You’ve found a tender that you want to go for – great news! Follow these basic tips for writing a successful bid.
They might sound a bit obvious but I know they can often get overlooked in the buzz of bidding for new business. Here are my top ten tips for writing winning bids:
1) First things first, make sure that your company meets the minimum requirements for the opportunity. These will be set out in the bid documents. You don’t want to waste time and resources submitting a bid that is doomed to failure from the beginning!
2) Pass / Fail questions do what they say on the tin… If your answer doesn’t meet the Pass criteria then the client’s assessor is likely to fail your entire submission. Always check through the Pass/Fail questions first to make sure you will pass them before starting work on the rest of the bid.
3) Assume ignorance! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the person reading your bid knows anything about your company, even if you are already working with the organisation that you are bidding to work with.
4) Answer all the questions as fully as possible. If you can’t provide all the information then explain why not rather than leaving blanks. Use N/A (not applicable) for the questions that are not relevant to your company.
5) Read the submission instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. Check early on to see what format/s are needed – leave enough time at the end for printing and packaging hard copies. This always takes long than you think and no amount of willpower can make a printer go quicker.
6) Now is not the time for modesty! Make sure you clearly explain what you do, how you do it and why your company is a good fit for the opportunity. It takes time and care to craft well-written bid responses but remember that this is the only information that the client will be assessing.
7) Stay within the word limits. The assessor may well stop reading anything over the word limit. Also try to use the word limits as a rough guide for how long to make your answer. The contracting organisation is looking for a certain level of information, e.g. 100 words is a quick overview whereas a limit of 1000 words means they want a detailed in-depth answer. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a minimum of 80% of the word count.
8) Give substance to your answers. Back up what you have said with evidence – statistics, quotes from clients, awards and accreditations all add credibility to your bid.
9) Use diagrams and photographs to illustrate your bid. A picture tells a thousand words… and often don’t count towards a word limit! A well-presented bid that makes good use of graphics will give a great first impression and will be easier to read.
10) Last but definitely not least – read, review and proofread your bid. Use the client’s evaluation criteria (from the bid documentation) to mark the bid from their perspective. It can be helpful to get someone else who hasn’t written the bid to review it from an objective viewpoint. Be critical and thorough with this, you want to make sure you’ve said what you think you have.
If you are bidding at the moment then good luck! Bids and tenders really aren’t that complicated, you just need to read the documents carefully and tell the client about your business.
These tips will help you get through the procurement process and allow your business to be assessed on its own merit rather than failing on a technicality. If you’ve covered the basics then your bid has every chance of success!
For more great tips and advice like this, Follow Sarah on Twitter @BidConsultant