Study Finds 'Skills Gap' Stops Companies Winning New Business

Article excerpt

Many firms suffer from a 'skills gap' that prevents them winning more new business, a newly published study of 62 companies shows.

None of the companies thought their skills at winning new business were perfect and most admitted they needed to make considerable improvements.

The study published in 'Bidding for Business: the Skills Agenda' found that the largest number of companies wanted to improve their ability to 'make a winning presentation'.

The report is based on research led by Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas, head of the Centre for Competitiveness at the University of Luton and is published by Policy Publications in association with Business Intelligence.

Survey respondents worried about inadequate skills in a whole range of areas including many of the basics of winning new business, such as drafting proposals and completing tender documents successfully.

"In an increasingly competitive global market, companies need to look at all aspects of their bidding activity and the people who perform it," says Professor Coulson-Thomas. The report focuses on 20 critical bidding skills. The top improvement issues for companies include finding and using competitive intelligence and learning how customer buying centres work. Other important issues are managing the prospect relationship and identifying potential new customers.

The top half of the table also includes issues of strategic importance such as building or redesigning a bidding process. It is also clear that many companies want to become more expert at defining their product or service in ways which appeal more to their customers, the second most highly rated area for skill improvement. …