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Bid Writing Services: a comprehensive overview

An Introduction to our Bid Writing Services

‘Bid writing services’, the support offered by professional bid writers, are increasingly in demand by those looking to grow their businesses through winning tenders.

Professional bid writers play a crucial role in the competitive world of contract bidding, especially with small and medium sized businesses who do not employ their own bid writers, instead choosing to outsource the requirement due to peaks and troughs of tendering.

At Thornton & Lowe, we specialise in helping our clients win government tenders and public sector bids, which has led to our bid writing services being developed specifically to meet the requirements of this market.

We have provided our clients with a range of bid writing services since 2009, helping them achieve, on average, a bid win rate over 75%. If you are require a bid writing quote or you are looking to win more public sector contracts – Contact us now.

As a fully outsourced bid writing consultancy Thornton & Lowe offers clients tender writing support to:

  • Find, bid and win formal contracts.
  • Improve the approach to tendering and develop an effective bid plan or strategy.

Our goal is to support clients not merely with bid writing, with responding to a tender, but actually to win contracts. Winning tenders, rather than just bidding, requires a broader set of bid writing services. This includes understanding procurement, how the public sector buys, contract management, sales, marketing, bid writing best practice, value for money, social value, corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives such as Carbon Reduction Plans.

Directly employing our bid team, means we are consistent, reliable and we able to grow organically alongside our clients. Our 360 bid writing services cover all of the common requirements when it comes to winning public sector tenders.


A Full List of our Bid Writing Services

If you are looking for bid writing services, also known as tender writing, this section is designed to signpost you quickly to the right area of our website:

Also, our bid writing services blog, provides a continued feed of new advice for those looking to find, bid and win public sector tenders.

In addition to our specific bid writing services, we also have complimentary products such as award writing services. A key part of a successful bid is building trust and providing evidence; business awards can be a valuable way of doing this.

Bid Reviews

At Thornton & Lowe we offer several bid review options depending on your requirements and the timescales available. However, we tailor our bid writing services around our clients specific needs, so if you need something a little different please don’t hesitate to talk to us.

Bid Review & Improve

Bid responses or specific tender questions have been drafted by you. You share these along with the timescales available. Asking for a quote in order for us to use your draft responses as a start point. Our bid writing consultants take your draft, chase down the additional information they require, and then write and share an updated tender response. We discuss our proposed changes and provide the rationale behind our improvements to the tender responses.

This bid review service can be a way to reduce a bid writing quote as your initial work will have saved our bid writers time.

Bid Review & Comment

Thornton & Lowe review your draft bid response in detail against the specification, client requirements, best practice and our bid writing experience.

We will assess and make comments throughout the documents with regards to compliance, added value, formatting and structure, accuracy, design and win themes. This is completed within tracked changes, which gives guidance and suggestions for improvements (a critical friend/ third party bid review), accompanied with a summary report of recommendations. During a meeting we then summarise and explain our comments along with practical solutions and next steps to allow either our team or yours to make the required changes before the tender deadline.

In terms of value for money, and if you do have some in-house bid writing capacity, this bid review option allows you to benefit from our expertise but in a way which focuses on added value.

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Tender Writing Services

Tender writing services and bid writing, for us, are exactly the same. Thornton & Lowe’s tender writing services allow our clients to outsource their tender writing requirements and more effectively manage the often time consuming role.

When responding to a formal procurement opportunity or tender, there are often detailed quality questions, which require a specific and competitively written response in order to maximise the scores available. Our tender writers work tirelessly to maximise your quality scores and help your business win more public sector contracts.

When it comes to offering tender writing services you need to have a complex mix of skills, experience and knowledge. Including procurement, tendering, persuasive writing, sales and marketing. This combination allows our tender writers, and the wider bid team, to work closely with our clients, using their technical knowledge and experience, to make the bid shine!

As well as tender writing consultancy, our wider tender writing services include bid and tender writing courses and free guidance and advice.

Why use Bid Writing Services?

There are many reasons that businesses look to use outsourced bid writing services to help them win tenders. The main reason businesses engage with Thornton & Lowe’s bid writing services is specifically to compete for and win public sector tenders. Though we still support some of our clients with private sector tenders.

For SME businesses tendering can be a real nuisance! Our clients are usually comfortable with tender pricing but need a consistent team available for PQQs, ITTs, RFPs, portal management, tender monitoring, bid management, writing and coordinating the tender bid submissions. These are the core areas of our bid writing services. Effectively, our bid team becomes your outsourced bid writing team!

Businesses use outsourced bid writing services due to the peaks and troughs of the required workload, combined with a lack of:

  • Bid writing or management capacity.
  • Bid or tender success.
  • Tendering expertise.
  • Public sector procurement expertise.

Bid writing consultants free up essential time for businesses to focus on core operations while bringing in expertise that might not be available in-house. By entrusting bid writing tasks to external experts, businesses can allow their internal teams to concentrate on core activities, ensuring smooth operation of their main functions without the added stress of complex bid processes. This strategic shift not only saves time but also enables more effective resource distribution, ensuring every part of the business gets the focus it needs.

The financial implications of keeping full-time, in-house bid writing staff can be substantial, especially in a market with a severe lack of quality and professional bid writers. Outsourcing offers a cost-effective alternative by removing the need for long-term employment commitments and the associated expenses and challenges such as salaries, holidays, benefits, quality assurance and training. Businesses can use bid writing services on an as-needed basis, which allows for better budget control and flexibility, making it an economically viable option particularly for projects with fluctuating demands.

Employing outsourced bid experts can significantly improve the quality of bid submissions, enhancing work winning strategies. These professionals possess a understanding of industry-specific knowledge and best practices in bid preparation, leading to more innovative ideas and stronger bids. Their external viewpoint can provide invaluable insights and highlight potential bid weaknesses. Through their specialised skills and structured processes, these consultants not only boost the quality of bids but also enhance the chances of success, aiding businesses in securing more contracts and achieving growth.

Put simply, a company seeking bid writing services is looking to win more. They are looking to increase their return on investment through engaging with government tenders. A professional bid writing consultancy, such as Thornton & Lowe, will have a proven system to help them achieve this.

Bid writing

Choosing the Right Bid Writing Service

Partnering with the right bid writing services provider is an important decision for any business owner or management team. The bid writing services market has a severe shortage of professional writers and bid managers, which can make finding the right partner a challenge. This is especially the case for those businesses who are familiar with using a single freelance bid writer. When available, they can be great, but this often can be a struggle for those looking for a consistent service.

Ten years ago Thornton & Lowe reviewed this challenge, and developed a solution to meet client requirements; providing a consistent service and the same professional bid writers, but available only when required. These bid writers get to understand your business, create efficiencies in the bid writing process and make a real impact on your bid strategy. This is why our Bid Success Partners win more tenders, when compared to our adhoc or non-contracted clients. Our Bid Success Programme offers our full range of bid writing services and at reduced rates.

When selecting the ideal bid writing service, it's crucial to evaluate how it best fits your business needs.

Bid Writing Services Evaluation Criteria

  1. You get on! They take the time to understand your business in a timely manner and demonstrate their value.
  2. You understand their systems for working with clients, for collecting information, working with your team – and you like it. And can see it working in practice for your business.
  3. Reviews, testimonials and bid writing services case studies offer reassurance. You want a proven bid writing partner who can demonstrate they can deliver.
  4. Transparency is key. If you ask an honest question, do you get an honest answer?
  5. Bid writing experience with clients who are similar to you. At Thornton & Lowe we work with a lot of SME businesses who often have different needs and expectations when compared to those who are more familiar being part of a larger bid team, for example.
  6. Are the bid writing prices fair and work within your budget?

Evaluating the ROI of Bid & Tender Writing Services

One of the benefits of using outsourced bid writing services is that they should come with existing performance reporting systems for monitoring bid success. We aim for full transparency with our clients which starts with benchmarking existing performance, tender feedback and bid win rates. Breaking this down, wherever possible, based on service and customer type so the impact of our bid writing services are clear.

As well as providing a summary of the time spent on projects each month (pre-approved by our client for budget control) our standard report includes the corresponding win rates for each bid writing project. This gives the cost of bidding, the result and value of the contract.

ROI encompasses not just the direct profits from successful tenders but also the wider business impacts, such as improved reputation and strategic positioning.

There are also less formal ways of evaluating the performance of your bid writing services provider. Are they easy to work with? Do they save your team time? Have you found and secured opportunities you would have normally missed?

And of course, bid writing for public sector contracts is one of those few areas in professional services or consultancy where there is nowhere to hide! Tender feedback provides details on how you performed on each tender. How does it compare prior to their engagement?

The Process of Working with a Bid Writing Service

The journey of collaborating with a bid writing service begins with a discovery session where both the client and the consultancy dig into the specifics of the upcoming tender. We need to understand about your business, how it operates, how you will deliver the specific tender live tender, what other contracts you have, your policies and procedures. This initial meeting is crucial as it sets the groundwork for understanding the project scope, client expectations, and the strategic approach required. It is also when we agree internal deadlines and key project dates. Following this, the team conducts a thorough assessment of the tender documents and shares a detailed gap analysis. This tool becomes part of our bid tools for the live tender which allows us to share progress. We ask for facts, figures any evidence you have which is shared via interviews, meetings and passing of documents.

12 Stages of the Bid Writing Process with Thornton & Lowe

  1. Understanding the client - Gather information about the client's needs, goals, and expectations to tailor the proposal to their specific requirements.
  2. Understanding the tender - Analyse the tender document to identify key requirements, evaluation criteria, and any potential challenges or opportunities.
  3. Bid plan - Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the steps, resources, and timelines required to create a winning proposal.
  4. Gap analysis - Identify any gaps between the client's expectations and the proposal's content, ensuring that all requirements are addressed.
  5. Bid interviews & research - Conduct interviews with relevant stakeholders and gather information through research to create a well-rounded proposal.
  6. Win themes & storyboards - Develop compelling win themes and storyboards that highlight the proposal's strengths and address the client's needs.
  7. Draft bid content - Write the proposal content, including the executive summary, technical solution, bid plan, bid evidence and financial proposal.
  8. Bid reviews & our internal quality assurance - Review the proposal for accuracy, consistency, and adherence to the client's requirements.
  9. Client bid review & feedback - Submit the proposal to the client for review and feedback, incorporating their suggestions to improve the proposal. With a new client this is a chance to provide clarity and further help our bid writing consultants get ‘under the skin of your business’.
  10. Bid writer prepares final draft, packaged & ready for submission - Finalise the proposal, ensuring it meets all requirements and is ready for submission.
  11. Bid submission - Submit the proposal to the client, adhering to the tender's submission guidelines. Ensuring compliance when submitting your tender should be overlooked.
  12. Lessons learned - Analyse the bid process to identify areas for improvement and apply these insights to future proposals.

Case Studies: Success Stories with Professional Bid Writing

When providing bid writing services you are often working on high value and long term contracts. However, contract values are all relative and often a low value tender can be equally as important due to strategic importance or the size and nature of our customer.

We have reviews, testimonials and case studies relating to the full spectrum of our bid writing services. In our case studies you will notice we support our clients on multiple tenders. This consistent outsourced bid writing service, allows us to maximise results for our clients.

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