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How to Become a Successful Bid Writer

Mar 16, 2020

You may have heard the term ‘bid writer’ and thought it’s just something a member of staff is assigned to do as and when tender opportunities arise. However it’s much more than that - a bid writer is typically a full time role that requires a great deal of skill, knowledge and research.

In this blog we will be exploring the day to day activities of a bid writer and how to become one, giving an insight into a potential future career path for you. Keep reading to find out more.

What is a Bid Writer?

A bid writer is someone who writes compelling bids for a business in order to win contracts. This is how many organisations grow and gain new clients.

For example, a buyer might require construction services and will release an invitation to tender whereby construction suppliers will bid to provide the service.

A bid writer must then create a competitive, clear and concise bid to influence the buyer into choosing their business for the job.

What Does a Bid Writer Do?

Before even putting words to paper, any good bid writer will do their research. This can include:

1. Ensuring Compliance

A clear analysis of whether your organisation can actually carry out the buyer’s request is essential and avoids wasting time creating a lengthy bid proposal for something you can’t actually deliver.

2. Combing Through the Project Details

Read all of the documents provided and the portal-based guidance before beginning. It’s important not to miss small details, even such as needing to write the document in a specific font. You’ll also need to keep on top of any clarification questions that are raised during the process.

3. Researching the Buyer

Finding out as much as you can about the buyer will allow you to get inside their head and see their needs from their point of view. This will allow you to create a bid that is very personal to them. You should also be researching the competition, this will allow you to spot their weaknesses and work these into your strengths.

4. Identifying Win Themes and How They Will Be Presented in the Bid

Win themes tell the client why they should select you over competitors. This is your hook to draw the client in, so it is important to get these right. You’ll also need to present the benefits the client will receive if they choose you, e.g. if you know the client is looking for high levels of customer service, you would give your bid a big focus on customer service, along with evidence of this (ie, specific training and testimonials).

Bid Writer Roles and Responsibilities

Some typical day to day tasks of a bid writer include:

  • Planning the bid timeline
  • Researching the industry you’re writing for
  • Monitoring portals and clarification questions
  • Researching the client and the likely competition
  • Regularly meeting with team members/other bid writers in your team
  • Liaising with relevant contributors that can provide facts (e.g. when we have worked on similar projects in the past, we delivered x for just a sum of y…)
  • Proofreading your own and other’s work
  • Saving materials into the bid library for future use
  • Getting creative with design to make your proposal more engaging
  • Holding reviews with the bid manager and/or senior management
  • Translating technical jargon into language that the buyer can understand

How Do You Become a Bid Writer?

There is no ‘one way’ to guarantee a successful career as a bid writer. There can be a few different routes to get into the industry, including:

  • Having relevant qualifications including an English A Level and an English or Journalism degree or equivalent
  • Having bid writing as a small part of your main job and taking training courses to enhance your skill set
  • Starting off in admin and working your way up or offering to help out with bids
  • Joining a business as a trainee Bid Writer or as a Bid Co-Ordinator
  • Beginning our Bid and Proposal Coordination apprenticeship here at Thornton & Lowe

Bid Writer Training

As mentioned above, there are a variety of training courses available that will take you from writing an average bid to an exciting, compelling and most importantly, a winning one.

At Thornton & Lowe, we deliver regular bid writing training courses in Manchester, Birmingham and London which are CPD accredited.

The content of our training workshops has been developed around industry best practice, our knowledge and experience, as well as input direct from procurement teams - something which provides a rounded approach to the learning.

Do You need a Bid Writer?

When recruiting a Bid Manager or selecting a Bid Writer, we believe our understanding of our client’s bid-specific recruitment requirements really sets us apart. The need for quality candidates when increasing Bid Writing and Bid Management capacity has been key to the success of our bid and tenders recruitment company.

Fully operational since 2016, this branch of the Thornton & Lowe Group has gone from strength to strength, receiving praise for our professionalism, service levels and understanding of our clients' requirements. We can provide permanent or temporary bid staffing solutions. We can supply a freelance bid writer to suit your needs, whether that is for one bid or several. We are flexible with our services - we believe in doing more than just ‘placing’ a candidate. Speak to us today to find out more.

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