preferences for construction partners, resources and favourite architects – even the games its CEO plays – can give you a critical edge.

Naturally, the first stopping point has to be the firm’s website. You may not learn its commercial secrets, but your bid management team will feel more confident with a proper ‘feel’ for the business.

Next should be CompaniesHouse, which has dramatically improved the range and content of its online services, and is surprisingly cheap.

If your target company’s finances look sound, you might want to suggest more flexible contract provisions, perhaps offering a discount for early payments.

Equally, if it looks on the cusp of collapse, your bid management team needs second thoughts about the tender.

It’s the fine detail which gives the edge

Looking atLinkedIn is vital. It’s remarkable just how much people give away on their profiles which wouldn’t be on their company sites.

What might you discover?

  • The business background of the MD and key board members.
  • Their hobbies, interests and favourite people.
  • Which contacts and friends you have in common.

Discovering you share an interest – a sport, hobby, or even a charity –- with the MD of a business with a tender in play, could make that vital difference when you meet. If you’ve never ‘linked-in’, do it today.

You’ll most likely already have a subscription to Construction News and Building, but don’t forget the major titles for property folk, agents and developers, which could have vital detail for the bid management team.

It’s surprising the things people say

It’s also worth trawling news sites and business titles where your target company is based.

Even very successful company owners often let their guard down talking to their local media, because it feels like a cosy conversation.Newsco’s Insider is the country’s biggest regional business media, with monthly issues based in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester, so if your bid target is based outside London, there’s a good chance they’ll be in there. 

Knowledge is power – but don’t abuse it

Hopefully, your research throws up useful nuggets of information but before you complete your tender, do remember to be subtle with its use.

Your bid management team might need only a couple of facts to swing the deal, and give you a winning tender.

Written by Dominic Imrie, Head of Development at industry software producer EQUE2