As a bid and tender writing organisation, when working with a client to write a bid, one of the first steps for our team is information gathering. Your lead bid writer will schedule an information-gathering call with you to learn more about your working processes and procedures. Subsequently, we will align your organisation’s information and insights with the contract specification and requirements of the purchasing authority when drafting quality responses.
Understandably, for an external bid writer, the client interview and information gathering is an integral step of the overall bid management process. Far from an exercise in being scrutinised or judged, it is a collaborative process – the more prepared you are going into a call, the greater quality and quantity of information our writers are able to capture in the first instance, saving you time and resources down the line and ensuring a smooth submission.
As part of our quality assurance process, your lead bid writer will produce an answer plan for all quality questions in advance of the interview, ensuring they are requesting information that is both useful and relevant to the opportunity. Here are a few things you can do in advance of your client interview with Executive Compass to maximise its value and utility.
Read all the tender documents thoroughly
As our team frequently emphasises to all clients, each bid and tender is a uniquely structured opportunity – this applies even if you are the incumbent supplier and the contract or framework agreement is up for re-tender. In advance of the interview, make sure to carefully read and consider all documents within the tender pack, taking note of the following:
- Technical requirements within the specification, ensuring that you have sufficiently trained and qualified staff or subcontracting partners to perform all workstreams.
- Mandatory qualification criteria such as minimum turnover threshold, requirement to have a local office or depot within administrative boundaries, or minimum assessment standards, such as a ‘Good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission.
- Geographic and work-specific lots, verifying that works or services can be separated and do not require multiple submissions.
- Whether TUPE is applicable and if so any preparations for integrating TUPE-qualifying staff into supplier workstreams.
It is equally crucial to ensure you have downloaded and completed all documents within the tender pack – failure to submit an additional document, such as a self-declaration form, could result in a non-compliant bid and automatic disqualification.
Research the purchasing authority
Local councils, housing associations and other buyers will often have a wealth of information on their websites pertaining to their needs and objectives. For example, an authority with diverse population demographics may place an emphasis on applying cultural sensitivity when carrying out scope of works – featuring additional customer care or diversity training for operatives/employees will be beneficial in strengthening the quality and persuasiveness of your submission.
Lastly, researching the buyer you are bidding into will allow you to identify any social value commitments which are paramount to short- and long-term targets, such as boosting local employment, delivering on net zero targets or community improvement initiatives. By mapping out social value priorities early, it is easier to determine what commitments can be made within those categories which are feasible, relevant and proportionate to the value of the contract.
Take note of any required evidence, appendices and policies
What is required as part of your bid? Purchasing authorities frequently request supplementary information and evidence to support claims made within Standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ) and quality responses. Occasionally, these can be embedded within a document, but as the majority of responses are word- or page-limited they are usually provided as an appendix. Common requests for appendices can include:
- Copies of CVs for contract-specific employees, complete with qualifications, level of experience and previous contracts.
- A detailed organogram or organisational chart with contract-specific staff or an entire overview of your organisation, demonstrating sufficient contingency for absenteeism
- Copies of recent organisational policies, such as health and safety, quality assurance and environmental policies with a date and signature from the company director verifying review and approval.
- Example or template copies of documents used to deliver daily works, such as RAMS, quality assurance checklists or customer claims forms.
While our writers will have identified the required appendices during the answer planning stage of the tender process, noting the required documents ahead of time will give you more time to supply the required information.
Begin considering your organisation’s key successes, USPs and added value
One of the most crucial elements of writing tender responses is persuasiveness – it is not sufficient to simply describe the what or how of a particular process, but why it is the right solution of the purchasing authority’s requirements. To demonstrate this, it is beneficial to consider how your organisation delivers works or services differently from your competitors, allowing our writers to weave persuasiveness throughout the quality responses. This can consist of:
- Notable KPIs that you have achieved (such as customer satisfaction or compliance with programme of works) for previous contracts of a similar size and scope, demonstrating ability to effectively deliver for the tendered opportunity.
- Unique processes or systems for delivering works, such as a cutting-edge job management system which facilitates remote audits, vehicle tracking allowing real-time supervision of employees or integrating nominated representatives into a client portal allowing them to monitor the overall programme of works.
- Any added value which can be delivered to customers or the buyer while carrying out contractual scope of works, such as small-scale works delivered for free or at a reduced cost or increased maintenance schedules to extend products/systems nearing end-of-life or obsolescence.
Effectively identifying and demonstrating what sets your organisation apart from competitors through innovation, USPs or added value will aid in receiving high marks from evaluators within quality responses.
Lean on Executive Compass’ expertise for support
Even for organisations who have previously submitted bids for public sector contracts, the tender process can be complex, mystifying and populated with unfamiliar and industry-specific terminology. When working with Executive Compass, if anything in the tender documents is unclear, contradictory or requires further contextual information, contact your lead bid writer in advance of the interview requesting clarification. If needed, our team can always support you to submit a clarification question to the contracting authority.
Throughout the information-gathering stage, and the rest of the bid writing process, our team are on hand to offer support and guidance to your organisation.
With 14 years of experience supporting clients with over 7,000 high-quality PQQ, SQ and ITT submissions, Executive Compass are well-placed to support with a variety of bid and tender writing services, including full bid management services, bid writing and tender reviews. To find out more, contact a member of our sales and marketing team today at 0800 612 5563 or via email email@example.com.
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