The difference between winning and losing a bid can be literally a couple of percentile. Small but important things can make a significant difference to increasing your probability of success with major bids. An outline of the key ones from our perspective are as follows:
Understand your client’s key reasons for the project or work. What is driving the project, where does the focus need to be and how have they got to where they are now? Understanding their key result areas is critical as it provides the themes for your bid submission. Address their requirements and focus on the benefits your teams approach brings via a feasible solution.
Maximise the use of your client interaction sessions. The best way to understand your client’s requirements and to build trust is to spend time face to face with them. Ask questions, clarify areas unclear in the tender documents and ensure you ask for feedback on your progress to date.
Embed your winning bid strategies and key themes throughout the document. A challenge with larger bid submissions is that the writing can divided up between your team. This can lead to the overall bid submission coming across as disjointed and not consistent with its flow. Ensure peer reviews are undertaken to bring the sections together so that your key themes link rather than falter from section to section.
Get the balance right between words and visuals. A great tender has the ability to explain an approach but be sure to balance it with visuals that tell a terrific story. Review your bid and ensure you have an appropriate balance between the two.
Address the tender requirements. Tenders I have reviewed have a wealth of information. Unfortunately some don’t address the tender evaluation requirements. Extra appendices or additional information not asked for can create frustration for tender evaluation teams. By following the clients approach to the letter, you make it easy for evaluation teams to allocate marks to your team against what they asked for.
Use appropriate case studies. Case studies are a terrific way to give confidence to clients that you understand their problems and you have solved them before in similar engagements. Ensure they are relevant, focused on the issues that your client in this tender are looking to be addressed and are relevant to the particular industry.
Balance people and task. With tenders, there is a real need to ensure that you not only provide a technical solution and capability to address their problems but balance this with your methodology and approach around the people proposed for the project. Who are they, what is their specific experience that will benefit the client and providing confidence around how they are going to work together are all important considerations. People work with people they trust. Get them in front of your client to build the trust needed to win the bid. This requires good planning and intelligence on your client to ensure that you do this even prior to a tender process commencing.
The thrill of winning a bid is fantastic. The disappointment that comes with losing a tender is hard for your team. Don’t have regrets around your tender writing process. Ensure that you address the key requirements above and you will go a long way to increasing your probability of success.