Best practice information and bid libraries can be used as a foundation to build upon. However, it is essential that they are then tailored, adapted, and added to reflect the buyer’s requirements. We explain below how this can be achieved.
Whether you have an established bid library of model and best practice answers or have successfully delivered similar services for those being tendered for, if you fail to tailor your proposal to the clients’ specific requirements it will run the risk of being evaluated as generic and not fully addressing the buyer’s needs. Whilst nearly all bidders will be technically qualified to deliver the services and/or products being tendered for, the most effective proposals will show a clear understanding of the buyer’s business, their specific requirements for this opportunity and how your organisation will meet their needs.
To ensure bids are tailored to the buyer’s requirements, bidders will need to:
- Align your proposal with the buyer’s evaluation process.
- Base your strategy on the buyer’s perspective.
- Use a buyer-focused writing approach.
Features to make bids more customer-centric and ensure your solutions clearly identify and address the buyer’s needs include:
- Read the tender documentation carefully, ensuring all issues, needs and requirements are fully understood and incorporated into the written qualitative responses. Make a checklist of all the buyer’s major requirements and any specific needs, ensuring these are integrated into the proposal when planning the responses and checking these have been fully addressed before submitting the bid.
- Although seemingly straightforward, this is an easy step to miss when responding to common themes. For example, when writing about health and safety, are there any specific requirements set out in the specification? For instance, specified works which will need to be completed in buildings occupied by vulnerable people such as children or the elderly with particular needs and requiring services to be planned with scheme managers before attending site.
- Cite the buyer’s requirements to place the focus on their needs, immediately connecting this with the provision of your services/products and personalising the response. For example, if you have attended site visits as part of the tender process, “In our meeting with Procurement Services Ltd., Contract Administrator Jane Doe cited the four primary needs …”.
- Make ownership of the buyer’s needs explicit, directly stating how your proposal will meet or exceed all their requirements and overcome any issues identified. For example, “In support of Procurement Services Ltd.’s strategic direction to provide a more cost-effective and customer-centric service for your residents, our solution addresses each of the four primary needs as cited in the specification …”
- Place the buyer before the bidder to ensure the proposal is customer-focused and explicitly state how your proposal benefits them. Consider the two following sentences:
- “Our hybrid vehicles achieve 60 miles per gallon, reducing Procurement Services Ltd.’s commuting costs by 20% …”
- “Procurement Services Ltd. can reduce commuting costs by 20% using our hybrid vehicles that achieve 60 miles per gallon.”
Although the content of the above sentences remains the same, the focus is clearly on the buyer in the second instance.
- Cite benefits before features. Features are only a benefit to a buyer if they clearly address their specific needs or issues. Responses should begin with items of the greatest importance to the buyer, emphasising benefits over features. For instance, if a buyer’s primary purpose for a vehicle is to transport material, the storage capacity will take precedence over fuel- saving features. For instance, “Procurement Services Ltd. will benefit by the selection of our vehicles through:
- Increased vehicle storage capacity, exceeding your minimum requirement of 5.5 cubic metres, ensuring all materials can be safely stored and transported, negating the need to rent specialist vehicles for larger items and reducing trips to and from site due to the increased storage capacity.
- Reducing commuting costs by 20% using our hybrid vehicles that achieve 60 miles per gallon …”
The above steps help ensure bids are customer-focused, with the buyer’s requirements clearly identified and addressed, whilst linking their needs with services through targeted solutions.
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