Sometimes there will be only a few marks between failing a bid and being awarded an important contract. When writing a tender every mark counts and you must be at the top of your game to overcome the competition and produce a high-quality bid submission.
A lot of companies see bid writing as a chore or a desk clearing exercise. It is, however, important to remember that a few lost marks in a tender could lose you a multi-million pound contract! It really is worth investing the time to complete your PQQ or tender to the highest quality.
Make sure you score the highest marks available with our bid writers’ top three tips to improve your bid writing.
Tip 1: Plan your tender response
If you have a short time-frame to complete a bid, planning your submission may be something you feel you can’t devote much time to; however, it is important to fully understand the tender specification, evaluation criteria and any important areas for your response.
Go through the tender specification and highlight any pass/fail criteria, any possible pitfalls and also any areas for focus — if there is a certain membership, certification or part of delivery of the contract that requires particular focus, make sure you highlight this early on so that you emphasise it as you complete your submission.
As well as meeting all of the main points in the tender evaluation criteria, use this opportunity to go above and beyond and offer the contracting authority added value. This is one of the main areas that authorities will be looking for (especially in the public sector as efficiency and cost savings are high on the agenda) so planning ahead will be beneficial.
We recommend using the specification and evaluation criteria to create a writing plan and deconstruct the questions. This is particularly useful if you are compiling a large bid document. If for example, a 2,000 word limit seems intimidating, break this down, addressing the question section by section, always referring back to the specification.
Tip 2: Provide evidence
For every statement or point you include in your written tender response you should back this up with suitable evidence and make it clear why you are including this. Source suitable statistics, contract examples and proof to back up the point you are making, and why. Be straightforward and clear about why you are giving this information and always refer back to the question.
“…we currently fulfil four long-term contracts for the maintenance of air conditioning and ductwork systems. This includes planned and reactive servicing of an aggregated total exceeding 40,000+ units at 589 sites across the South East of England…”
The above extract and case study is taken from a tender response answering a question about previous contract experience. Adding a suitable case study, and lots of figures and stats, is good practice and persuasive, rather than simply answering that you have delivered a similar service in the past. The majority of the time the contracting authority is looking for ways to deduct marks from your tender response, not award you marks: you must ensure there is little scope for them to knock marks off your answer by providing a compliant, persuasive response filled with evidence.
Tip 3: Make sure your quality answers have enough depth
This may seem like a simple tip, but most of the unsuccessful tenders we review for clients simply lack depth or evidence, and have consequently lost marks as there was not enough information in the responses.
Sticking to tip 2 should help with this. However, it is important to utilise the full word or page limits you have been given, as well as any allowance for supporting documents, case studies, policies and procedures. All of these together will make up a compliant, persuasive bid document which is going to score high marks and impress the evaluator. If in doubt, have a professional bid writer review your submission and offer a critique before the document is submitted to get advice on how to strengthen the bid and point out any areas which may be a little weak. See our review service for more information on this.