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Article Details

Published Date: 24-05-2024
Author: Ciaran Brass
Category: News & Insight
Connect with Ciaran Brass

Two years into their successful bid writing careers, we sit down with Matthew and Jay to learn about the bid and tender knowledge they have gained, what projects they are working on and their favourite part about working at Executive Compass.

Since joining Executive Compass in 2022 as trainee bid writers, Matthew Long and Jay Duffy have worked on hundreds of SQ and ITT submissions, and have contributed to the business’s 85% success rate.

Below, the bid writers share their experience and working life prior to joining the company, the day-to-day life as a bid writer, and just a few of their favourite things about all things public sector procurement.

Tell us a bit about yourself – what did you do before joining Executive Compass?

Matthew: “Prior to joining Executive Compass, I was the manager of a restaurant. I also wrote columns for a local newspaper and worked part-time for a marketing company, both as a copywriter and travelling around the country attending sales exhibitions, in addition to publishing a book about Northumberland in aid of a dementia charity.”

Jay: “Before joining the company, I completed my bachelor’s degree in business management, specialising in sales and marketing. During university I worked in a startup medical business, originally managing their online sales platforms.

To support and accelerate the business, I also began leading the company’s bidding strategy, successfully securing placement on DPS agreements which was where my interest in bid writing started.”

What projects are you currently working on?

Matthew: “At the moment, I’m supporting clients with a variety of projects, including:

  • A supported living framework for a local council
  • An alternative education provision on behalf of a local authority
  • A servicing and maintenance contract for fire and security safety equipment.

I am also assisting an IT company with a submission for cloud support.”

Jay: “Currently, I’m working on three bids:

  1. A security services contract, with the successful candidate required to provide a range of security services for the NHS.
  2. A roofing contract for a local university which covers the maintenance and repair of multiple sites as well as the inspection and certification of access equipment.
  3. A catering contract for NHS sites covering the provision of hot and cold meals.”

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned as a bid writer?

Matthew: “Probably just how important the bid writing process is in procurement, encompassing a range of different industries and services. For example, the first project I led was a tender for the supply of ballpoint pens, and one of the first team projects I worked on was a huge submission for the supply and installation of charity collection bins. I’ve also written several tenders for clients bidding internationally, including in the Netherlands and the USA.”

Jay: “The most interesting thing I’ve learned is how much of an impact an effective bid strategy can have on an organisation.

The number of contract opportunities that are posted daily means that, with the right approach, organisations can effectively secure a pipeline of work and implement a sustainable growth strategy. This allows them to scale their staff, increase profitability and diversify their product offering.”

Can you name one bid writing tip that has helped you through the years?

Matthew: “One of the first things I was taught by our quality reviewers during training was ‘there is no such thing as a stupid question.’ Although many of us develop specialisms as bid writers, it is both clients and reviewers who have the subject matter expertise when it comes to the various industries that we write about.

Therefore, it’s important to extract as much accurate and relevant information as possible in order to write a winning tender.”

Jay: “The most important tip I received was to consider what is valuable to the reader (evaluator) in a response. Whilst a company’s successes and achievements are important and, in most cases, relevant, it’s important to understand that the buyer needs to know what will happen should they award the contract to your company.

As such, moving the tone of writing from a sales and marketing perspective in favour of an evidence-based approach ultimately produces high-quality, persuasive tender responses.”

What’s your favourite thing about working for Executive Compass?

Matthew: “The best thing about the job is the many different sectors you encounter as a writer, meaning you learn something new every day. Working with a wide range of clients across a variety of different industries, some projects can be more challenging than others, and it’s always interesting to develop your knowledge. It’s also nice to know all the hard work has paid off whenever you help a client win a ‘must-win’ submission.”

Jay: “My favourite thing about working at Executive Compass is the range of clients I work with. One week I can be supporting a small organisation on their first bid, providing the necessary advice to navigate submission portals and SQs, and the next helping large organisations who complete dozens of tenders each year.”

Since joining, Matthew and Jay have made valuable contributions to our bid and tender writing team. As more experienced members, they now support our more junior bid writers, advising on technical elements of submissions, breaking down question sets, and navigating complex portals.

If you would like to learn more about the bid and tender services we provide, including bid writing, bid review and bid training courses, our sales and marketing team are available for an informal chat at or 0800 612 5563.

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