In recognition of International Women's Day, we asked a member of our bid writing team, Rachel Wright, to provide some insights into the role of a bid writer, from her perspective.
I daresay most professional tender writers would agree that no two days are the same, as supporting different clients who are working in different industries, bidding for different opportunities presents different challenges. However, I am a creature of habit, and each day starts the same.
Armed with a cup of tea, I log in to my computer. I check my inbox for client messages and internal emails to assess if my priorities for the day need to change. In an industry driven by immovable deadlines, prioritisation is key. Today, there is just a note from a domiciliary homecare client confirming they have submitted their tender ahead of the deadline and thanking us for our support. A nice way to start the day! I review today’s to-do list, assigning myself mini deadlines throughout to keep my goals in clear focus.
The whole Executive Compass team meets virtually on Teams for our daily board meeting. We run through the progress of current projects to ensure they remain on track. I share a brief update about the client call I had yesterday with a homecare provider who is bidding for a new adult reablement contract. The call went well! The client shared lots of helpful, detailed information about their ways of working, and will send some supporting documentation today for me to refer to while writing.
Today, I am beginning to write the first responses for the client I spoke with yesterday. During the call, we talked through each of the tender questions in turn, discussing their unique ways of working and examples of this in practice which I can use to evidence their experience and suitability.
My aim for today is to complete two responses: one about safeguarding and one about innovation. I listen back to our call in full (recorded to ensure accuracy in our writing). For each question, the council has included a comprehensive bullet point list detailing what the response must demonstrate. To structure my writing, I use their bullet points as headings under which I drag and drop relevant notes from our call, rearranging them to ensure the response flows. The tight word limit means my writing must be simultaneously detailed and concise. These headings serve as a reminder to remain on topic, and I allocate a target word count for each section to help me stay on track.
To maximise the strength of my responses, I:
- Refer to the specification, highlighting the way in which my client meets or exceeds their requirements to convincingly address their criteria.
- Conduct research online about the council’s priorities as reported in their latest neighbourhood plan, demonstrating how my client can support their wider community aims through this contract.
- Use reliable sources such as the Social Care Institute for Excellence website to find specific information relating to best practice.
I also call a senior colleague to seek advice about how best to address a slightly ambiguous element within the question to ensure I deal with it appropriately. Drawing on the considerable expertise within our team during a short conversation can save a significant amount of time during the quality review process and therefore is very worthwhile.
It is time to take a break from my screen and grab some lunch. I work from home and try to make it out for a short walk in the Wiltshire countryside for a dose of vitamin D and a change of scene. Invariably, I have inspiration about something I am writing while out and use the voice recorder on my mobile to record my thoughts and incorporate them on my return.
Once my response is complete, I use Word’s ‘read aloud’ function to listen to what I have written: sometimes it is easier to hear errors than see them. I identify opportunities to refine my writing, freeing up a few words to include more persuasive content and make explicit links to the question, making it as easy as possible for the evaluator to see why my client is a great fit. Next, I send the response to one of our quality reviewers specialising in health and social care. They return it with suggestions to improve the quality of the response, e.g. including an additional example demonstrating prior experience and success. I make the amendments accordingly, double check that the word count remains within the limit, and send it for proofreading: the final step in our quality review process. Then, I begin writing the next response.
With the end of the day on the horizon, I start preparing for tomorrow. I update the project matrix on which I track my progress and write a new to-do list, establishing my priorities for the next day. Before signing out, my proofed response is returned, so I send this to my client straight away, maximising the time they have to review it. I let them know when they can expect the next response to help them manage their time; after all, this tender is just one of many things they are juggling, and I am here to make things as easy as possible!
Our writers, including Rachel, are highly experienced in supporting clients with their tendering needs. For more information on SQ writing, tender responses and bid management services, contact our team today at 0800 612 5563 or at email@example.com.
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