The National Health Service (NHS) in England is one of the biggest and most significant healthcare systems in the entire world. When it comes to winning NHS contracts in England, you have to have your best marketing approach forward.
A single contract with this huge system can mean hundreds of thousands of pounds in potential revenue, so you need to ensure that you’re presenting your organization as effectively as possible. Take a look at our 10 tips below on how to win NHS contracts with England.
1. Do Your Homework
As much as you’d like to, you can’t just pick up a phone and cold-call the NHS centre in your local area. If you want to win contracts, have a few key pieces of information ready before you speak to anyone.
How many beds does your average ward hold? Where is your nearest surgery located? Do they have any specific requirements that might make it easier for them to choose your company over another?
2. Understand the System
Winning NHS contracts can be a complex process, with lots of rules to follow. So, you’ll need to have a good understanding of how public procurement works in order to ensure your bid is successful.
If you’re thinking about bidding for an NHS contract but don’t know where to start, you can take help on winning an NHS tender with Tracker Intelligence on your side. Tracker Intelligence publishes regular opportunities to give public and private sector organisations oversight of all NHS tenders.
3. Learn How to Apply
Before you can apply for a tender, you have to be familiar with how tenders are run in your area. There’s no one way to run a tender. Local authorities and public bodies have different ways of working, so it is important that you thoroughly research how to apply.
You can read more about applying for public sector NHS contracts at Tracker Intelligence and other credible resources. If you want to bid on other types of tenders, like those offered by private companies, we suggest reading expert guides on how to win private sector bids.
It’s also worth noting that some services may be outsourced completely from the start. In this case, don’t waste time trying to find out who runs them.
4. Demonstrate Your Expertise
When writing bids, NHS suppliers need to show that they have a thorough understanding of what local commissions want, as well as being able to offer cost-effective solutions.
Suppose a supplier is inexperienced in delivering specific services or dealing with certain customers. In that case, it’s vital that their bid demonstrates how they can deliver what NHS England is looking for.
Offering proof of your ability to understand and meet these needs is an essential part of getting noticed by potential contract providers and winning more contracts.
5. Don’t Let Competition Panic You
The NHS is usually a huge organisation, with several departments covering a wide range of services. This can mean that there are quite often more bidders than opportunities on offer.
However, you don’t have to worry at all. It’s unlikely that you’ll be competing against another bidder who knows as much about your subject area as you do. So, go with all your cards on the table and try to present yourself in the best way possible.
6. Tell Your Story Well
Whether it’s over a cup of tea or a couple of emails regarding contract winning, building personal connections with people is an invaluable part of any business.
The key to getting your foot in the deal and securing a contract is telling your story well. Listen carefully to what the agency says they need and tell them why you’re qualified for these tenders. Telling your story is the most crucial part of presenting yourself in the contract in finding NHS contracts.
7. Manage Your Time Well
When bidding on a contract, read through all of its terms carefully. Are you sure you understand everything? If not, ask your customer service team at NHS business direct to help clarify anything you don’t understand.
Make a note of any deadlines that are important, including when and how long you can bid on each tender before it closes. It’s also worth checking out what other companies have already submitted their bids, as well as whether there is a limit to how many times you can submit an offer.
Remember, if you miss a deadline by just one day, then you could lose out on thousands of pounds worth of business.
8. Prepare Every Detail
Knowing your business inside and out is very crucial for winning contracts with NHS. Spend some time learning everything there is to know about your business, from its history to its financial situation and daily operations.
This will give you a strong foundation to build upon as you begin pursuing government contracts, especially from NHS. If you are unprepared when bidding on a government contract, you will likely lose it to an informed competitor who knows how much his or her company can reasonably handle.
9. Know Exactly What you are Looking for
Whether you’re looking to have a short-term vacancy or find a contract to work for on an ongoing basis, make sure that you know exactly what skills and experience you need to win a particular contract.
Being open and clear with your requirements from day one will help save time and money in later stages. Moreover, the NHS will only offer contracts to the ones who know what they are doing. If you know your industry well enough and have an excellent track record, chances are that you will get the contract easily.
10. Be Confident and Use Referrals
Be confident about your bid, and don’t forget to use referrals where possible. Most of the NHS tenders open and close at once because they have already found a referral from a credible resource. The best way to establish your credibility is to offer low-cost services.
Also, make sure your offer is as low-cost and high-value as possible so that you win on value, not price. There is no point bidding on a service if you can’t deliver it at a very low cost because then you’ll just lose credibility with NHS and won’t be seen as a serious contender in the future.