Completing a bid/tender for a ‘must win’ tender may prove to be more difficult than you anticipated.
Whether you’re aiming to submit a bid/tender response in relation to a public or private sector opportunity, it is vitally important to review your responses to all aspects of your bid prior to submitting it to the buyer.
The ‘review’ should not be completed by someone who has been involved in the bid – it can be someone internal or external to your organisation but should not be someone who has written any of the responses, someone who can take a look at the bid to make sure it makes sense.
This is exactly how it will work for the Buyer ,who will have someone who is assigned to review and mark your bid, someone that may not have ever heard of your organisation, so it needs to be easy to follow and clearly show that you have answered the questions being asked!
Understandably, companies focus their time and effort on providing a great product or service and identifying new customers who would benefit from their offering. This means, at times, they often do not fully understand the requirements of a bid/tender opportunity and as a result have a low chance of being successful – irrespective of how great their product or service is. There are a few key areas which need to be addressed prior to submitting that ‘winning tender response’.
Tender Review Checklist – Key Areas:
- Focus Time and Effort per Weightings: Although obvious, we’ve regularly seen responses both in our time as public sector buyers and consultants at Value Match where, with a little more focus and structure on the areas which hold a greater weight score, the submission could have been a lot stronger. The Buyer makes it clear what the weightings are i.e. 70% technical and 30% price and each questions covered in the technical response will be broken down into weightings further.
- Only Submit Information that is Requested: The old phrase ‘Read the Question’ cannot be overstated. If a question asks for the company’s Health and Safety report or last 3 years’ accounts, it’s advised that you give them exactly what they are asking for. To ensure equal treatment between bidders, public sector buyers often highlight those questions where additional supporting material can be submitted. It is only in such cases that material should be provided, as otherwise the documentation will not be considered as part of the evaluation process. This is not a negotiation or a sales pitch- they only want the information they are asking for and anything outside will not be considered. You should also ensure you are making it easy for the Buyer to find what they are looking for i.e. if they are asking you to provide a specific response in 200 words do not respond with ‘Please see Annex A’ as that is not what they are looking for.
- Adhere to Page/Word Restrictions: Again, similar to the last point, to ensure all bidders are treated equally public sector buyers will often impose a page limit or word count to certain questions. You must take note of this and ensure responses comply with any restriction. It’s highly likely that the part of the response which exceeds the limit will be discounted and not considered during the evaluation process. Therefore it is good practice to always ensure the most relevant part of a response is set out at the beginning.
- Allow more Time if Responding using an eSourcing Portal: eSourcing Portals have brought many positive aspects to tendering, however as with any system its vitally important to allow enough time when responding to an opportunity. It’s highly recommended that any guidance material is read and fully understood by all accessing the system and to ensure your response is submitted within the timeframe. Failure to do so can result in an automatic disqualification from the event – once the deadline has passed there is nothing else that can be done -so don’t rely on technology for last minute submissions!
Why is an Independent Tender Review So Important?
Even if you’re confident that you have carefully reviewed all the above, there are a few areas many often overlook prior to a submission. With an independent review, the entire submission will be analysed to identify and rectify the following to help maximise your chances of success:
- Areas where a response may be non-compliant
- Questions where the response does not sufficiently address the question posed
- Responses that could be strengthened to gain higher marks
- General improvements that could be made to the overall tender response
- Spelling or grammatical errors that might not have been spotted!
A tender review can be carried out remotely and could typically take up to 1-3 days, however larger tenders or those utilising the Open Procedure may take longer depending on the number of questions and word/page restrictions in place. An independent review of your bid/tender will aim to address any immediate gaps and ensure you maximise the word count and number of marks available to you. Pertinent questions will also address issues and risks whilst ensuring that you are putting forward your best possible response.
Value Match Bid Review support is provided by experienced Public Sector procurement professionals who have worked in Central Government, Local Government and the NHS and have a great understanding of what the Buyer is looking for. Our Bid Review support has helped clients to improve their bid responses prior to submission, and delivered results which have included top ranking suppliers and 100% quality/technical scores. We have also helped organisations gain a better understanding and overall more detailed feedback on areas of improvement on unsuccessful bids to help improve knowledge and responses for future bid/tendering activity.
For further information, contact Lindsay Rosul
T: 07702 823 648