Throughout the bid management process, following bid writing best practice will increase your chances of success when completing PQQs (pre-qualifying questionnaires), SQs (selection questionnaires) and tenders.
When assessing potential tenders, and throughout the bid writing process there are several factors that should be embedded in the process:
- Minimise the risk – only bid for tenders where you meet minimum criteria, are fully capable of delivering the services, and can submit high-quality responses and corresponding evidence.
- Play to your company’s strengths and provide detailed examples of your past experience.
- Use key team members and subject matter experts to improve your submission before conducting a final review.
The goal of bidding is to win. By improving your process and establishing stringent quality control measures you will win more contracts. Detailed below are examples of how best practice approaches can be applied to the bid management process.
Analyse the tender
Before you begin to complete your tender submission, first analyse both the contract and the tender, and ask yourself some key questions; fundamentally, does your company have a good chance of success? Do not bid if there is a large chance of failure as it is a waste of time, resource, and money. Ultimately, you should consider not bidding if you:
- Are non-compliant
- Have no previous experience in this field (where this is explicitly asked for)
- Do not have enough time to complete a strong submission
- Cannot, if awarded, deliver the contract.
There are sometimes exceptions to these rules. Often companies choose to tender for a contract purely to gain experience of the bid management process and receive constructive feedback which can then be put into practice on a more achievable bid.
Answer the question
Always answer the question. It can be tempting to stray when describing your company or previous experience, or where you feel you can demonstrate a unique selling point (USP) to positively differentiate yourself from other bidders. However, if that information is not relevant to the question it will be discarded, and valuable word count will have been wasted. By keeping all your tender responses to the point and directly related to the question, the evaluator can clearly establish where you have hit key points, making it easier from them to award marks.
Evidence and experience
Where appropriate, underpin key points with evidence (e.g. quantitative data) or examples of previous experience. Anybody can make an unsubstantiated statement; the highest marks are gained from backing up your points, reassuring the evaluator that you are experienced and capable of delivering this contract.
Always keep the evidence and experience relevant to both the question and the contract. If you do not have previous experience to back up your claims then try to establish a link between another contract you have completed that demonstrates relevant experience. For example, if you currently deliver cleaning services to housing associations but wish to start working in schools, parallels around how you have maintained safety and safeguarded stakeholders can be applied.
Another option is to use examples of any notable achievements and service quality across the board such as quantitative statistics around meeting key performance indicators (KPIs), satisfaction rates etc.
Review and improve
Don’t be afraid to draw upon the experience across your organisation when writing a bid. Where necessary, utilise key staff members in order to improve the quality of your tender. Interview the service specialists and department heads to gain a key insight into what makes your company stand out and what you can offer. If you are removed from the direct delivery of the service, talk to operatives about specific examples so that effective, relevant, and up-to-date case studies are included across your tender.
As a final stage in the bid management process, always have the submission reviewed by another staff member or external proofreader. This will ensure that the content is of the highest possible quality.
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