FCS Associates

What Makes A Winning Bid?

July 27, 2015

When recently helping a client respond to a tender, they asked the million dollar question, what makes a winning bid?  Well as is often the case it isn’t just about one thing but a number of things which make the difference.

Answer the Question

What Makes a Winning Bid?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Firstly, answer the question that is being asked rather than the question that you wish they had asked. What I mean by this is that it is important to really look at the wording of the question and if it asks for an explanation of your experience in relation to the contract being tendered then respond to this, don’t just ‘copy and paste’ your standard company description thinking this will suffice, it will not.

Use Their Language

It is also important to use the language and common words that the buyer uses in a bid. For example, often in tenders for school services participants are ‘pupils’, whereas in further education bids, participants are ‘learners’. This may seem a very small point but what it shows is that you really understand the sector and how it operates.

Watch The Word Count

Keeping your response to a question within the stated word count is another essential aspect and some evaluators will even discard additional words resulting in your bid presenting an incomplete answer. At the very least the reviewer will be ‘switched off’ by your bid. Other common errors include poor spelling, confused use of bullets and numbering, tight line spacing and small font, all of which make it difficult for an evaluator to understand your response and if they have multiple responses to read (which is often the case) they may not have the time to persevere.

Tailor Your Proposal

Tailoring your proposal to the specific opportunity is also essential, unfortunately an ‘oven ready’ tender often doesn’t deliver success. Ensuring that you highlight relevant examples of experience; the public sector is risk averse by nature and therefore they are rarely looking for complete novices to deliver essential services.

Be Competitive and Realistic with Pricing

Finally cost is a key aspect. Being competitive (but also realistic) about your pricing is essential, gone are the days when the public sector was a soft market today they look for rebates and cost reductions in return for the payment security and the credence that comes with delivery.

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