While there are significant benefits to participating in market engagement opportunities some events are more useful than others. In our latest blog we explore what those events and how they may benefit you.
A ‘how to’ session?
Sometimes engagement opportunities are simply ‘inform and instruct’ sessions held by the procurement teams to show how they intend to publish a tender, what it will contain and how suppliers will need to submit a bid. Unless you are very new to tender writing (you might need to go just the one) there is little value in attending or continuing with the session. It will become clear early on if this is the case.
Sidenote: having attended a number of these events in our time, a lot of them are due to the buyer having selected an overly complex procurement portal through which the tender will need to be submitted. As such, a lengthy training session on ‘how to use the portal’ ensues.
In contrast, if the event looks like it is focused on open dialogue and exchange of ideas, it might be a more positive sign that you’ll be listened to.
Different departments involved?
When an event (and there are a number of different ways that these can be undertaken, from one-to-one interviews to feedback questionnaires to industry days) includes a variety of staff from different parts of the buyer’s organisation (particularly department heads) it is a good sign there is more investment from the buyer in finding a solution to meet their needs. When ‘needs’ are discussed, this is an ideal opportunity to really involve your sector knowledge and your variety of subject matter expertise. These are often the best engagement sessions and really worth spending some time on, giving you multiple targets to engage with and develop understanding.
If you see a key potential client or existing client for your business is launching an engagement exercise then definitely attend. It shows you are serious (even though theoretically that should have no influence on the final outcome) but also will give an indication as to what they are looking to do in the future. You can also see if they mention any of the solutions or ideas you have been developing with them, which might be both a good and bad indicator of your level of influence!
It should be noted that procurement teams are obliged to make these market engagement opportunities as fair and unbiased as possible – i.e they must give the same information to all participants, and not allow themselves to favour one potential supplier over another as a result. It is also not a requirement for suppliers to engage in these opportunities and nor does it exclude any supplier from submitting a bid if they haven’t attended the pre-market engagement.
You also need to be aware that not all market engagement events ultimately result in a procurement exercise. The session may mean strategy is reassessed and authorities might decide to go in-house, or to do something else entirely. Even if they do decide to go to market, timescales can be significantly pushed back so don’t rely on proposed dates and keep a watching brief.
When in doubt sign up! You nearly always find out something useful. More information on current market engagement opportunities can be found at Open Tenders Search | Live Tender Search | Complete Tenders