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Five things to avoid when bidding

We know that writing a bid proposal isn’t always an easy process so we wanted to share with you our top five things to avoid.

Bidding for the sake of it

In our research we have found a sad fact that the reasons for more than 85% of bid or proposal losses through competitive procurement processes are known to the bidder prior to submission. Taking the time and resources to develop and submit a proposal is a significant investment for your business. Those resources could be put to use and add value elsewhere.

The introduction of a robust bid decision making process is almost always in any business improvement initiative. All high performing organisations focus their efforts on opportunities they will win.

If you haven’t influenced the client on an opportunity, the probability is that one of your competitors has.  In most markets it is quite rare for clients to bring an opportunity to the procurement stage without having sought advice from suppliers, either officially or unofficially. During those conversations suppliers gain insight into the opportunity and influence the client, positioning themselves well for competitive tender.

You should consider that if you have not been party to conversations with the client prior to the opportunity reaching procurement stage, you may well be behind your competition.

Failing on the basics

Procurement professionals will tell you how they never fail to be surprised by the inordinate proportion of bids that fall at the first hurdle – compliance.  People simply don’t follow the instructions and are ruled out.

So, always read the clients documents and instructions carefully. Highlight for yourself key rules and write them into a compliance matrix. Put the compliance matrix on the wall of your war room if possible. Make a special note of delivery instruction details and instructions for portals. Test the portal to become familiar with it. Write applicable key rules into storyboard templates for your contributors. This will help you ensure that you structure responses in accordance with the clients’ instructions and submit a compliant document. Plan to submit it early . . .

Not listening to the client

Another bid toolkit top tip – review the clients specification closely. Don’t assume you know what they are looking for. Take the time to read and review all available specification documents. Your contributors must develop a robust understanding of their requirements to ensure compliance, to build your solution and to be able to submit a sound commercial offer. Having the spec in mind when going to write provides clarity of linkage to the clients requirements and alignment of the language used.

Once you understand the clients baseline requirements – your contributors can highlight areas of your offer that are above their requirements as added value.  This should all be covered by the storyboards in advance of going to write content in detail.

Padding it out

Avoid padding out your document, especially with generic brochure content. There is a natural urge to feel that the more content you have the better.  Clients tend to feel differently. They are looking to see answers to their questions, challenges and issues quickly and easily. Don’t make them read lots of content that they haven’t asked for. It dilutes your proposal and its impact. Other than perhaps exciting additional offers or proposals, only provide what the client has asked for.

Wasting time

Time with your bid team is precious and a costly investment. You must maximise what you get out of it. Poorly organised, prepared and attended meetings are a drag on the bid and a waste.

In preparation for key bid meetings make sure you have:

  • Got the right people confirmed to attend
  • Booked an appropriate room
  • Materials available such as flip charts and pens
  • Booked an appropriate amount of time together
  • Issued documents in advance
  • All participants must have read and understood what the client requires and why.

If the bid leader or bid manager feel that a contributor has been assigned to the bid that is not capable or able to deliver what is required, escalate it early to your sponsor and get the person changed. It is better to make changes early than find issues later on.