As with most things there is rarely an easy way to learn bid writing. Many companies struggle for years without ever winning a tender, so it is important to understand that there is a right way to learn.
The mistake many make is to jump in immediately and start bidding for every contract that comes up, without paying any attention to the results or feedback. This is the hard way.
Deciding whether to bid
The first thing you need to decide when faced with a contract is whether to bid or not. It can be very tempting when you see a contract for your services and it looks so perfect, almost too good to be true.
First, take a breath and evaluate your chances of success. Read the specification and determine whether you are fully compliant. Even the smallest non-compliance will cost you the tender, so there is no point bidding if that is the case.
Do you have a good chance of winning? Who are your competitors? If you know you are going up against strong competitors or even the incumbents, it is important to evaluate your chances of success. Obviously, you should not shy away from a tender just because the competition is strong, but you should also not pour time and resources into a submission if there is no chance you can win.
A thorough bid/no bid procedure is essential for success.
Learning how to answer the questions
There is a definitive way to answer tender questions that is difficult to learn. You need to understand exactly what the contracting authority is looking for and prove that your company can offer this.
Go into detail and back up your points with evidence, but do not stray from the question. Balancing your response is one of the hardest aspects of tender writing and can take years to master.
Maintaining a company bid library is one way to improve your responses, as is developing model answers to be tailored to each submission.
Actually using evaluator feedback
The best way to learn is by understanding and incorporating evaluator feedback. Too many people do not learn from feedback and continue to make the same mistakes time and again.
If no feedback is given, then you should request it, as the contracting authority is obliged to provide it.
This information tells you exactly what parts of your responses were good and which were bad. Developing your bid library and learning from this feedback is the key to long-term success.
For more information on becoming a better bid writer get in touch.
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