Due to the highly competitive nature of tendering, bid writers are becoming increasingly valued as firms recognise that they need the expertise and experience of tendering experts to produce winning bids.
Bid writers may be in-house, writing bids for one specific company. Alternatively, they may work for a specialist bid writing firm and manage bids on behalf of clients across a breadth of industries. At Executive Compass, we fall into the latter category, completing close to a thousand tenders for a variety of business in the last 12 months with an 85% success rate.
Bid writers complete pre-qualification questionnaires and produce high-quality tenders in order to secure contracts for a business, increasing its growth and development. As external bid writers, we typically manage each bid in its entirety, including capture management and information gathering (the initial client contact, interviews and follow-ups), writing the tender responses and the final submission. This process frequently takes place within a tight and immovable timeframe as determined by the buyer’s firm submission deadline. Our role is therefore multi-faceted and complex, requiring a high level of organisation, attention to detail and dedication.
The first step – analyse the bid
Sufficient time should always be allocated at the start of tendering to analyse the ITT documents and understand specification requirements and buyer expectations, with the bid structured and tailored accordingly.
As part of the analysis, we will create a list of all required documentation and accreditations, along with any major points that need special attention. This can include word count, format and font size etc. – anything that is a requirement and could cause the submission to fail. Data sections and any “tick box” exercises can easily be completed once all the information is gained.
Having carefully read through the ITT documents and undertaken wider research on the bidder, buyer and service, we produce an answer plan that fully deconstructs the main points and requirements for each tender question. This prepares us for the client interview, ensuring we know the correct questions to ask to gather the most pertinent and comprehensive information.
Work closely with the company
As external bid writers, we have extensive experience of completing successful bids across diverse sectors. Through this experience, we recognise the unrivalled importance of tailoring the bid to the client and their service delivery model, highlighting their USPs and the benefits they will deliver.
One way this is achieved is through collaborating with the relevant technical heads and service specialists within the client organisation, gathering all the evidence and technical information needed to produce a competitive bid. This often happens in the form of a client interview with subject matter experts working within specific departments relevant to the technical criteria within the bid. Follow-up interviews will be used where we feel that responses can be enhanced with further specific information.
This stage is equally vital for internal bid writers: your primary resource for crafting detailed and persuasive bids is drawing on the depth and breadth of experience across your organisation. Therefore, if you are not involved in the direct delivery of the service, interview those who are (e.g. operatives) to increase insight and provide direct, relevant examples. The collaborative aspect of the tender ensures everyone is happy with final submission, with the organisation’s service and capabilities fully illustrated.
Through writing multiple responses for the same client, a ‘bid library’ will be created. This allows bid writers to work in a more time-efficient way, particularly for sections such as PQQ questions, which are often data-driven and tend to follow a similar format for most bids. However, unlike other bid writing companies, we do not rely on our bid library to write responses. Instead, we recognise the nuances of each project, with each response reflecting the specific requirements and unique complexities of the service tendered for.
Once we have all the required information and data for the bid, the writing will begin. Responses should be clear, concise, highly detailed and persuasive, reflecting the competitive nature of the tender process. To achieve this, information gathered from the client will be used in conjunction with wider research and our own recommendations based on industry best practice and our wider knowledge of competitive themes within tendering. Evidence will be used throughout to substantiate key points, reassuring the evaluator of the bidder organisation’s competency and experience.
Each response will be quality assured in line with our UKAS ISO 9001:2015-certified quality management system. This involves an in-depth review and assessment by the most senior members of our bid writing team, ensuring the content aligns with specification requirements and the question is fully answered.
Excellence is integral to our company ethos, with the reviewer also leveraging their extensive industry experience to bring a further layer of competitiveness to the bid responses. The review process thereby goes beyond quality assurance to provide another opportunity for detail and innovation to be incorporated, maximising our client’s chance of success.
Compile the documents
When all sections are completed, the documents will be compiled. This includes all necessary policies and procedures, accreditations and any required supporting documents.
The significance of this stage is not to be underestimated: bids that fail to submit any mandatory documents can be deemed non-compliant and result in a failed submission. Being a bid writer consequently covers numerous key stages: to design, write, edit and then check the bid documents. This process may also involve the placing of responses into a template or custom designed formatting. Once completed, the bid can finally be submitted to the authority; typically, this is done via an online portal.
How to become a bid writer?
Although bid writing is becoming increasingly recognised, it remains quite a niche career. At Executive Compass, we come from a variety of backgrounds and careers. The ‘golden thread’ that unites us all is our writing abilities, and typical qualifications include English Literature at A Level and a writing-based degree (e.g. English, History, Politics or Law).
Nevertheless, this is not exclusive: we have bid writers with a background in Economics, for example. The individual may also have worked in a specific industry sector, such as engineering or construction, relevant to the tenders that we complete. Our recruitment process is therefore open to all with a degree or higher to apply and includes multiple stages (CV, writing test and interviews) to provide individuals with opportunities to demonstrate their suitability for a bid writing career within a professional bid writing firm.
For in-house bid writers, it is very common for someone in an administrative role in an organisation to work their way up to bid co-ordinator or junior bid writer as their knowledge of the organisation and subsequent skillset develops, or for someone with operational knowledge to transfer to a bid team, drawing on their technical knowledge and subject matter expertise. As every organisation with a desire to work with the public sector or to secure contracts over a certain threshold must engage with the tender process, in most organisations this role is required and can be an ideal career path in terms of growth and progression.
At Executive Compass our win rates speak for themselves. We employ professional bid writers and bid proposal managers who have all been trained internally to meet our high standards. Using our professional bid writing services will guarantee your company a submission of the highest possible quality.
Latest NewsView All
With only a few weeks left before Christmas, it is crucial to ensure you have sufficient resources in place for any bid and tender submissions falling during the holiday period. With many staff members taking annual l...
Bid and tender submissions can vary in size and word count, ranging from 1,000 words to upwards of 50,000 words. This can depend on a number of factors, including the level of detail required by the buyer, complexity ...
Some clients occasionally conflate or confuse social value and added value when bidding for public sector contracts. We explain their differences, ideas for both topics and how best to respond to them within the tende...