Bidding is almost always a team effort. The pressure of a deadline, the challenges of positioning your organisation for the contract, the resources needed to pull it together and the honing of key messages takes skill, commitment and collaboration. As a bid consultancy, our clients that achieve the greatest win rates are those who contribute in a way that means we can be at our best – and therefore write the best bids. By working collaboratively, the bid has its best chance of winning.

Here are our top tips for getting the best out of your bid writers and ensuring great collaboration, whether for your in-house team (however large or small) or with a professional bid writer, to ensure your organisation puts its best foot forward and positions itself as the winner!


Be proactive

Thinking about the bid before it comes out supports your bid team and increases your chance of putting your best bid forward when it does eventually arrive. By developing a good relationship with potential buyers, you put yourself in prime position to know and understand the buying organisation’s needs, drivers and expectations for the tender before it is published. This also means that your bid team can be briefed with valuable background information that may not be stated in the tender documentation, but that you have developed over the course of the relationship. Communicating that information to the bid team is ‘gold’; where possible give the bid team the inside information about what the client wants and their journey to the tender itself. This can help them hone and add depth to responses and evidence. It’s important to be proactive ahead of time in meeting and building a relationship with potential buyers, particularly in the public sector as, once the procurement process has commenced, communications between buyers and potential suppliers is restricted.


Be decisive

Making quick, but informed, decisions about bidding is the first step to ensuring your team maximises the time you have to craft the perfect bid. The key decision is whether or not you’re going to bid for the contract; because, having seen the documentation, your bid team is likely already working out what resources, hours, team members and efforts they have, and the countdown has already begun. By making a quick decision (whether yes or no), you’re allowing the bid team the optimum amount of time and space to spend crafting, editing and refining your bid.

As tender writers, where clients delay the bid decision (particularly when they think they have weeks to decide), they forget that competitors who have already made the decision are already working on their bid. Every day that goes past, their competitors are already gaining from that time advantage. Using the maximum timeframe to truly refine and hone their bids. Meanwhile your bid team will be watching the clock and grinding their teeth, whilst calculating what they can fit into the bid with the time remaining. A lack of clarity is not a bidder’s friend. Being decisive about the bid early on (even if it’s a ‘no’), means that you ensure that resources are used to their best effect.


Be responsive

Under pressure from the bid timetable, the bid team needs to use every minute available, not just actually writing the bid, but reading and digesting the information they have received, thinking out the approach, writing, editing, proof-reading, re-writing if necessary, more editing and finalising. This includes a lot of additional ‘behind the scenes’ tasks such as managing formatting issues and word counts, finding and selecting images, ensuring they remain abreast of clarifications and managing contributions. Depending on the size of your team (if just one person is responsible for the whole bid, be extra helpful!), they may also have to review, decide on presentation and ensure all is organised properly. This is in addition to ensuring there is sufficient time for submission and several rounds of proofreading. If the bid team say they need something, assume it’s immediate unless they tell you otherwise. By getting what they need to them as quickly as possible, they can use the information to its best advantage, avoiding last minute scrambles, additions or changes.

A good bid team will be mindful (and both proactive and reactive) to the ongoing process of a developing bid strategy, particularly if messages from the buyers means alterations halfway through. Keeping the bid team up to date in real time means they don’t waste resources and efforts by ensuring they know as soon as possible when there is even a possibility a change needs to be made. Ideally, you will continually be communicating so they know in advance that the focus or message needs adjusting. Timely communication, including the team in the conversation and effective updating is key to your bid being the best it can be.


Be ready to tell the story

Telling the bid team all about the background of the tender, the relationship between the company and the buyer (it may be non-existent but that’s still important information), and the reason you want to bid for the contract allows the bid team to work from facts rather than imagination! By communicating the ‘story’ of (for example) the relationship, or a particular case study or an operational process, the bid team can start creating a strategy for the response and can select the best parts or summarise the whole. Even if you’re not much of a writer yourself, communicating the key points through bullet points or even just talking through with the bid writer how, for example, you resolved an issue, can help the bid team identify, select and include the right information so it can be included in the right sections.


Be ready with the details

If your information is vague and lacking detail, the bid will come across that way to the buyer. This poses the risk under evaluation of the bid coming across as unconvincing. By providing your bid team with specific facts and figures, they can add weight and persuasion to the text and evidence the points they are making. This ensures the bid will be in line for the higher scoring brackets. For example, when writing a case study, the inclusion of the key ‘metrics’ (names, dates, values, locations, measurements, quantities and volumes) can mean the difference between convincing a buyer that you have solid, relatable and verifiable experience, rather than a woolly description of a contract you have previously delivered at some point, with no discernible outcome or result.


Managing, writing and submitting a bid is not an easy task, even with an experienced bid team, but by being aware of how to effectively prepare, support and collaborate with your team, your organisation can put itself in the best position for success!

Contact us if you would like to understand how we can become your outsourced bid team!

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