Business Development

What is a Bid Writer?

By Hudson Procurement Group
July 2020

A Bid Writer is someone who is responsible for completing PQQ’s and tenders in order to secure new contracts or funding.

More and more organisations are outsourcing this role to freelance Bid Writers or bid writing companies, such as ourselves. This is due to organisations not having the appropriate time or resources, and that is ok.

Bid Writers are paramount to any business or organisation. Whether this is a large corporation or an SME.

It can sometimes take hours, or days to complete a bid. This means Bid Writers have to possess a specific set of skills. They have to be organised and devoted to the task at hand.

Excellent communication skills are essential too – this cannot be underestimated.

A Bid Writing environment is fast-paced and full of never-ending deadlines. To be a Bid Writer and be successful in your role, you need to keep your composure.

A Bid Writer will research your sector extensively. They will create answers, develop winning themes and ensure your proposal stands out from the crowd.

So, what is a Bid Writer? It is one of the most important positions in any organisation.

Breaking down the bid

Once the tender documents are released, the Bid Writer needs to carefully analyse the submission. This is to ensure the client can meet all the requirements set out in the specification.

Important questions such as; is the organisation ‘bid ready’? Do they have the relevant material? Will they satisfy the mandatory pass or fail requirements? Must be asked.

From this analysis, the Bid Writer will note important information:

Significant dates deadline for clarification requests, submission deadline, contract award and contract commencement.

The work involved:

What is expected from the Bid Writer and what is needed from the client?
Is the work from more than one Bid Writer needed in order hit the deadline?
Specific bid requirements – are specific accreditations, policies and procedures required? Are case studies compulsory? And does the organisation have relevant contract examples?
Breaking down the opportunity is another way of asking, is this the right bid and tender for you?

Doing this initially not only prevents the client from spending unnecessary money but it also saves time and resource.

Planning the bid

Even with extensive knowledge of the tendering process, no two bids are the same. There can be so much variation.

Here at Hudson Succeed, we have created a standardised, extensive, easy to follow Bid Plan. Used to document outlining actions, timescales and resources needed to complete and submit.

Within this plan, we break down the questions and plan our approach.

For more information on breaking down a question, please see our Tender VLE.

We completely tailor our Bid Management to the requirements of the client and the opportunity. Our Bid Plans include:

Bid specifics – what is the opportunity? Who is the buyer?
Portal for submission – how to access
A submission checklist – what final documentation needs to be submitted along with the quality answers, i.e. a declaration
Clarifications – have any been submitted?
PQQ – is a PQQ required?
Case studies – Do they need to be provided? And if so, via the portal or via a document?
Information on word/character counts – this can be a true challenge for any Bid Writer!
Information needed – what information is required from the client in order to create a winning quality response? i.e. pricing schedule, key personnel.
Deadlines – when do we need this information from the client?

Once the client has made a decision on whether to go for an opportunity, our Bid Writers always present clients with a tailored, extensive Bid Plan within 48 hours.

Communication is KEY

When undergoing the tender process and assisting clientele, collaborative working is essential. Neither the client nor the Bid Writer will be able to achieve their common goal – a winning bid – without this.

As a Bid Writer at Hudson Succeed, we never claim to be subject matter experts.

We are experts in Bid Writing and Bid Management.

The client is the one who knows their business and their industry inside out. It is essential that the client or service specialists provide the writer with key information.

It is then the Bid Writer’s responsibility to turn that information into a high-quality narrative – a tender response that will score to win. A response that fully answers the question and aligns with the evaluation criteria.

The role of the client

To have a clear view of the service they are going to offer
Ensure that the information and material they provide to the writer is clear and concise
To explain the technical details and the concept of the service
Test the draft responses for factual accuracy
Stick to the agreed deadlines – whether providing materials or a review

The role of the Bid Writer

To take the time to understand the detailed bid requirements- what the buyer is looking for
Explain to the client what the tendering process is – from the perspective of the buyer
Work collaboratively with the client throughout the process
Provide the client with clear advice and guidance on the best way to meet the specification requirements
Plan their time carefully and be organised
To prepare high-quality narrative

The more technical information needed is usually gathered by:

Telephone interviews
Emails
Editing and reviewing draft content
Teamwork
A key component of any successful business development is a highly skilled bid team.

It is crucial that each member of a Bid Team is aware of each project and their timescales. Clear communication underpins any working environment.

There may be instances what arise where Bid Writers are tasked with a large project with a tight deadline. When under this strain, it is important to cooperate.

A cohesive team is a more successful team.

The essential skills for a Bid Writer

When people ask, what is a Bid Writer? What does it take to be a Bid Writer? Well… there are 4 major fundamentals.

These are:

Being able to understand your audience – knowing who the buyer is and what they stand for is vital. Mirroring buyer language is key, to gain acceptance for your bid.
Keeping things clear – Do not use ‘flowery language’ in your responses. Being elaborate, ornate and poetic when writing bids is impractical. Instead, opt for clear headings, short sentences and informative language. Cut the ‘fluff’.
Keeping things concise – Buyers won’t be reading your response for leisure or entertainment. They are simply combing through the text to mark you off in terms of compliance. Therefore, concision is crucial. The evaluators will thank you for it!
The ability to be engaging – don’t be boring! Add an element of creativity and positivity in your tender responses. This will engage the evaluators and keep them interested.

Bid writing skills & Bid Management are essential to the tender process, but what is bid writing and why is it so important? In essence, a ‘bid’ is another word for a tender. When tendering for work, you will nearly always be asked to complete a tender, or bid, that involves submitting a pricing document of some kind and a quality submission. The quality submission is usually a set of questions to which you write a response. Questions often cover topics such as; contract management, quality management, staffing and resources and other, industry-specific topics.

Honing your bid writing skills is key to success if you want to score highly on the quality aspect of a submission, but how do you go about that? Well, a good starting point is our free to use, online resource Tender VLE which features short, easily digestible videos covering the basics of tendering. We regularly upload new content which covers everything from tender terminology to hints and tips on how to write strong tender responses. However, to get you started, here are a few helpful hints.

Tackling your First Tender

Having bid writing skills isn’t just about the writing; before you attempt your first tender, do your due diligence. Make absolutely sure that you meet all of the criteria for the bid, such as:

The financial and economic threshold (i.e. is your turnover big enough? As a general rule, you should be annually turning over double the annual contract value as a minimum).
Sufficient experience; do you have suitable contract examples you can use that demonstrate your ability to do the job at hand? If not, you may not be considered for evaluation.
Having the correct levels of insurance in place is essential, if the Buyer discovers you do not hold the necessary insurance levels, you will be disqualified from the tender process.

Once you have established that you meet the minimum criteria for the bid, review the tender instructions carefully. Whether this tender is an SQ/PQQ, or an ITT, will determine in part how large and complicated it is. You can find out more about PQQ Tender Writing here.

Before you start to write, do the following:

Read all of the tender documents carefully. Make a note of any inconsistencies in the information and raise a clarification with the Buyer (this is typically through the appropriate tender portal) as soon as possible.
Make a list of everything you have to submit, from the quality document and pricing schedule to any forms of tender or other signed declarations.
Plan out your workload. An experienced bid writer will produce an average of 2,000 words per day, but if you are new to tender writing then you will be writing less than this. Assume that you will write 1,000 words per day and use that as a guide to figure out how long writing the tender will take you. For example, a 5,000-word tender would take you 5 days if you are new to the process. Make sure that you are planning to finish writing your first draft at least a week before the submission deadline. This will give you a chance to review the written work (and ideally, have it reviewed by somebody else too), make any edits and polish it up without the stress of a looming deadline.

Gather all of the information you will need. For instance, if you need to know how many staff will be deployed on the contract, try and find that out before you start to write the bid. Ideally, having the information in place before you start writing will save a lot of time and confusion further down the line.

Writing Style

An important aspect of bid writing involves how you write the tenders. Steer away from a colloquial style of writing; you want to present your company as professionally as possible. Avoid contractions (such as ‘isn’t’, use ‘is not’ instead) and excessive use of industry-specific jargon; the person evaluating your bid might be a procurement manager but not an expert in your field, so use of jargon may end up in them misinterpreting your response and marking you lower than you deserve.

Often, the best bid writing skill you can have in your arson is knowing when less is more. Avoid ‘waffle’ and write concisely and to the point. Whilst you do want your responses to read professionally, what is most important is conveying, in simple terms, your companies’ experience and ability. Also, by cutting out unnecessary content you leave room for more relevant details about your tangible service offering.

Structuring your Responses

Once you have everything in place, now it is time to start writing your tender. Like anything else, great bid writing skills come with time and practise. But preparing yourself and working methodically will stand you in good stead to start with. Dissect each question by breaking it up into segments and use those as your guiding points for the response you are going to write. For example, you are presented with the question:

“What are your quality management processes? Include how you will monitor and audit contract performance. 500 words maximum”

Break it up! Your first section could be under the sub-heading Quality Management, where you talk about your companies’ general approach to quality management (here it is incredibly useful to have ISO accreditations, such as ISO 9001, to prove your company’s commitment to these principles) for about 150 words. Your next section would be Monitoring, where you detail your monitoring processes and how you would implement them on this particular contract for approx. 150 words. Your third section would be Auditing where, as you can likely guess, you list your approach to auditing work and how you would specifically approach auditing the contract at hand, approx. 150 words. With your remaining 50 words, you can draw together the strands of your response and ensure all elements have been covered off.

Compiling documents

Once the final drafts are completed and have been reviewed by the client, it is time to assemble. All tender documents are compiled to form the FINAL tender.

This includes compiling all requested policies and procedures, accreditations and any other supporting documents. These will be presented as appendices. We always ensure appendices are numbered correctly to match the references within the quality responses.

It is ESSENTIAL to approach this last stage in a methodical way. Failing to upload a vital piece of information can result in a failed submission.

Submission

Due to us Bid Writers being super organised, we always aim to submit 24 hours before the deadline. To do this, we set our own internal deadlines. This provides us with breathing time. Time to calmly check over the documents and ensure nothing is missed.

Keep Learning

It might sound a bit corny, but the best way to improve your bid writing skills is to remain open to learning from the lessons that come along. Unless you are incredibly lucky, you are unlikely to see instant success from your initial bid writing efforts. Always ask for feedback from the Buyer if you are not successful and use the comments to improve the next tender you write. Always have your work reviewed by somebody else within your company and be open to suggestions. Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask questions or seek advice when it comes to competitive tendering.

If you are interested in learning more about our bid writing and bid management consultancy and how it could help your company, watch our free content on Tender VLE or see how we could help you by browsing our Services page.

Top tips & advice from our Bid Writers

Ever wondered how to write concisely and be successful?

Bid Writing and concise text go hand in hand. When buyers read through numerous responses, they want to see concise, short sentences that summarise coherently. Check out these bid writing tips.

We’ve all encountered writing that little bit too much and going over the word count. It usually results in a stressful cutting-down period, whereby you try to choose something in your bid writing from which to delete. To avoid this, it’s best to write concisely. Now, we understand that this is easier said than done. Sometimes, when you start writing, the words fly out and you just can’t stop, and suddenly find you had far more to say on the subject than you ever thought possible.

However, that’s why it’s always best to plan ahead. If you’ve got a strict word count, it’s best to structure out your answer, making sure you’ve definitely covered all relevant points to your argument. This way you can manage how much more you need to say without running out of the room, and also most importantly, time! There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve finished on time for your deadline, to then realise you’ve got to edit down your work. Structuring your response is the first step to writing consistent text.

If you’ve got a generous word count, you may be able to elaborate more. However, when questions are reasonably broad, and there is a lower word count than you’d desire, here are your basic steps on how to approach:

1. Start planning

If you go in with the intention of winging it – you’ll undoubtedly lose. Make sure you create a Gantt chart (or similar) and assign clearly-defined roles for pertinent actions and time-bound deadlines for the likes of first drafts, content completion and reviews.

2. Get to know the buyer

Research goes a heck of a long way, especially when you can provide additional value that accommodates your buyer’s goals and aspirations. Hit the [e]books and start researching the buyer to help you gain further insight into what further points you can respond to.

3. What do you want to say?

This is so important! You may be completely confident in your answer but think about fitting it into space constraints. Make sure you’ve definitely thought out the relevant points that will match up to the question. Perhaps use bullet points to note down exact information, this is easier to follow for the reader! When bid writing it is always favourable to break down your response into easily digestible points.

4. Adapt existing content

You can reuse some previous content. However, please remember that every question is different and you’ll need to adapt this to align with the specification. You will, in a lot of cases, have to rewrite your content based on the ongoing changing needs of buyers.

5. Take a trial run

Write your answer out, get it all down in a word document and assess all the points you’ve covered. This is a good exercise for seeing how you’d approach the answer off the cuff (and great practice if you ever need to write accurately under pressure).

6. Make it appealing

In ITTs, it is of course, typically all about your written word and the way you respond to buyer requirements in a confident, concise and engaging manner. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t jazz your content up. On ‘free-flowing’ proposals (those that aren’t constrained by word counts and the inability to change your response layout), use the likes of InDesign to make your proposal stand out. There’s nothing better than a first-class response that is both concise, assertive and makes use of images, infographics, charts and other visually engaging content – depending on the opportunity and sector of course!

7. Review and analyse

Now it’s time to go over your answer with a fine-toothed comb. Have you really answered the question? Have you covered all the points you wanted to? Is there anything that isn’t really relevant that can be cut out? These are all the questions you should be asking yourself during this process, it keeps your writing well-rounded and informative.

Writing concisely needs to be practised, make sure you fully comprehend your subject matter. Perhaps if certain points seem slightly hazy or maybe the topic is not your specialism, it would be advisable to do some research. Make sure to always visit trusted sources when researching, ensuring you have found quantifiable research that tallies up. Research is always a good idea, so you can fully brush-up on knowledge surrounding your topic area. Having a fully informed opinion will able you to write concisely about the topic.

Ask your peers to check your work. If you’re working on a piece of work for 3 days straight, you’ll have undoubtedly missed simple grammatical mistakes that others will pick up on. Leave it a day or two and go back to review the lot – the more time you have away from any finalised work – the more attention and recognition you give when you come back to it.

8. Language

Ensure you’re using a wide range of intelligent vocabulary and try to cut down on colloquial terms and any jargon that would possibly come across confusing. Never write terms such as – ‘we shall try …’ instead use assertive vocabulary, for example, ‘we will …’

Act as though the contract is yours already. Describe what you are going to do not what you’re willing, attempting or trying to do. Write this using bullet points – it allows the response to remain concise, free from superfluous information and more direct- overall supporting your assertiveness.

Remember to write clearly and consistently, always ensuring your writing makes sense! If you’re arguing something, make sure to cover both sides, pros and cons, giving a conscious and insightful response. Finally, when you think you’ve mastered your perfect response, proofread it over a few times to check for any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. These can trip you up when it comes to writing clearly, and it’s always important to check before submitting. Having a second pair of eyes read over your work is always an advantage, as you become immune to your own errors after spending considerable time rewording and rereading the same text.

After all these bid writing tips have been implemented, you should be left with a concisely written piece of work you’ll be proud to submit.

Bid Writers at Hudson

At Hudson Succeed, the team of Bid Writers proudly hold an impressive success rate of 87%. The Bid Team support businesses of all sizes with their tendering efforts.

Our team of highly experienced writers cover virtually every sector and subject area. We have worked in areas such as:

Domiciliary care
Commercial cleaning
Security
Quantity surveying
Software
Marketing
Logistics
Property refurbishment
…to name a few

Do you own a business or organisation and are new to tendering? Are you struggling to see success from your own tender submissions? Or do you simply just require minor assistance?

With our extensive knowledge and experience of tendering, we can help you. But don’t just take our word for it, see what our clients have to say on our testimonials page.

What is a Bid Writer? A tender writing expert to assist and help your business GROW!

Contact us to find out how we can help.

For more information, or to speak to a Bid Writer, please visit our website.

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