Writing a bid is a specialist skill and can take a long time to perfect. Whether you have written a few small bids, or have a career as a bid writer, there is always room for improvement and each new tender should be approached as if it were your first.
Utilising the specification and evaluation criteria
We can’t stress strongly enough that you need to put yourself into the evaluator’s shoes when writing and reviewing your submission. Would you award yourself full marks? If you answered no, why not?
It is important to use the specification and criteria to guide your responses. Creating a writing plan ahead of approaching the full tender is a good way to organise your ideas and make sure all important points are covered – this is especially true if you are writing a fairly large submission where points can easily be missed or overseen. Then spend time creating persuasive narrative; this needs to be to the point, contain examples, be compelling, and structured in an understandable way.
If your response does not fully answer and comply with the tender specification, it is likely to be overlooked and won’t score the most marks available.
Refreshing your approach
Bid teams and their bid writing can easily become stale and just churn out the same responses time and time again. Whether it is your writing style or your bid process which need looking at, it is necessary to continuously evaluate your bids and tenders, and see whether your approach needs refreshing.
As a bid writing firm, we do not use copy and paste. However for internal bid teams it can be easy to rely on previous answers and just slot them into a new tender submission. This is risky, as a previous response may not fully answer the new question from the contracting authority. In our experience it is important to refresh model answers or create fresh responses for each bid – this is more likely to score you the most marks available.
Looking at your approach to a bid can also improve your writing and your success rate. Review your current bid writing process and look at all stages from start to finish. If there is a stage in the process, such as planning or reviewing, which is currently being overlooked, it may be worth allocating more time to this specific stage to strengthen your approach overall. This can be done regularly as continuous improvement.
Laws and Legislation
Following on from refreshing responses, make sure your answers adhere to all up-to-date laws and legislation within your specific industry.
The introduction of a new or updated piece of legislation can be integral to a tender response. Referring to an outdated act can cost you valuable marks and may cause the evaluator to become less confident in your organisation’s bid.
Keeping up-to-date with all new legislation, policies and procedures can also drive your technical responses in the right direction and assist with social value questions and industry-specific responses.
When writing a bid, keep in mind that it is a competition and your company needs to add value and differentiate against the competition. Whether it is through customer service, length of service, specialist products or services or industry recognition, identify your unique selling point and make sure this translates across your tender submission so the authority has a definitive reason to award you the contract.
For further tips to improve your bid writing, see our resources page.