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The Ultimate Guide – Everything You Need To Know About Our Bid Writing Training

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Nov 30, 2022

Most people find themselves writing bids, without really giving it any thought. When it comes to bid writing, people often procrastinate meaning that they end up rushing, producing a poorly constructed bid and then wondering why they have been unsuccessful. Of course, it could also mean they were bidding on the wrong opportunity – but that’s a topic for another day.

Successful bid writing takes time, planning and thought. Bid writing requires you to think about:

  • Style
  • language
  • Concise writing
  • Win themes
  • Planning
  • Knowing your competition
  • Aesthetics of the bid

Unless you know about these points, as well as others, your bids may not be giving you the success that you want.

Bid training is an excellent way to see what you need to be doing to ensure your bids are successful. It could be that you are able to improve what you are already doing or, more often than not, go back to the office with new ideas and a new way of looking at and tackling your bids.

One delegate said:

“Excellent course, gave me a lot of things to be thinking about whilst writing tenders/bids etc. I went into the course a bit unsure on what to expect but Charles ran the course and was happy to assist with any questions etc. anyone had. Great course and I've learned a lot that will help me going forward in bid writing”

Why we started delivering bid writing courses

Thornton & Lowe have been delivering bid training in 2015 following requests from a number of clients. Rather than saying no, we designed and developed 2 bid courses looking at different areas of the bid process. Following feedback from delegates on our other training courses, we developed the Bid Writing training. They all said they wanted to know how to write a good/successful bid. Since 2016, the Bid Writing training has become the most popular course we provide.

Thinking about what our delegates were asking for, we looked at building the Bid Writing Training around 3 key areas:

  1. Our own processes –preaching what we practice
  2. Bid Writing industry best practice
  3. Speaking with buyers and procurement teams around the country

Supporting the content, the interactive training also involves group discussions and practical exercises to help apply what is being discussed. So, delegates leave knowing what they need to do and also how they need to do it.

The training is delivered by Charles Grosstephan, a highly experienced Bid Manager and Bid Writer. Charles has been at Thornton & Lowe since 2012 and has been fundamental in the design, development and delivery of the Bid Writing training. Having such a high level of experience allows delegates to benefit from real-life examples and real-life applications of what is being discussed during the training. It also means that delegates can expect their questions answered in detail.

Thornton & Lowe’s Bid Writing Training is delivered in a very relaxed, friendly and inclusive way, with everyone able to get involved. The complexity of bids is stripped away and information is easy to digest, meaning delegates can leave feeling confident with what they have learnt.

Who can attend our Bid Writing courses?

We have deliberately created the Bid Writing training to be suitable for literally anyone, regardless of experience and industry. Quite often, people will mention that they have had no previous training and/or that they have just started getting involved with writing bids. The benefit of this is that those who are new to bidding can sometimes learn from experienced delegates, whilst the less experienced attendees may offer fresh or new ideas.

For some people, the Bid Writing training is about improving their current skillset. A recent delegate wrote:

I did a Bid Training Course with Charles Grosstephan recently and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to finely tune their bid writing skills!”

When people introduce themselves during the training, most will want to know the best approach to bidding, top tips, how to answer the questions and what helps buyers to assess your bids - all areas covered within the training. One delegate feedback with:

Definitely an eye opener to where we were going wrong before after seeing examples of a completed bid answer.”

We also train delegates from a more general writing background or those who have been involved in other areas of writing, such as journalism, creative writing, marketing and copywriting.

It is not just Bid Writers, Bid Coordinators or Bid Managers who can attend. We train many delegates from a variety of positions, such as Office Managers, Marketing Managers, Business Development Managers, Business Owners, Directors and Administrative staff. Anyone who has been is currently or plans to be involved in writing bids can benefit from this dynamic and highly interactive course.

Despite the huge range of diversity of people who attend the training, everyone learns the techniques, approaches, tools and skills to help them write strong successful bids. With the practical hands-on exercises that are completed, along with the discussions on the day, people are able to see real-world bid applications of the critical skills they are being taught.

Are Bid Writing Training workshops different for public sector & private sector tenders?

One question we are commonly asked is about writing bids for the public sector versus writing bids for the private sector. Although there are some differences between the 2 sectors, the approach, largely, is the same.

In the public sector, you are likely to see a more structured bid, with set questions, set scoring criteria and specific deadlines. Each process is highly regulated, making procurement as transparent and cost effective as possible. Want to know more about Public Sector Tenders? Read our in-depth guide here.

In the private sector, you may see tighter deadlines, looser scoring criteria and a list of requirements that the buyer needs to be addressed – meaning you will need to structure your bid around those. Either way, convincing the buyer you are the best choice is still the main aim of the game.

When it comes to bid writing, the intention is to write “persuasively”. Whether it is a private sector or public sector buyer, you need to convince them “why you”. To do this, you need to think:

  • Writing concisely
  • Using plain language and avoiding jargon
  • Providing evidence to back up your statements
  • Selling yourself in the bid
  • Creating an engaging bid – both content-wise and visually

These same considerations apply regardless of who the buyer is. In most cases, your bid will be read by a panel of assessors, so make their lives as easy as possible. Create a bid that is visually clear and profession, simple to read and easy to understand. Provide the detail they need and give them a reason to choose you.

Bid Writing Training vs Bid Management training

When people think about bidding and also what determines success rates, the focus is on how the bid is written. What gets ignored, forgotten about or even just not considered is the process and strategy side of bidding. By not fully exploring or understanding the other part of the bid process, a bid may be unsuccessful even before the first word is written.

To manage a bid successfully, you need to consider:

  • Knowing about it before it is formally advertised
  • Pre-bid work – competitor analysis and customer engagement/knowledge
  • The bid/no bid decision
  • The bid team – who is involved beyond just the writers
  • Clarification question deadline
  • Submission deadline
  • Method of submission
  • Who is reviewing and when
  • Who is approving
  • Pricing

On our one-day Bid Writing Training course, we cover all the aspects of writing, however during the 2-day Masterclass, we also cover the writing and the process and strategy side of bidding. We look at those areas listed above – all of which will inevitably impact your success rates.

New to bidding? You can attend too!

The Bid Writing training is deliberately aimed at any level of experience and any sector. The content has been designed to be non-complex and easy to follow. When people think about bid writing, they often worry about what is involved. The training has been set up to help keep the process and approach easy to understand and easy to adopt. One delegate said:

“The Tender and Bid Writing course was incredibly helpful as a complete beginner who's just been introduced into the bid writing world! Charles was a great help, and the course is really well-tailored to all abilities and experience levels. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is just starting out, or just wants to brush up their skills.”

Bid Writing Training options

We provide different training options depending on peoples’ needs.

We have the 1 day Bid Writing training course which focuses purely on developing and writing good content. For those who are comfortable with or not involved in the other aspects of bidding, this works perfectly for them. It covers areas such as:

  • Style, language and tone
  • Planning the bid
  • Who to sell yourself in the bid
  • Making the bid engaging

For people who want to learn more about bid writing and also about bid management, we run a 2-day Masterclass course. The second day covers the same content as the 1-day bid writing course. The first day, however, covers the process and strategy side of bidding, such as:

  • Bid preparation
  • Bid pipelines
  • Pre-bid work
  • Freedom of Information
  • Bid/No Bid

Both courses are suitable for any sector and any level of experience.

We also offer a bespoke in-house course for companies who are looking to train a number of their team. We frequently deliver the bid writing course to groups of up to 10 people. We have also developed specific training sessions based on the needs of that company. For example, a course may be a blend of the bid/no bid process and the bid writing.

New for 2023 is the Advanced Bid Writing Training. Delegates will be developing their writing skills through several writing exercises focusing on the key areas of writing a strong bid.

The day will cover:

  • Key points of bid writing
  • Completing a detailed storyboarding
  • Drafting a response and developing it throughout the day
  • Focus on writing fundamentals - active voice, redundant pairs, plain English, typos, grammar, sentence length
  • Developing benefits over features
  • Development of win themes
  • Developing the aesthetics of the bid

Bid Writing workshops - preparation and common questions

There are no expectations for anyone who attends the Bid Writing training. There is no pre-work required and no pre-reading needed. All we ask is that delegates come with a pen and notepad. We provide refreshments and lunch, along with a folder of training materials, including:

  • Copy of training slides
  • Action plan
  • Bidding top tips
  • Suggestions for content

Post course - what happens now?

Following the training, delegates are sent a CPD certificate for their personnel files. They also receive electronic copies of examples shown on the training including:

  • 5-stage approach to writing a response
  • Examples of passive and active voice in bids
  • Examples of redundant pairs in bids

During the training, delegates are welcome to ask questions during the day. As there is a lot of information being covered and recognising that questions may be through later, delegates are offered post-course support. For example, it may be asking for clarification on the benefits and features aspect of a bid, or clarification around bid compliance.

Want to know more?

Want to hear more about the different training courses we offer? Or looking for a bespoke bid workshop tailored to your company’s individual needs or a larger group of employees? Contact us now, or view our Training page here to read our FAQs.

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