Central to any successful submission is the effective tender management and planning of a bid, ensuring an on-time, fully compliant, and high-quality tender is produced.
The process can seem daunting at times, particularly if there are multiple documents, various sections to review and complete, and tight deadlines. Our bid writers are experienced in managing these challenges, and we discuss how we use the following series of mechanisms:
Initial review and planning
Upon receipt of the invitation to tender and associated documentation, as a bid writer the first task we complete is a thorough review of all tender documentation. These reviews and checks are imperative; bids can be won and lost on the smallest margins so it is vital to read the documents line by line:
- Confirming all required documentation, specifications and appendices are present and correct.
- Reviewing timetables contained within the ITT, confirming there are no inconsistencies with the closing dates for clarification requests and submission.
- Checking for any contradictions within the documentation, enabling us to raise clarifications at the earliest opportunity.
- Annotating and highlighting key points and requirements central to the production of compliant and high-quality responses. For example, formatting such as font size, typeface and spacing.
The initial review of tender documentation ensures that any issues which could impact the success of the submission are identified early and can therefore be addressed and resolved.
Following these reviews, our bid writers produce detailed question plans, breaking down each question into the key parts, enabling us to focus on the key elements and identify further information we require from our client.
Client discussions will then be organised, with question plans shared with the client in advance. These discussions are used to source the information we require to write high-quality responses, specific to each tender. When a client outsources tender writing to us, our team also take on the role of tender management. So, during these discussions, each writer also outlines the writing process, proposing clear timelines for responses to be sent to the client and answering any queries they may have.
Tender management using a matrix
Our bid writers utilise a bespoke bid matrix to help manage each tender, which captures all relevant aspects of the project, including:
- A breakdown of each response requiring completion, alongside their respective word counts and the individual responsible for their completion (when two or more writers are involved on larger projects).
- The status of each response, e.g. whether it has been written, reviewed by one of our in-house quality managers or shared with the client for their reviews.
- Outstanding information required to complete responses, such as client policies.
- Relevant tender information, such as details of the procurement portal, quality/price weightings and the client’s contact details.
Through our bid matrices, the progress of each tender is summarised through a completion percentage, enabling us to easily monitor progress and ensure the responses (and overall tender) is completed in advance of the deadline and/or to clients’ requested dates. By summarising progress through a percentage, we are also able to share ongoing updates to the client, providing reassurance regarding the status of their tender.
On a wider scale, there are a number of tender management programmes available in the market, manual or electronic. These can provide procurement support for both buyers issuing tenders and companies responding to tender returns on a regular basis.
With the majority of public sector tenders coordinated via e-procurement portals such as Delta, Proactis and Bravo, our bid writers are experienced in navigating and managing portals. This also plays a key part in the management of a tender. This includes:
- Submitting clarifications to the commissioning authority, ensuring queries regarding the tender are addressed.
- Monitoring the portal for updated clarification logs, guaranteeing that any pertinent clarifications, e.g. changes to the authority’s requirements, are communicated to the client and reflected within their responses.
- Checking submission dates and times on the portal match those in the tender documents and enabling any extensions to be communicated as soon as possible.
- Completing portal entries, such as online selection questionnaires, at the earliest opportunity, eliminating the likelihood of any issues arising.
Our bid writers also support clients to complete the final tender submission, which is the final step in the tender management process. We recommend a series of measures to facilitate a smooth tender upload, including:
- Using the processes described above to ensure the tender is submitted in advance of the deadline date, eliminating the likelihood of technical issues impacting success.
- Compiling a checklist, outlining each required element of the tender. This is then used to cross-reference the portal to guarantee a fully completed and compliant tender is submitted.
- Getting an alternative bid writer who has not worked on the project to complete a final portal check, confirming the tender is completed in full and ready for submission.
- Inviting the client to complete a final review of the portal to confirm completeness.
Following a tender submission, it is important to monitor the procurement portals for any updates, such as invitations to clarification meetings/interviews, to enable preparation and responses in good time.
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