Having pre-existing material on file can be a double-edged sword. The main benefit is that it provides a library of reliable responses for use across commonly asked questions, reducing time spent in writing new answers and helping writers focus on other parts of the submission. However, knowing the library is there can encourage complacency and the taking of shortcuts which may result in organisations not scoring as well as they could.
Follow these tips on how to use pre-existing responses effectively, ensuring there is a stock of high quality material which is always available to use.
Read the questions
Before writing anything, read and deconstruct each question to determine what it is asking, so you can provide the correct response. From over seven years of reviewing submissions across a range of sectors, we sometimes find that clients cut and paste responses to tender questions without editing them, resulting in a poor quality and low-scoring answer which projects a negative image of your business. By reading the question alongside the evaluation criteria you will know exactly what is needed to score full marks.
Read your responses
Having understood the information required, review your responses to gauge whether they are suitable for use, or whether amendments are needed to ensure they meet the evaluation criteria. Changes may vary from addressing spelling or grammatical errors or updating statistics and staffing details, to a wholesale re-write of the contents.
Making required changes
Once the required changes have been identified, spend the time necessary to perfect each response. The old adage ‘measure twice, cut once’ is always true, especially for bid writing. By taking the time to amend responses properly you will ensure their effectiveness and avoid time wasted in having to rewrite them. Treat any changes to responses as if the answer is being written afresh, and have the completed work quality assured for suitability, sufficiency and accuracy. This will ensure the work is of the standard required and may even suggest further improvements that will help you gain the most marks.
Keeping material updated
Changes in processes, contract examples, staffing and technologies should be reflected in all responses. These should be updated to promote a proactive approach when managing your bid library, and to prevent the need for last minute changes to the submission.
Use feedback as a guide for continual improvement
You may have always scored 8/10 for a quality management response, but consider whether it could consistently score 10/10 instead. Request and read feedback from authorities to determine any gaps or positive areas to expand on, as this usually states what assessors want to see and any further information that could be included to strengthen your answer.
By continually enhancing material you can ensure it is of the highest possible standard and avoid the potential for complacency. Make this a collective initiative between all staff at all levels, encouraging the sharing of ideas and collaborative involvement in enhancing both your bid writing processes and overall success rates.