Welcome to the final of our 3 part series on Winning Business through Social Value. This is a guide for construction contractors. Last time we looked at the first 2 steps you need to consider when implementing your Social Value strategy to help you win business. This week we will look at the final steps – how to capture and report on your activities and how to pull this all together to actually help your tender success rate.
Step Three – Data Capture & Reporting
A plan is great, it’s essential. But if you have no way of either tracking, or showcasing the social value that you are creating then it is a huge shame and will not work in your favour when trying to win business. Let’s look at how you can easily fix that problem.
Capture your activities
One of the biggest challenges that contractors face is how to accurately and comprehensively capture data about the social and community activities they have committed to. The stories and images of this work tell such a powerful story that they can often create a chain reaction effect getting more and more people involved and engaged within your organization.
But collating all of this is hard. It’s the nature of the beast – head office needs the information, but the on-the-ground activities take place across a disparate set of project locations and often individual pieces of information are ‘owned’ by an even greater number of individual employees and suppliers.
So, avoid this by having a clear plan on what you are aiming to achieve and who owns the data. Make sure this is clear from the pre-construction phase so you start off on the right foot.
Then, think about how your ‘data collectors’ are going to supply information to a central point within the business. Options are:
- Spreadsheets/google sheets. This method is cheap but prone to inaccuracy and duplication. With no ability to provide prompts to staff or suppliers to input data this can be a labour intensive method.
- Database system. This is a more structured data handling and reporting system. But tracking won’t be in real-time and there is still no ability to provide prompts to input data.
- Specialist software. This can provide flexibility on how your metrics and ‘pillars’ are set up, can explain to staff why the information is being collected, and can prompt staff when it is time to submit info. The system will also store auditable evidence of your activity.
Report your activities
Who are your stakeholders and how do they that want information presented? We’ve already highlighted the need to convey information back to staff and suppliers as a ‘motivator’ but how do your clients need information to be reported?
During the construction phase of a project you will be reporting on the construction framework, client, project etc. But you’ll also need to be able to easily pull out overall performance for bid submissions.
Also, your reporting should be a combination quantitative (providing data/statistics) and qualitative (capturing case studies and imagery of your activities). Again, modern, specialist software is best to avoid your team wasting huge amounts of time compiling reports in different formats and, importantly, to have all of your data ‘at your fingertips’ for bid submissions and client meetings.
Step Four – Win Business!
So how can we pull all this together to actually help us win more of the tenders we are going for?
As we discussed in our first blog in this series, many contracts now have 15-20% of the marking regime attributable to social value. At this level, can you afford not to have a clear social value strategy and demonstrable outcomes?
You should be thinking of this as an opportunity to differentiate your business.
In a competitive market, what is your USP; what sets you apart? For example, do you have a great relationship with particular charity partners and if so have you made this really clear? Do you invest significantly in staff training and development and can you demonstrate this in your reports? Do you have market leading environmental credentials? Can you use existing frameworks to turn this activity into a £ benefit you bring to society?
It is becoming harder and harder to differentiate on price, experience, health and safety etc. But, with some planning and some investment in better tracking, calculation and reporting, you can really make sure your social value commitments and business values are known! This can really make you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Have a chat with us at Thrive to find out how you can calculate and demonstrate your social value more effectively, to help you win more bids. Request a demo today.