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Continued bid writing advice and guidance with a tendering partner

Written by Thornton & Lowe


Jun 03, 2024

What does bid writing advice and guidance cover?

Each of our clients has unique needs and challenges and our bid writing advice and consultancy is tailored to meet their aims and work within their budget.

Our clients typically fall into 2 key 'camps':

1. New to bidding and tendering. They want to start winning formal tenders and public sector contracts but do not know where to start or the most efficient and effective route.

For these bid writing beginners, we assess what they have now in terms of customers, systems, policies, infrastructure, accreditations, bidding capacity and expertise. Comparing this to what successful rivals in their sector have in place. From this we create a bid success plan and a clear bid strategy to maximise their return on investment.

Quite often we are working with small budgets, for example, via our Bid Mentor Service, which starts from £650 per month. At Thornton & Lowe, we offer a wide range of bid writing services aimed at helping businesses win public sector tenders. For this, we can't write every bid, but we can create the bidding plan, monitor progress, highlight key tenders and frameworks and review some of your key bid responses. We act as a third party bidding expert, providing continued bid writing advice, guidance and support.

2. Bid regularly now, have some bid writing capacity but need to improve. The 'bid team' might be made up of your senior management team, supported by non-bid specific team members such as sales, marketing and administration. Or you may have small dedicated bid writing team, including several bid writers, a bid coordinator and a bid manager for example. Either the bid writing team is not producing enough or seems unsustainable.

We complete a gap analysis, review your recent bids, interviewing your bid team and understand your systems. From this we create an bid improvement action plan, which short, medium and long terms goals which are measurable. This may include bid writing courses and training, redeveloping bid templates or agreeing a new strategy and approach to winning tenders.

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Bid Writing Advice, Makes an Impact

When offering bid writing advice and guidance to our clients the impact can be substantial! Our focus initially is understanding what we can quickly do to make the biggest impact on your tender success rates.

Our advice and bid writing consultancy, quick wins often include:

  • Improving bid template content. Reviewing the bid writing content which is being used by your team in order to quickly create draft responses. If this is not the right quality, you will continue to produce poor quality bids
  • Reviewing and advising on each live bid to ensure we can have an impact immediately
  • Assessing your approach to selling into the public sector and highlighting additional routes to provide access to new customers. Such as via framework agreements, neutral vendor solutions or DPS agreements
  • Changing bid management procedures to focus on effective tender selection to maximise win rates and ensure there is enough time bid successfully
  • Bidding training skills assessment and recommendations for your team. We have worked with hundreds of businesses supporting their bid teams. We have interviewed and trained bid writers, managers and directors. By understanding what is required from the team and individuals we can propose a plan to improve or change your bid writing team.
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Why Bid Writing is Important

Effective bid writing is crucial for securing contracts and growing your business. It allows you to clearly highlight the innovation and value you bring to the table, which is often a deciding factor for buyers. A well-crafted bid not only showcases your organisation's strengths but also demonstrates your professional credibility and capacity to meet the project's demands. This is particularly vital in competitive sectors where the quality of your bid can set you apart from other contenders, making a robust bid strategy and understanding bid evaluation criteria essential when you bid for tender.

Bid management complements the writing process by providing a structured approach to planning, assigning roles, and scheduling reviews. This ensures that every part of the bid is crafted with attention to detail and adheres to the timeline. Good bids require adequate time for drafting and review, a process that can't be rushed if you aim to produce a persuasive and compliant submission. This is where bid preparation and planning become pivotal, especially as you work against a tender deadline.

Moreover, engaging a specialised bid writing service like our Bid Mentor Service enhances your chances of success. Our service provides ongoing guidance, monitoring, and training, ensuring that your bids not only meet the current standards but also improve continually, reflecting the latest trends and requirements. This sustained support, a form of bid monitoring, helps in building a reputation for quality and reliability in your industry, thereby attracting more opportunities for future contracts.

Improving Bid Quality

Once our clients have effective bid writing systems, bidding skills and understand all the key routes to grow their businesses through public sector procurement, our bid advice can very much focus on producing quality bids. Continually improving the quality of your bids is essential to standing out in competitive procurement and tendering environments. Our Bid Mentor Service focusses on ensuring that every aspect of your bid not only meets but exceeds client expectations. This commitment to quality is achieved through a robust bid quality assurance framework and is continuously nurtured by our ongoing guidance, monitoring, and training, which are integral parts of our bid writing services.

Proofreading, bid reviews, and editing are critical to ensuring your bid is error-free and professionally presented. A bid review process helps businesses systematically identify the strength of the bid before it is submitted. It provides an opportunity to make improvements, learn from previous feedback, get further input from your colleagues and correct typos, grammatical errors, and formatting issues, which can significantly impact the perception of your bid's quality. We recommend using a checklist to ensure all elements of the bid are covered, including:

  • Compliance with the request for proposal (RFP) requirements (specification, instructions and evaluation criteria)
  • Accuracy of technical data (consistent statistics, team names, commitments)
  • 'Single voice' - a style and tone, which is consistent across your whole bid. When individual elements of your tender response are completed by different people, it is important to provide rules, guidance
  • Bid strategy, USPs and win themes still clear
  • Learning from previous feedback
  • Following bid writing best practice.

We suggest involving multiple reviewers with diverse expertise to provide feedback. As a third party expert bid writing consultancy, we often become our clients 'bid reviewers' providing continued added value to their tender submissions.

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Common Bid Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Part of our bid writing advice and consultancy is ensuring our clients avoid common bidding and tender writing mistakes, such as:

  • Bidding for everything! When starting to monitor public sector tenders it can often seem like there are so many opportunities, you simply need to bid for everything, while it is live and while you can. This very rarely works
  • Failing to Understand the Client's Needs. Always start by thoroughly understanding what the client is looking for. Misinterpreting their needs or making them fit what you offer, can lead to a tender bid submission that misses the mark, underscoring the importance of comprehending tender requirements. Addressing tender questions early on can help ensure clarity and alignment
  • Poor Organisation and Clarity. Ensure your bid is well-structured and easy to navigate. Use headings, bullet points, and concise language to make your points clear and accessible, focusing on a strong bid structure
  • Neglecting Proofreading. Simple errors can undermine the professionalism of your bid. Invest time in proofreading and editing to ensure your proposal is error-free, emphasising the importance of bid proofreading
  • Overlooking the Importance of Presentation. A visually appealing bid can make a significant difference. Bid design can include using charts, graphs, and tables to present data clearly and effectively, enhancing your bid formatting to meet bid formatting requirements
  • Not Showcasing Your Unique Selling Propositions (USPs). Clearly articulate what makes your organisation different and why you are the best choice for the project, focusing on strong bid win themes.

Through our Bid Mentor Service, we provide ongoing support and training to ensure your bids are not only well-crafted but continuously improved. This service helps you stay ahead in the competitive bidding landscape, enhancing your chances of winning while building long-term relationships with clients. By focusing on these key elements and avoiding common mistakes, you are well on your way to developing winning bids that stand out in the competitive market, thanks to our comprehensive bid writing services and bid training.

For any questions or advice please contact us on: / 01204 238046

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