When bidding for a contract, one of the first key decisions should be around the ‘bid/no bid’ process to determine your chances of success and whether the contract you are looking at is a desirable one for your business.
This sounds a simple and obvious step in the bidding process, but it is often overlooked, and can mean a business ends up being unsuccessful and then unsure about why it is losing contracts.
We discuss the main factors to consider when bidding for a contract to ensure you have a greater chance of success.
Is the contract deliverable, and do you have previous experience and case studies to prove this?
The first step is, quite literally, can your company deliver the contract? Even if you can, this isn’t enough to secure a new contract. The PQQ and tender process will focus around your previous experience, and the contracting authority will want reassurance that you are capable and can prove how you have worked with similar clients on similar projects. Typically, this is shown via questions on previous experience, case studies, references and providing examples. Unfortunately it isn’t good enough to state how good you are: you must prove it.
If you do not have the relevant experience to bid, then the contract should be a ‘no bid’.
Do you meet all the minimum requirements, and are you eligible to bid?
Again, this sounds like quite a simple step: ensuring you qualify for a contract before you decide to bid. However, on several occasions we have seen organisations not undertaking a thorough check of the minimum criteria or thinking they will manage to ‘sneak through’. The minimum requirements (for example pass/fail questions, minimum financial requirements and necessary memberships or certifications) are set out by an authority to exclude companies that do not meet these requirements. You must check that you are fully eligible to bid.
If you fall short of any of the requirements outlined for a specific contract, then the contract should be a ‘no bid’ – in some cases it may mean waiting until the contract is up for renewal and you are in a stronger position to bid.
Is the contract a good fit for your organisation, and does it align with your strategy?
You must consider the contract in question alongside your company’s aims, objectives and overall strategy. For example, if your strategy is focused around growth, and the contract isn’t particularly profitable and doesn’t offer any growth in a market, then it may be a ‘no bid’. We do understand that not all contracts are massively profitable, and it may be a case of securing a contract with a prestigious authority, or creating an ongoing relationship; this is fine if you can say that it is an aim for your company and it makes sense to give valuable time and resources to the contract.
What are your chances of success?
Chances of success when tendering can be difficult to determine: a good place to start, however, is to evaluate the market. Who is the incumbent for the contract? Who are the likely bidders and what do you have to offer? We regularly hear, ‘We will be perfect for this contract,’ and that is great, but only if you can quantify this and your competitor isn’t better!
It is important to spend time undertaking competitor analysis in a realistic way. If your main competitor already works with the buyer, holds several similar contracts and has just developed an innovative training centre in the local community, and your organisation can’t compete with this, it may be the hard truth that it’s a ‘no bid’. There are times when it is important to bid against a strong competitor, and to do this you must differentiate yourself, show strong case studies, added value and submit a high quality tender submission.
For further assistance with undertaking a ‘bid/no bid’ decision, contact our team of bid writers, who will be happy to talk you through the process and advise on a suitable contract for your company.