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Bid Writer or Bid Writing Consultant?

Written by Thornton & Lowe


Apr 16, 2024

This article is aimed bid writers or managers who are considering moving into consultancy, those looking to develop a career in bid writing, or businesses who want to understand more about how bid writing consultants can help them grow through tenders, bid and proposals.

Is there a difference between a bid writer and bid writing consultant?

A bid writing consultant is usually external, outsourced or freelance. Compared to an in-house bid writer who may be part of a larger bid team.

Whether in-house or via an outsourced bid writing consultant, the role of a bid writer has a lot of similarities. On a daily basis they will:

Depending on the size of the bid team or business a bid writer may also:

  • Monitor tenders
  • Analyse tender documents and complete bid no bid assessments in order to seek approval to bid
  • Coordinate responses and technical input from subject matter experts, such as contracts managers, HR, IT and technicians
  • Interview subject matter experts in order to better understand the required solution or challenges, which can then be crafted into responses
  • Design the bid.

Why do businesses use bid writing consultants?

There 4 main reasons why a business starts thinking about engaging an external or freelance bid management consultant.

  1. Lack of bid writing capacity. This could be that their existing bid team simply has too many bid to complete. Or there isn’t a bid team and the Directors or marketing team, for example, are struggling with the demands of bidding.
  2. Lack of bid success or bid expertise. We are often contacted to review the approach and quality of the current bids being completed. Offering a bid review as a quick way to assess quality based on knowing ‘what a good bid looks like’. We then often provide bid training, mentoring and additional bid writing support. This involves either working with an existing bid team or -in-house bid writer, or working with those who have been tasked to write and submit the bids as an additional element of their role.
  3. New to bidding and procurement and need to understand where to start. Quite often businesses will know suppliers, contacts or competitors who have public sector contracts, but on looking at how to approach the sector the complexity is overwhelming. As a result they require quick and accurate advice and guidance on what is required and how they can best compete in the public sector through tendering. Often those new to bidding for public sector contracts will also seek bid writing training.
  4. Struggling to recruit the write in-house bid writer. If a business can’t recruit the right bid writer for them, whether to cover maternity leave, or due to someone leaving, they will often rely on outsourced bid writing consultants to support them as an interim measure. At Thornton & Lowe we provide this service to many clients, as well as supporting them to recruit for their bid team and find a good fit for the long term.

What are the benefits of bid writing consultants?

If we go back to the role of a bid writer, noted above, it can be any or all of these elements that a business needs support with. If we capture the whole process of finding, bidding, submitting and winning tenders, as a bid writing consultancy we can offer this full function. Not only ensuring you maximise the quality of your tender scores but also everything else that sits around this.

A bid writing consultant is expected to:

  • Add value to a tender response
  • To increase bid win rates
  • Offer a third-party assessment and critique of a tender response
  • Manage, coordinate and lead tenders
  • Drafting compelling and persuasive content

The key benefits of a bid writing consultants is their broader experience of working across numerous sectors and clients giving them the ability to quickly challenge and maximise win rates. While a freelance bid writing consultants may work on their own, bid writing consultancies such as Thornton & Lowe, have the benefit of a team behind them ensuring additional bid writing capacity, procurement expertise, bid design and formatting skills and quality assurance.

Another key benefit of outsourcing bid writing as a business function is that you only use them when required. For many small and medium businesses they will have peaks and troughs in bidding which makes having a dedicated bid writer or bid team challenging.

How does a freelance bid writing consultant write about my business

Working with a new client is always a challenge but one which a good bid writing consultancy will be experts in, having developed proven systems in order to make the process of getting to know your business and collecting key information required for the tender.

A bid writing consultant at Thornton & Lowe will:

  • Review the live tender (tender pack) or ITT
  • Assess previous and relevant tender responses which you have shared
  • Meet you and your team to agree a plan for the project, including key points of contacts for each quality question, internal bid deadlines and the review and approval process
  • Interview your team to collect required information and knowledge
  • Highlight key business documentation we require. If you do not have this, our bid writing consultants will guide you on the options available offering solutions
  • Provide early draft bid responses for you and your team to assess and sense check. This is an important part of the process and an opportunity for you to make sure our bid writing consultants have properly understood your business and solution for tender
  • Action any changes and discuss areas which we believe need to be improved
  • Write quality bid responses, tender submissions or proposals
  • Support the bid submission
  • Have a lessons learned session to ensure both sides of the partnership are prepared and ready for the next opportunity.
  • Analyse tender feedback and action plans for future bids, or advice on procurement challenges.

By working through this process we quickly get to understand your business and collate the required information in order for us to develop the written bid content which will maximise your tender quality scores.

We become embedded and part of your team, which improves each time we bid.

An in-house bid writer has to embed themselves in a new business as part of a wider induction process.

Looking to recruit an in-house bid writing or bid writing consultant

At Thornton & Lowe, we work with clients to help them recruit permanent bid writers. As well as bid administrators, coordinators, managers and directors. We specialise in recruiting bid professionals only. As a result, we have a large database of candidates and importantly understand the type of person you need, depending on your requirements and the nature of the bids in your sector.

The role of a bid writer is a demanding role, so often employing a single writer is not sustainable. From our experience, a dedicated bid team smaller than 3 people does not last. There are of course exceptions.

For those who do not need an in-house bid writer and would prefer to outsource their bid writing and partner with a consultancy, we employ a bid team so you don’t have to. Bid administration, research and of course bid writing consultancy is what we have delivered for our clients since 2009.

Not sure whether you need a bid writer, bid manager or bid consultant? We have a specific article detailing the differences and what services each can offer you and your business.

For more information or to speak to a member of our team, contact us using the form below.

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