Bids and proposals are a key element of business growth and development for any organisation, so it’s important to get the right content which connects with the client you’re pitching to. Andrew Morrison, managing director and founder of award-winning bid specialist, AM Bid Services, shares his top five tips to consider for creating a successful bid
Ensure you maintain an up-to-date bid library with a record of all the bids you have submitted whether a win or loss (including feedback). It may seem an obvious point to make, but feedback is an integral element to improving your win rate, so make sure you get written comments on all bids and if possible, request an opportunity to discuss over the phone or face to face. As you develop your bids and improve your win rate, also ensure your bid library is updated to reflect your strongest content and the feedback is given to all those working on bids in your business.
Example – Understand the difference between bids you have a strong chance of winning and ones where you are not at the races.
Make sure you are fully compliant with client bidding instructions to make the content completely accurate while analysing every part of the bid process. Think about client ‘hot buttons’. For example, research what is important to the client, the company’s key efficiencies (this could be anything from customer service, managing risk or innovative processes) and highlighting corporate social responsibility. It’s also important to ensure you’re answering all the questions in the tender document.
Example – Re-read your bids – are they mainly about you, or mainly about the clients? Clients want to hear about what you will do for them, rather than just about your own organisation.
Analyse your solutions and/or service delivery propositions and make the content stand out using key differentiators. Understand what is different about your organisation and its unique selling points (USPs), as well as customer value proposition to turn your features into benefits for the customer. Attention to detail is key here, so ensure you use the right tone to communicate the information.
Example – What can you actually guarantee? Giving firm commitments could differentiate your bid.
It is paramount that you relate your responses to each specific question, and think about the answers in relation to the client’s target audiences. Ensure you show your understanding of the client’s key messages and that this is effectively communicated in the content.
Example – For a public sector bid, you should be thinking about the buying organisation, its services users, the local communities and any other stakeholders.
This is one of the most important steps to consider, and not something that should be left right until the end. Constantly review the bid after every section in terms of content, accuracy and grammar but most importantly, leave enough time to review the whole bid to avoid unnecessary errors. This means getting at least three pairs of eyes to proof read it! It may seem like a given, but is commonly overlooked on tight deadlines so ensure you leave enough time as mistakes that could have been avoided can be costly.
Example – Review from a few perspectives e.g. Is your quality message coming through? Your value message? Are the win themes connected to the client hot buttons? Are your USPs and differentiators clear? Have you answered the Why You? and So What? questions?