At Executive Compass, we are regularly approached by firms who require bid management for a large or “must win” project. Existing bid teams can become stale, stuck in a rut, or simply do not have the necessary resources.
They need an external source to assist the bid process for that contract the organisation cannot afford to lose. In the past we have worked with many clients as additional support; whether they are the incumbent for a vital contract or are bidding for a higher value contract than usual, we have been successful in helping secure a number of “must win” contracts.
Preparing for a Bid
As we repeat over and over again, preparing for a bid is nearly as important as writing the submission itself! If a contract is identified as a “must win” for your organisation, the stakes are likely to be higher than normal and therefore require comprehensive planning as part of your bid management to ensure every aspect of your response is as strong as possible, in terms of narrative, structure and even design.
Planning and Organisation
As soon as a bid has been identified as a “must win” in your bid/no bid process, you should evaluate whether your current bid team has the resources and technical competence to complete the submission successfully. If not, it is vital to procure additional tender support early on in the process, as this will make your submission more consistent.
Read through and fully analyse the specification in terms of what is being asked of you, and then you can create a structure for your bid and delegate tasks and questions to different members of staff. This will ensure all vital elements are included in your response and also allows organisation within your bid team. Key dates, deadlines and progress reports should all be outlined in the planning stage of the bid to ensure your team is effectively managed and works cohesively, with a systematic approach.
Writing the Bid
When it comes to actually writing your response, it is key to remember with a “must win” bid that you need to demonstrate any key differentiators from competitors and add value to your submission. Use the quality section of your PQQ or tender to reflect your organisation’s strengths and capabilities against the contract criteria and score as highly as possible.
We recommend using an evidence based approach to directly demonstrate your organisation’s abilities to the contracting authority. This is especially true for incumbent suppliers, who can all too often rely on previous success and reputation to win a repeat contract, but it is important never to be complacent in your tender management. Even if it is the same tender you were successful with previously, you should aim to produce a refreshed submission, validating your organisation as the strongest provider.
A “must win” submission is likely to be larger than normal, or at least have a larger weighting in terms of importance, and if there are several writers allocated to the bid, make sure the style and structure are consistent and always quality assure all work.
External Tender Support
Although we cover all aspects of PQQ and tender management, some of our most significant projects have been working alongside clients for a “must win” bid and have meant working on site for weeks at a time due to the size and scope of contracts which clients simply cannot afford to lose.
In the past we had a client bidding as an incumbent for a contract which they needed to win in order for their business to continue due to the large sales revenue that the contract generated. The submission consisted of 82 pages of narrative response and with effective bid management we assisted the client in successfully winning the contract – phew!
If you have a particularly important tender submission, call us on 0800 612 5563 to discuss how we can support you.