Business Development

How to Succeed at Bid Management

By Hudson Procurement Group
June 2020

Bid Management Strategies For Success

Bid management plays a vital role in improving success rates when tendering. Diving in headfirst into tendering without a bid management strategy is a sure-fire way to see poor results.

Tendering can often be difficult with many small details needing to be covered. Tenders can be varied in size and complexity, ranging from smaller PQQs to larger ITTs or sometimes even RFPs.

Please see our ‘terminology’ video on Tender VLE to learn more about the terminology that is typically used when tendering. Having the right formula to hit the ground running with bid management is the best way to see success.

The key stages to any good bid management strategy are:

Developing corporate literature

Buyers want to see that your business holds the correct experience and skills to complete jobs to the highest standard. This covers things like:

Policies
Case Studies
CVs
Licenses
Accreditations

It is key for any business looking to showcase their abilities that these are developed in a coherent and formatted manner.

The benefits this provides for a bid management strategy are:

Having consistent and well-developed content to showcase your business’ organisation and professionalism.
Maintaining a bank of information that can be called upon with each tender.
Improving consistent growth and developing a robust bid management strategy for future tenders.
Showcasing your staff and company’s experience in the best possible light.

Let’s look at the above points in more detail.

Brand guidelines

First impressions count, and essential to high-quality bid management is to have brand guidelines in place. These should inform the development of your corporate literature. It should inform the look and feel of your literature, giving a consistent and professional impression to buyers. Brand guidelines are established rules on aspects such as:

Logos, for example use of colour and space
Colour, for example primary brand colours
Font, including font style, size and spacing
Use of images
Icons
Use of templates

When presenting corporate literature to a buyer, the key is to be consistent throughout. Small organisations may have simpler brand guidelines. For example, one or two templates and a selected font. On the other hand, larger organisations will have ‘brand books’ which are full literature in themselves on branding guidelines.

Good brand guidelines help tie together:

Company website content.
Sales and marketing material (including flyers and posters).
Policies and other corporate literature.
Free-flowing tender proposals.

Ensuring that the brand guidelines are comprehensive, clear and consistent will support your bid. Therefore, it is worthwhile to invest in developing good brand guidelines. These will enhance your tender material. It can sometimes mean the difference between becoming the first or second choice to a buyer.

Learn more about branding your documents by visiting Tender VLE. Our Head of Creative, Kathryn Johansen, has a series of masterclasses, detailing how to effectively brand your tender proposal.

Assessing buyer’s demands

Given the often-complex nature of tenders, buyers can often have very specific requirements. Responses that fail to address this will fail to attract buyers and will get lost in the crowd.

This sounds simple; however, this can often be overlooked due to the size of tenders and their corresponding documents.

The key ways of implementing this into your bid management strategy are:

Dedicating enough time to go over the specification documents.
Assessing what each individual question asks and picking out the relevant information which aligns to this.
Carrying out sufficient research on the buyer’s organisation and how it operates.
Planning enough time into your bid management strategy to create responses that reflect the requirements.

The benefits of your bid management strategy are:
Showcasing organisation and ability.
Helping achieve consistency in growth.
Strengthening tender submissions.
Sourcing the correct opportunities
Sourcing opportunities that are right for you and your business are vital.

Developing responses can often be time-consuming, it is vital to assess opportunities prior to committing the time to create responses.

Key things to consider in this include the following:

Do you have the financial capability to deliver the contract? As a general rule of thumb, it isn’t advised to go for contracts with values in excess of half of your annual turnover. You may be excluded from the process if you cannot meet a minimum financial threshold.
Do you have past experience in delivering the services? Buyers usually require 3 past relevant contract examples over the past 3-5 years.
Can you deliver to the area location?
Do you possess sufficient staff to deliver the services?

Considering the above is key. Wasting time bidding for opportunities you don’t have the credentials to fulfil is a guaranteed way of seeing poor results.

Establishing your abilities for contracts is key to ensuring consistent success in bid management.

We provide 11 industry-specific portals that streamline this information for you. this provides more accessible ways to discover new opportunities.

You can book a free demo of any of our portals to see the live system and understand how the systems can help your business.

Creating a thorough Bid Management plan:

Planning is vital to successful bid management. It will allow you to ensure that you spend enough time and effort writing your responses.

Failing to allocate sufficient time in your bid management will be reflected in the quality of response you submit.

To ensure consistent success through bid management, developing a planned week ahead of submission is key.

The key elements to factor in planning are:

How long will each individual question take?
Do you need to create case studies for responses?
What do you need to attach for each question?
Where is the response to be submitted and with what deadlines?
How is the work to be submitted? Some buyers require physical submissions as well as online.
What format do they require your responses in?
Who will be responsible for developing responses?

The above is not exhaustive and will depend on your business. It is vital for bid management to take an approach that covers the above as a very minimum.

See our ‘time management’ video on Tender VLE for further information.

Pricing

When managing your bid, ensuring you thoroughly understand how to accurately price for the contract is essential. The complexity of pricing documents can often be misleading. They are often presented as one or two pages. In contrast to the often many pages required in a quality response, it can be easy to overlook.

To manage your pricing submission effectively, you must:

Read and review all the tender documentation, making a note of all pricing requirements. Pricing instructions are often spread across an ITT, specification, the pricing response document and others. Therefore, it can be fairly easy to miss a requirement if you are not thorough.
Ensure that you are fully familiar with your organisation’s costings, VAT and other expenditures. This sounds obvious – however, bidders can easily get tripped up when approaching their pricing submission. This can be because contract pricing requirements can involve a different approach to costings, breakdowns and additional fees.

Proofreading

Vital to bid management is ensuring all responses are thoroughly proofread before submission. Given the size and scope of certain tenders, mistakes can often be missed. This can convey poor organisation and professionalism to buyers.

Having a robust bid management strategy that carries this out also allows you to ensure your responses reflect the buyer’s demands.

Bid management isn’t just about checking spelling mistakes or grammar, formatting it correctly is essential as well.

Inconsistencies between questions look sloppy and are off-putting to buyers.

The best way to carry out proofreading is:

Have a second person look over your responses. You can often become too attached to responses and fail to address your own mistakes.
Proofread your responses with reference to the specification. It is vital to that you ensure the buyer’s demands are reflected.
Check for inconsistencies in formatting – Ask yourself, are all font sizes and types the same? Are all paragraphs aligned accordingly? Is paragraph spacing consistent?

Have another team member undergo a ‘mock’ evaluation in line with the buyer’s requirements/evaluation guidance.

Create a ‘submission bank’

All tenders require a bespoke approach, tailored to the specification requirements. However, as part of bid management, it can be useful to create ‘boilerplate’ responses. These are simply standardised method statements for how you deliver services. They can be as short or as long as you like. The benefits of developing boilerplate responses are that your methodologies are all in one place. They are ready to tailor to your questions in current and future tenders.

For example, a question may ask about how you will deliver effective contract management. Your boilerplate response may include points about:

Who is responsible for which tasks
What software you use
Your implementation and planning approach
What resources you have available
A list of documentation you refer to

It is always best practice to re-write and edit these responses to ensure they effectively answer the specification. Having these method statements in one place can save you a lot of time, and provide inspiration.

Need Further Support?

Establishing a bid strategy that encompasses the above will allow you to see growth for your business.

Should you need guidance in developing a bid management strategy, please get in touch with our team.

We provide a range of services that are entirely bespoke to your business’ requirements. We will guide you to success in your tendering efforts.

For more information about tendering and the tender process visit Tender VLE.

For more information, or to speak to our team of Bid Management Consultants, please visit our website.

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