There were a few challenges to overcome in this project, these include:
A large number of questions for some of the tenders
Strict page limits, in complex subject areas
Keeping responses fresh on an ongoing basis
East of England
Won (85% success rate ongoing)
We initially had a meeting back in 2012 with a company struggling to maintain their previous success in securing new contracts. Having previously written their own tenders, the client’s in-house bid writing team had initially prospered but their success rate had since declined noticeably. This had led to concerns both on their ability to win new contracts and grow as a company, as well as remaining as an incumbent on their existing contracts.
Following a gap analysis it was quickly established that there were a number of errors being made across their bid process, including over-reliance on stock answers, a lack of relevant information, and an inability to respond to each question fully. Initially we completed two PQQs and a tender on their behalf. We were successful with one PQQ and the tender and made the recommendation not to bid on the second PQQ as the company did not meet the financial prerequisites. This approach ensured that the company did not waste valuable resources in bidding for a contract at which they were unlikely to be successful.
This early success reaffirmed their decision to use our bid writing services and in the next four months we completed seven PQQs and one further tender, all of which were successful.
The client then entered into a retention agreement with us, meaning we oversee and complete all of their PQQ and tender submissions and they have a dedicated account manager within our team. A formal bid library has also been produced, allowing the continual refinement and improvement of their submissions, as well as streamlining the process.
To date, we have completed hundreds of bids on behalf of this client, helping them secure new key contracts and retain those already secured. Their primary focus is bidding into housing associations, and as such we have modified our bid library to reflect this. Our success rate prior to retention across all their submissions was 80%. Following the ongoing retention of our services this has now increased to 85% – in line with our industry beating success rate for all the PQQs and ITTs we complete for our clients.
We have scored some of the highest scores we have ever seen for any client and we have also been able to provide procurement advice when the company felt that the Contracting Authority was not conducting the procurement process properly and asked us for further support.
In one particular bid example, we assisted the client with a complicated cleaning and grounds maintenance contract. As the incumbent, the client was keen to win the contract to retain their status, particularly as they had built up close and productive links with the contracting authority.
The main difficulties associated with this submission were the large number of questions, each of which had strict page limits, covering a large number of sub-topics, as well as font size limits. This meant that all answers were required to be concise and fully answer the question, as well as provide supporting evidence. This supporting evidence included a large number of policies, procedures and documents, such as health and safety method statements. Although these were attached as appendices, we were required to introduce these within each answer, lessening the space available to write each narrative response.
By analysing all material currently in our possession and discussing with the client, we broke down each question into its constituent parts, identifying the information and supporting evidence required to answer it in full. Once this was done we then wrote each narrative response, sending them to the client as they were completed so that they could be quality assured by them, returned and amended before being proofread and quality assured before submission. This ‘rolling’ review process enabled all responses to be checked quickly and efficiently, avoiding wasting time and having to rush the review close to the submission deadline.
This approach bore fruit – the bid was successful, with the feedback commenting positively on the answers provided within the submission. By retaining the contract the client was able to grow further and develop. We look forward to supporting the client with many more tenders in future.