Bidding for work is a great way to grow your business. However, when you’re faced with a huge tender pack consisting of numerous pages and pages long of documents, it can be very daunting…especially if it is new to you!
Step 1: Find the right bid for your business
Finding the right bid for your business is essential, but you may be wondering where to even begin in terms of searching for possible opportunities.
There are plenty of websites that post multi-sector opportunities and leads daily. We recommend optimising one centralised and easy-to-navigate portal, as this will likely save you a lot of time.
From our experience, the best way to search for new opportunities is to find a portal that uploads and categorises tenders by keywords, location, budget and more can streamline the process and make it stress-free.
Simply relying on CPV codes can lead to missed opportunities as they can often contain typos.
Step 2: Planning and Research
How to prepare for a bid submission?
Planning and research are paramount to achieving a successful bid response!
As mentioned previously, receiving a huge tender pack can be very daunting, being presented with so many documents and not knowing where to begin.
First things first, you will need to read through the document to ensure that you meet the minimum eligibility criteria.
There’s nothing worse than wasting resources starting a tender only to realise that you do not meet the minimum requirements later down the line. We advise you to check that you:
- Meet the economic and financial standing
- Meet the level of experience that is expected
- Meet the minimum turnover
- Have sufficient resources to carry out the contract
- Can complete the service / provide the necessary products
Once you have confirmed your business is able to meet the above, you will want to read through the tender/ITT document and make note of all the important dates and what documents you will need.
Things to look out for are:
- Clarification question deadline
- Final submission deadline
- Site visit deadline (if applicable)
- Documents you need to return
- Format of submission
To ease the pressure and stress, make sure you plan and know how to prepare for a bid submission so you can complete your responses with plenty of time before the final submission deadline.
Tenders can be complex and require numerous documents to be submitted. Allowing yourself plenty of time at the end to ensure everything has been completed and all forms have been signed will make the submission a lot less stressful…writing from experience here!
Unexpected delays may crop up at the end, so planning ahead allows you to safeguard your response in case of this.
For example, technical issues may arise if numerous companies are trying to upload to a portal at the same time. Get in there first to avoid this!
Internal deadlines are your best friends when it comes to bid planning. Set yourself and your team achievable mini-deadlines throughout the process to help keep your bid on track.
Step 3: Writing a winning bid
So, what does a winning bid look like?
Writing a high-quality response is essential; even if the weighting on quality is less than the price, buyers still care about the quality of the written responses.
You need to be persuasive and convince the buyer that you are better than your competition.
When you’re writing your response, you should:
Our favourite word, plan, pops up again!
Planning your responses is vital to creating that all-important winning response and will help you to understand how to prepare for a bid submission.
Here at BWS, we put together a Bid Book, a comprehensive bid plan that details the question being asked and provides space for us to bullet point how we will respond.
We recommend utilising something similar as it encourages you to think about your response and ensure you answer the question in full.
This is also the ideal stage to think about your unique selling point; what makes you stand out from your competitors?
Make sure this is clearly detailed in your bid response!
Structuring and formatting bid responses can often get overlooked, but ensuring your bid is clearly set out can go a long way in the eye of the buyer/reader.
Think about it, if you were the reader, would you rather read pages and pages of text or a document that has been clearly set out with headings, subheadings and bullet points?
It will only work in your favour against your competition. Most bid packs from buyers come with a specification document, and this is where the buyer will detail their minimum requirements.
This a great starting point for structuring your responses, as you can use these as your subheadings. It also shows the buyer that you have done your homework and read their documents in great detail.
Formatting your response will also ensure that you are answering every aspect of the question asked.
Bullet points will also help keep your response ordered and to the point. The buyers are after detailed responses, but not ‘waffle’.
Utilising bullet points will allow your responses to remain concise!
Your responses need to be precise, don’t allow the buyer to speculate, as this can allow wrong assumptions to be made.
Clearly explain everything and keep the jargon as simple as possible. Don’t assume the reader knows anything about your business or what you offer.
Be mindful of the word count
Word counts are an invaluable way to determine the level of detail the buyer is expecting you to provide.
When writing your bid, you should aim for your answer to be as close to the word or page counts as possible. They have been provided for a reason.
If the buyer has allocated a 1000-word limit, simply writing one paragraph will not suffice; however, don’t then make the mistake of ‘waffling’ and writing words just for the sake of it.
Make sure your answers remain relevant, clear and concise. Again, ensuring your response is well-structured plays an important role here!
Step 4: Get your price right
Ensuring you get your price right for your services/products is essential to writing a winning bid.
Pricing your services/products too low is likely to raise questions with regard to your legitimacy, but pricing too high against your competitors will also rule you out.
The evaluation criteria for each contract differ and will depend on the buyer’s needs.
The weightings will differ, but normally you tend to find a split between two or three aspects:
- Social Value (for public sector contracts)
As you would expect, the private and public sectors differ in how they award contracts.
The private sector has a little more flexibility in terms of what they are allowed to do, and they are not bound by the same rules as the public sector.
They can if a private organisation wants to award a contract based on price alone.
On the other hand, the public sector has certain rules and regulations they need to abide by to award a bid to a supplier.
Public sector organisations will award bids to the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT).
A buyer will take into account a range of factors, which will be specified in their tender documents and evaluate them. Examples of these could be:
- Technical ability
- Ability to deliver on time
- Contract management
- Customer Service
- Health & Safety
- Environmental considerations
Step 5: Submission
The final thing to do before you submit is proofread your responses.
This is where sufficient planning throughout the process comes in handy. Allowing yourself a day or two before the deadline can help with this.
If possible, it is also advised to get a fresh pair of eyes to look over your bid before you submit it. This can help spot any spelling or grammar mistakes the writer has become blind to.
Once this stage has been completed, you can finally submit all your hard work and wait to hear back from the buyer!
Don’t stress; it can take a while for them to reply as some tenders get hundreds of responses.
Most of the time, the expected award date is detailed in the tender documents, so it is worth making a note of that, but even so, on occasions, buyers are not able to stick to their original timetable if they have been inundated with responses. Be patient, and they will get back to you in due course!
You will not likely succeed with every bid you submit, but that’s okay!
Should you be unsuccessful, you are well within your rights to ask for feedback from the buyer and use these comments as lessons learned for future submissions.
It is a great way to learn and improve your future responses.
Need help bidding for a contract?
We understand that not everyone has the time, resources or experience to go through the bidding process and write a winning response.
Outsourcing to a bid writing service is an invaluable way to set you up for bid success.
Here at BWS, we offer bid writing services that could help you on your bidding journey and help you to understand how to prepare a bid submission: