When responding to tenders, companies often miss out on valuable marks available to them during the evaluation process by either:
- failing to effectively plan their bid response activities; and / or
- failing to allow sufficient time to respond
There are 10 things which should be considered to avoid these pitfalls and improve your company’s chance of success:
(1) Agree a bid response timeplan and required resources
Often when writing a bid, a number of people are involved in the process. This can range from a variety of subject matter experts being used across the company each required to provide technical information relating to their area of expertise, or to the division of the qualitative and commercial components of the response which requires opposing skillsets. Ultimately, this means that a bid response timeplan needs to be developed so that everyone is aware of their involvement and is able to undertake the work when required.
(2) Agree a response structure and consistent approach
In order to ensure consistency throughout the tender, it is important that a response structure and bid writing approach is agreed upfront. This can include agreeing the required content for each question, e.g. overview, technical information, resources, and timeframe, so that the entire teams uses a consistent style when preparing a response which results in the tender being seen as consolidated flowing from question to question.
(3) Provide access to all necessary information / documents
When writing a bid, it is important that the entire team has access to the various documents which exist in relation to the tender, as this prevents unnecessary delays or questions being asked during the bid writing process. This can include the specification, terms and conditions, pricing model, marking scheme, evaluation criteria, and clarification question responses as these will provide invaluable insight to the different members of the bid writing team.
(4) Ensure that all team members are aware of their question requirements
It is important that the marking scheme, weightings, and evaluation criteria is shared amongst the bid writing team so that everyone is aware of the exact requirements relating to their response. This ensures that they are each able to prepare a response which is fully compliant with the evaluation criteria and prevents information being included which is irrelevant or unnecessary in relation to the question.
(5) Take advantage of the opportunity to ask clarification questions
Most tenders will provide bidders with a timeframe to which they are able to ask questions relating to the tender. This can relate to any subject, and therefore can include the requirements of the specification, the clauses included in the terms and conditions, or the approach that will be adopted to evaluate bids. It is vital that bidders take advantage of this opportunity, and seek clarification on any issues which are vague or unclear.
(6) Ensure that all team members adhere to response limitations
Most tenders include a word / pagination limit for each question so that all bidders are treated equally during the evaluation. When writing a response, it is important that these limitations are adhered to as otherwise it could result in useful information provided at the end of a response being discounted, or more importantly, the tender being deemed non-compliant.
(7) Do not provide non-requested attachments / supporting material
Most tenders will specify any additional documents that need to be submitted as part of a bidder’s response. Again this ensures that bidders are treated equally during the evaluation process and that no bidder is able to submit documents outside of those specified. It is important that the bid writing team adheres to this, as otherwise the additional information could be discounted or the tender deemed non-compliant.
(8) Allow sufficient time for responses to be peer reviewed and / or proof read
When writing bids, it is easy for mistakes to be made, such as failing to respond to a certain point within a question or including typing errors or out-of-date information within a response. To avoid this, it is useful for the entire bid to be peer reviewed and / or proof read by another colleague(s) prior to its submission, as this enables mistakes to be rectified and avoids any unnecessary consequences.
(9) Ensure that all templates have been completed and the required information provided
Usually a tender requires a number of templates to be completed as part of the response, which includes certificates, declarations, pricing schedules etc. It is important that when consolidating the bid prior to its submission a final check in undertaken to ensure that all of the required information has been provided (most importantly the pricing response as this cannot be submitted after the tender deadline).
(10) Allow sufficient time to respond when using an eSourcing Tool
Most companies nowadays use eSourcing Tools to manage their procurement activities, therefore bidders are required to ensure that they know how to use the tool and are able to submit their tender in accordance with the eSourcing Tool requirements and tender deadline. It is useful that the person within the bid team who is responsible for submitting the tender response is familiar with the tool in advance of the tender deadline so that they do not encounter any unforeseen pitfalls.
If you need help or advice about Bid Writing, please don’t hesitate to contact our bid team for a free informal chat.
Tel: 0800 917 7884