When preparing a tender, it is not possible to cut corners and still produce a competitive tender. However, we have compiled a list of seven things you can do to improve your overall bid experience and increase your chances of success.
Through discussion with our bid writing specialists, we have compiled a list of seven ways you can improve the quality of your bids and your overall success rates. Nothing suggested below is ‘out of the ordinary’ or difficult to put into practice. However, some (if not all) of the below steps are often overlooked, and by building them into your process you should see a marked improvement.
It is not realistic to expect one writer to continuously manage multiple projects with competing deadlines without any consideration of the time/effort needed to complete them. You should therefore maintain a clear pipeline of tenders by monitoring PIN notices and expiration dates of tenders up for renewal, and submission dates of those you’re interested in so you can prioritise and plan. Pressure will also be reduced on members of your team by:
- Assigning roles to team members – if multiple people are involved in producing the bid think about each team member’s experience and their capacity to take on work. For example, a project manager may be best placed to produce a mobilisation response.
- Collate support documents – buyers regularly request policies, procedures, mobilisation charts and other documentation. By keeping this in one area (and reviewing it periodically) it will save time collating documents. Furthermore, by producing model mobilisation charts, or staffing structures, you will be able to adapt and tailor these on a project-by-project basis.
- Collating notes and model answers where appropriate so that company information and statistics is saved in one place.
Whilst this may initially seem counterintuitive, it is often sound logic. Often, we find companies stretching themselves and their tendering resource too thin. This means that there is no bid strategy in place, and they are bidding for anything that has a tenuous link to suitability. Where appropriate tenders do come along, they then do not receive the attention required.
By focussing on fewer bids, you will have increased time and resource to dedicate to each and will see a marked improvement in the quality of your submissions, and most likely the outcome. Furthermore, by bidding exclusively for contracts you have a good chance of winning, your bid strategy will naturally come together, and you will begin to build a portfolio of useful, high-quality material that can be used in the future, streamlining the bid writing process.
Create a bid library
As you complete more and more tenders you will organically begin to accumulate responses with similar themes, information and case studies. By taking the time to index them into a bid library (usually based on topics) you will have a library of ‘ready to use and edit’ material for future bids. These responses should be edited and refined to reflect the question being asked, with updated versions then added to the library so that it continues to grow and reflect the most relevant information.
The bid library will then remain constantly adaptable following feedback from submissions, saves time and hugely improves the quality of responses. However, when reusing information, you must avoid copying and pasting to ensure your responses are relevant. See our recent blog about using pre-existing materials for further information.
Consult your team
Whilst one person may be responsible for writing responses and managing the submission, it is important that other members of the team are involved to:
- See if anyone has completed similar responses/tenders and, if so, can information be repurposed.
- Collect information from service specialists to gain an insight into exactly how your company can provide the best service.
- Ensure appropriate examples/evidence is collected. Your bid writer is often removed from the day-to-day delivery of the service. By speaking with frontline staff you are therefore able to collect valuable examples to supplement your bid and evidence your commitments.
Highlight specific benefits
It is important that you never leave the buyer guessing when reading your responses. When writing it is therefore important to always explain what you will do, how you will do it, and the implicit benefits that it will bring. For example, when writing about recruitment explain how you will do this locally and the benefits of doing so such as contributions to the local economy, localised knowledge etc. By doing this throughout, added value is implied and your tender will go from simply answering the question to evidencing added value.
Use a proofreader
This is often a step that is overlooked by in-house bid writers. However, grammatical errors, poor spelling, or repetitive language can detract from what you are saying, making the overall submission appear unpolished and sloppy. Whilst not necessarily altering the content, by having an impartial, second set of eyes read and critique the writing and presentation of your tender, the overall quality will increase as it will be free from errors and the readability verified. At Executive Compass all responses are proofread before being sent to our clients.
If unsuccessful always ask for feedback. This will highlight strengths and weaknesses in your bid that will help you improve in the future as you incorporate this into your ongoing tender submissions.
For more information on improving your success rate contact us free on 0800 612 5563 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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