Our client, a multi-national telco, was challenged by its inability to be more than a minor supplier to an important target market – the global banking sector. It had a number of advantages such as the ability to provide one-stop shopping on behalf of the client when negotiating with many regional and local telcos around the world, an ability to integrate high quality traditional analogue circuits with digital data driven needs, and an excellent round-the-clock global service cover – yet these were not enough by themselves to break through existing the purchasing barriers and it seemed increasingly difficult to justify the high cost of bidding for these contracts when the opportunities arose. Our client needed insight into what could lead to a successful entry in this tough market.

Our analysis of the situation shed a new and very different light on the client’s best strategy. First, this is not business as usual – the client is thinking globally, so it’s no good expecting a team with a country or regional mindset to be motivated to do an outstanding global job if they, and their management and colleagues, are not motivated to work together – so getting the right global team in place, led by an energetic and well-connect ex-banker who could inspire confidence and ensure a good cultural fit with the prospect’s management team, was an essential first step. Second, there was a overwhelming need for a change in focus from product, functionality and price to one which would open the possibility of an exceptional understanding of the real drivers behind the invitation to tender. Third, once that understanding was achieved, it became essential to be able to create, present and deliver a unique service proposition that was clearly of enormous added value and also strongly differentiated from competitors’ offerings, that would hit as many of the drivers as we could manage (and then get our client’s internal process approval for this to be bid). Fourth, develop an unshakeable consensus among the key decision makers within the bank that what we were proposing was by far the best answer they had seen, could not easily be replicated by any of their existing suppliers, and would be a low risk, high-return win-win development (as well as being the best or near best in all the conventional categories on which the various tenders were being evaluated).

In this specific case, the key driver turned out to be trading floor availability and the imperative need was to be able to triage any and all incidents that threatened the bank’s lifelines from traders to exchanges, brokers and fund managers. The differentiator was a new, transparent and reliable service proposition which showed them what was the category of problem (after all some failures turned out to be caused by new and poorly implemented application software upgrades rushed through week-end testing to meet a deadline but inadequately tested for resilience and compatibility), which service organisation was responsible for fixing the problem, the current prognosis and state of escalation. When each minute of down time is costing the bank a million dollars, it’s helpful to have a reliable and consistent story about how the crisis is being managed if you want to have a job to come back to!

In summary, our approach to this complex, high-value opportunity started with gaining insight that had been lacking; this was used to create a performing team that could deliver a resilient solution to the end user that won the bid and justified many man months of selling at the highest level.