This guest blog post is from one of our quality managers and bid reviewer, John Winder, and looks at how our bid review process works.
Reviewing responses produced by our team of professional bid writers, prior to them being submitted, is a critical part of the quality assurance process embedded within our quality management system. This is UKAS ISO9001:2015 certified, and it is a huge focus within our organisation.
The review process contributes to ensuring that Executive Compass maintain a win percentage of over 80%, but what does it entail and how does it contribute to creating winning bids? If you read on, I will explain.
The review process has four key objectives that can be summarised as follows:
- Ensuring the response is compliant with the contracting authority’s requirements
- Checking that the writer has fully answered each of the questions set
- Making sure the content is presented with a clear and logical structure
- Ensuring the written content has flow, smoothness and is easy for the reader to understand
Assessing each and every response produced by our bid writers using the same consistent approach to make sure these objectives are met maximises our customers’ chances of success. This is regardless of the sector in which they operate, be that social care, gas servicing or grounds maintenance, to name but a few.
Dedicated review team
So who actually completes the review process? One of our three highly experienced quality reviewers or a company director undertake the task, providing a ‘clean pair of eyes’ totally independent from the writing process. Our reviewers have a wealth of ‘real world’ knowledge with combined experience of over 70 years in operational, commercial and proposals management roles across a diverse range of sectors including construction, specialist support services, social care and utilities.
The bid review stages
Upon completion of each response and having undertaken their own compliance checks the bid writer will submit the response to the reviewer. This is always done well in advance of any submission deadline to ensure any suggested improvements are fully incorporated into the response.
Prior to commencement the reviewer will read all the tender documentation such as the ITT, specification and any appendices so they are fully appraised of the contracting authority’s requirements. Once satisfied that they have understood and are fully appraised of the opportunity requirements and scope the review will begin:
|Verify the response is compliant with the requirements of the ITT, checking the likes of character/word/page count, font size and line spacing and that any supporting information appended is permissible. Checking details that may seem insignificant is a key part of the process, as submitting a response in Calibri 12 as opposed to the instructed Arial 11 font would give an evaluator reasonable grounds to disqualify the submission.
Questions answered fully and correctly
|Questions often aren’t focused on a single point and can be made up of several constituent parts. A critical element of the process is therefore making sure that each part of the question has been answered fully and in the context the question has been asked. At this stage in the process the reviewer will also use their skill, expertise and subject knowledge to identify any areas where the response could be strengthened, perhaps by suggesting additional detail is given, or examples provided to evidence the point being made, making it more persuasive to the reader.
Clear and logical structure
|Every response should be structured so the reader doesn’t have to search for answers and is set out using clear headings and subheadings reflecting each element of the question in the order it’s asked. The reviewer will take an objective view to assess if the writer has set out the response to achieve that, or where they believe it hasn’t been achieved recommend to the writer how the structure can be improved so the reader can easily navigate through it.
Flow, smoothness and ease of understanding
|The adage of ‘it’s not only what you say, but how you say it’ also applies to bid writing, so to maximise response scores they should be written in a clear and concise manner, making the content easy to read and follow. The reviewer will undertake a series of checks such as ensuring sentences follow on naturally from one another without jumping from one subject to another and making sure the language used is clear, concise and easy to understand.
Once the review process is complete, the response is returned to the bid writer, who will then make any amendments identified before submitting for proofreading and forwarding to the customer. The outcome is that our clients are assured a fully compliant, well written and persuasive response has been produced to maximise the score awarded by the contracting authority’s evaluator.
The role of our reviewers in collaboration with the use of expert writers and professional proofreaders maximises our clients’ chances of success, as illustrated by our win percentage of over 80%.
If you are an internal bid team, it is still really important to undertake a bid review. This may be with a bid manager or company director, as a fresh pair of eyes, to not only check compliance but to check the questions are answered and the submission is logical – as mentioned above.
Many organisations outsource the review stage of the bid writing process to our team, as an external source and to maximise the chance of success of the bid. Find out more about our review service, or contact our team for a consultation call today.