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Case Study - Positioning to Win

Bespoke Business Development Programme


Our Client’s Need

Positioning to Win was a business development (BD) programme, designed with the internal staff of a global oil and gas services supplier, currently operating in over 50 countries worldwide with a workforce in excess of 35,000, to work towards consistency in positioning the company’s global capability, capacity and potential for innovation in order to win new scopes of work, extend and renew existing contracts, and support effective risk-management in fulfilling contracts.

The 3-day programme was delivered to some 200 customer-facing managers across sales (BD), core corporate (Finance, HR, IT, Legal, etc.) and technical (Engineering, Construction, Operations, Maintenance, etc.) functions in the UK, Caspian, Middle Eastern, Far Eastern, Australian, North American, South American and African customer environments under the promotional banner that Business Development is Everyone’s Business.


Overview of the programme

A 5-stage business development process allowed participants to consider their own experience of what works well, and what needs further guidance and development before inputting the client’s own BD process theory, and facilitating participants’ learning in a series of simulated customer meetings and strategic planning exercises.


Stage One was about positioning the customer well

Stage One focused on establishing customer relationships, gathering customer intelligence and building credibility in the company’s capability, capacity and experience to deliver and delight the customer.

Stage Two was about positioning prospects and opportunities well

Stage Two focused on nurturing customer relationships and establishing trust; determining the scope and scale and timing of specific medium- to long-term prospects and short- to medium-term opportunities; identifying specific customer needs, wants, expectations and concerns; influencing customer expectations through case-study examples and proofs of the company’s solutions for other customers; and crafting win strategies for input to the bid-writing process.

Stage Three was about positioning the bid well

Stage Three focused on influencing the bid so that the tender is correctly positioned to win, and that the technical solution and the commercial bid can be informed and flavoured by correctly positioned customer and opportunity intelligence and win strategy requirements.

Stage Four was about continuing to position the customer well

Stage Four focused on responding to the customer’s post-submission Questions for Clarification, and using such opportunities to continue to position to win.

Stage Five was about learning lessons well

Stage Five focused on learning lessons from winning or losing the bid, and the process for transitioning customer relationships to those who will operationalise a winning bid, or to those who will continue to position and reposition customers, prospects and future opportunities, following a lost bid.


Our Impact

The programme ended with presentations from participants to a member of the corporate Leadership Team on their learning, their takeaways, their action plans for transfer and application, and their understanding of the impact of this learning at corporate, functional and individual levels.

Participants completed end-of-programme evaluations on the extent to which objectives had been achieved.  The programme was also evaluated against corporate, functional and individual criteria over the two years of its operation.

The overall evaluation was that Positioning to Win had been successful in:

  • Developing a common understanding and language around BD
  • Improving how the company positions its services with clients
  • Establishing, maintaining and nurturing better and stronger client relationships
  • Yielding commercial advantages from better management of financial risk.

Further benefits are expected over the longer-term as the process and related activities become more embedded across the business.




Alastair Wyllie

8 March 2015

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