Tender management increasingly requires more and more time and expertise. Projects are becoming more complex and the costs and risks of tendering increase. Partnerships between companies are also more likely, bringing additional challenges to the tender process.

As a Tender Manager, on the one hand you do not want to miss any opportunities, but on the other hand you do want to respond effectively, so that you use your valuable time and resources for the most promising opportunities.

Social selling is a strategy that can help to meet these challenges. Stephen Manley, Business Development Manager at HSO, explains more in this blog.

What do we mean by social selling?

Using channels such as LinkedIn, social selling allows you to pro-actively make contact with potential clients, partners and stakeholders, building online relationships with them. You will discover what’s going on in your network and be able to add value and focus on the right people at the right time, sharing knowledge and information with them.

Social selling helps you to better map and expand your network, to link up in tenders and projects as early as possible and to collect data from relevant stakeholders.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) makes it easy

Social media provides a wealth of valuable data, with LinkedIn being the most widely used business networking platform. If you already use Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) in your tender management processes to structure and manage the offering process, it is actually very easy to introduce social selling. LinkedIn, including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, is fully integrated into your CRM system. LinkedIn Sales Navigator, as an extension to LinkedIn, has been developed as a prospecting tool to allow Sales to build and nurture relationships using the LinkedIn platform, thus taking the sales process to another level.

Who knows who: insight into your network

To get to the table as early as possible in a potentially interesting project, it is crucial that you know what is going on in your network. Thanks to the LinkedIn integration you can see all current information about your contacts in the context of your sales information. For example, what information and news is being shared and/or searched for.

You also get deeper insight into their relationships and networks. With the ‘who knows who’ or connections function, you can immediately see what joint relationships you have. If you do not yet have certain connections that are relevant for a tender, you can see which colleagues or other contacts do have a relationship so that you can make contact via an introduction.

Another plus point of LinkedIn for Tender Managers, is that it is generally a reliable database, as most people keep their profile up-to-date. The data in your CRM system may not always be as up to date! Thanks to the LinkedIn integration with CRM you can immediately see which contacts need updating and make those updates with a simple click.

More effective tendering

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM) allows you to analyse your tenders, providing deep insights about which companies you provide quotations for and identifying which companies you are doing the most business with.  This allows you to make well-informed, data-based choices on which tenders you register for in the future and on which you do not. After all, every tender response involves a considerable investment of time, money and resource.

Generate and save leads via LinkedIn

More and more companies are running paid campaigns on LinkedIn, for example to promote knowledge documents such as white papers. By approaching your target group with relevant content, you ensure that you are positively on their radar. You can then save the ‘leads’ that you generate directly into CRM.

So how do I get started with social selling?

Practically everyone already knows and uses LinkedIn, so you can a start using the network function right away. You can then expand the possibilities step by step, such as the suggestions for discussion topics and the analyses of your chances of winning tenders. Remember that for a successful social selling strategy you need a longer term approach. It may take a while before you see concrete results. Moreover, this activity should be considered complementary to building your personal relationships. For successful tendering you must of course continue to invest in.