On any given day, companies will approach us with requests for help for various reasons. We regularly work with organisations that have limited experience in tendering and need our support to break into the world of public sector work. Sometimes, we will be approached with emergency, short-term tender writing requests from organisations who cannot dedicate the required staffing resource to the process in advance of an ever-approaching deadline.
However, one of our most valued services is working on the must-win bid. Incumbent suppliers approach us to support them in retaining a vital contract, while organisations which must expand and win work to stay afloat come to us in need of our bid writing services.
Effective and comprehensive preparation for these must-win bids is key. The stakes are high and the cost of submitting a losing bid can be enormous, so it is crucial that everything is accounted for and in place. Here are some bid writing tips for preparing for and writing the must-win bid.
Read and understand the specification
Naturally, this advice applies whenever you are bidding for any work, but never is it truer than for the must-win bid. If possible, create a team and read through the specification individually, before meeting up for a full discussion.
Create a bid plan
Always be aware of the deadlines, and set your own internal deadlines so that you know what must be completed and when. Taking an unstructured approach leaves you prone to making critical omissions. Whenever you can, allocate responsibility for different elements of the bid writing process to Section Leads within your organisation, so that every aspect of the plan has a responsible person or task owner.
Take nothing for granted
You may be the incumbent supplier, but you cannot expect the Authority to demonstrate unfair preference towards you. Relying on previous success will surely lead to you falling short of the mark. Instead, focus on the future. What will you be able to bring to the service moving forward? Recognise your achievements to date, but centre your bid on how you will build upon them. Similarly, if you are tendering to take over a contract, you can never rely on your status or reputation to win. Ensure that you detail your competitive advantages explicitly, and leave nothing to the imagination.
Recognise your value
When working on a day-to-day basis, it is easy for your innovative practices and added-value approaches to become lost within the general blur of the nine-to-five. On countless occasions, we have been met with the “we just do it” response when asking Managing Directors and other representatives what their processes for delivering services are. When pushed further, they regularly reveal “well, actually, this is how we do it” – and provide a real response which is sure to be persuasive and captivating to any tender evaluating panel. When preparing for the must-win bid, it is therefore crucial to scratch beneath the surface and recognise the true value in what comes naturally to you. Communicating with Subject Matter Experts within your own organisation can help in this respect.
Monitor the health of the bid
Effective monitoring and management is essential to keeping close control of the bid’s development. Check in regularly with Section Leads, or otherwise remain mindful of the work that has been completed to date and what remains to be done throughout the whole process. Never forget the importance of reviews, and leave adequate time to redraft and review again multiple times. Investing a little extra time in sculpting your submission now will pay dividend if you secure the contract.
At Executive Compass, our team of bid writers and bid managers has worked extensively on must-win bids, and understands the importance of securing work that your organisation simply cannot afford to lose. If you need our help with any element of the process – be it managing the whole bid, interfacing with your own bid team, or contributing towards the review stage – contact us today to request a quote.
For more tips, check out this video: