Telling the story of ITIL® for bids and tenders

Telling the story of ITIL® for bids and tenders

There are several reasons why you might need to tell the story of ITIL. Maybe you’re trying to get your current employer to adopt a process, pitching to get some additional training budget or explaining how your organization uses ITIL as part of a new business bid or tender. For this post, I’m going to focus on the latter.

Always be closing?

Adam McCulloughIn sales, there’s a saying from the drama Glengarry Glen Ross that’s often used: “always be closing.” To some extent, Alec Baldwin’s character was right; to be a good sales person you must live, eat, and breath your craft.

For me, a good sales person and ITIL advocate must also live by the mantra “always be learning”. If you are learning and growing, you will understand and be able to tell the ITIL story much better. However, you also need to understand your customer.

Every customer thinks their environment is unique and, largely, that’s true. But it’s always possible to translate your experience into something that applies to them. The key is understanding what that something is.

You must be able to explain what you’re selling in such a way that your customer not only understands but sees the value and benefit to them – and that’s the story.

Writing a compelling bid

If you’re already on a programme or in a business that is doing IT service management, you might think it’s easy to do this.

For instance, there are a few things that you pretty much always see and must answer in every proposal:

  • Have you ever done IT service management for me before?
  • Have you ever done IT service management or provided ITIL for someone like me?
  • What was the size of the effort? Was it similar in size and scope?
  • What will you bring me that no-one else can?
  • Can you bring me something effective and save me money?

But telling a story isn’t just about being compliant with these common questions or criteria and ticking a box: it’s about being compelling too.

Through my varied career, I’ve learnt that proposal writing is both a science and an art form and you can’t be so focused on the execution that you lose sight of innovating.

Writing a bid is about explaining how you’re doing something, not what you’re doing. Everyone can explain how they went to the refrigerator to get a sandwich but you need to say how you got it to stand out.

And in a bid, you also need to provide them with something no one else can or say they can.

What to focus on in your ITIL proposal

To stand out and tell a compelling story you must focus on:

  • Past performance – where have you used ITIL before and, most importantly, successfully?
  • Innovation – while it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, what can you do that’s new and different?
  • Combining industry and company best practices – what has worked elsewhere but will also work for them?
  • Education and training – how will you make sure your staff continue their development once you win the contract?
  • Cost efficiency and cost effectiveness – this does not mean cheap. How can you provide value?

Where to get help and inspiration

For ideas, help and inspiration in writing your bid, you don’t have to look any further than blog posts on the AXELOS website. You will find white papers and case studies with examples and evidence from a number of different organizations that you can use in your bid. While these businesses might have a different mission to the company you’re bidding for, they are great reference points.

I’d also encourage people to take ITIL training. Learning more about the different lifecycles and capabilities will always help you tell a better story because you understand more about its value.

Read more AXELOS blog posts from Adam McCullough

Applying ITIL® outside IT

Elephants, mentors and comfort zones: three things that have shaped my ITIL journey

7 tips for performing service transition effectively

Do businesses really need Business Relationship Managers?

Why should businesses do CSI?

A collaborative approach to cyber security

I’m ITIL® Foundation certified - now what?

The real ROI of ITIL training

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