Correctly leveraging past experience in a tender is one of the most effective ways to set your company apart from the competition.
The advantage of using past experience is that the responses can be developed when there is no live submission. This means that you can workshop and perfect your answers, even using feedback from past bids.
The key to using previous experience and case studies is to know both how and where to insert them into the bid. Many companies use examples in the wrong place, or use irrelevant contracts. This will ultimately work against you, resulting in a lower scoring submission.
Here are some tips for correctly using past experience:
Create and perfect responses
As mentioned above you should work on your responses in the time between bid writing. This provides more freedom and a less stressful environment to create the best answers possible.
Analyse previous contracts and look for areas that stand out, for example:
- Where did your company excel?
- What issues have you overcome?
- Any innovations you created?
- Successful completion of contracts
Highlight those areas and begin to form responses based on these. The contracting authority is looking for companies that can innovate, overcome problems and successfully deliver the contract on a consistent basis.
When creating responses be sure to follow bid writing best practice and have each piece quality assured and proof-read by another staff member or manager.
Tailor to the submission
The key to leveraging past experience is using the right response in the right place. There is no point talking about another contract that has no relevance to the one you are bidding for.
Only mention contracts that directly relate to the current submission and always tailor your response. Many companies make the mistake of just copy and pasting their responses, but those that are consistently successful tailor each response for the specific bid.
Use feedback and improve
Once the bid has been submitted and feedback received, during the post-bid analysis be sure to highlight areas of your past experience responses which did well, and those which did not.
Use this feedback to improve and update your bid library so that your next submission will benefit from this information. If your past experience received a low score you need to find the reason why and work hard to rectify that before the next bid.
If you scored highly then you can be confident in using those responses in the future, providing they are tailored to that specific bid. At this point it is always good to involve more team members. Work together to workshop the responses and get a second opinion, doing this you will see a noticeable improvement. To add an additional level to your case studies you can also speak to team members who worked on the projects and get a detailed description of the work and any problems encountered.
Using service specialists gives your submission an extra advantage over your competitors, and one which the contracting authority will reward.
For more tips to improve your success rate, watch the video below: