Finishing the response is not the end of your bidding efforts
Most of the advice about bidding centres on how to draft the responses. But what happens when you’ve finished reading and writing?
Reviewing a bid before submission is just as important as writing it – a lot can be picked up at the review phase.
Writers can often get a bit ‘word blind’ after spending hours looking at the same document, so getting another pair of eyes on a draft means you can spot the small errors that have popped up.
But reviewing isn’t all about spotting mistakes. A good review should also identify where you can make your response stronger.
Read on for the key things we should be looking for in a review, to maximise the value of what you’ve written.
1. Overall bid review
Take a step back and look back at the question. Firstly, is the response addressing the question and the evaluation criteria? That’s the most important thing. Also, is your response doing the best possible job? Have you managed to clearly and naturally articulate your company’s win themes, to make the benefits of your approach obvious? And have you been able to provide compelling evidence of the benefits you can bring?
2. Compliance review
As we mentioned in the last Masterclass, we strongly recommend reading the specification and the finished drafts side by side. This way, you can ensure you’re listening and fully responding to the buyer, and not dismissing their wants and needs in favour of your standard, boilerplate solution.
3. Technical review
There’s value in getting your technical experts to have another look at the question set to check that your technical offer is robust and that you have full confidence in the solution. As part of this, you should also be checking the consistency of what’s been written across the responses. Particularly if different experts have been working across different responses, it’s important to make sure that the solution is completely joined-up.
Proofreading is about more than just looking for typos – it’s also an opportunity to spot clunky bits of grammar, awkward repetition, and other areas for improvement. You can also have a look at formatting, to make sure that the documents look and feel polished.
We’ve put proofreading at the bottom of the list because it shouldn’t be the focus of your review. We often see responses go through the review process with significant solution gaps that desperately need to be addressed. Yet, we receive these responses back with no more information – just a note that the client prefers the word ‘consider’ over the word ‘think’. This is not a constructive way to approach the review process.
Proofreading will never be a meaningful substitute for real, high-quality bid content. Think of it instead like the cherry on the cake. A grammatically flawless bid just makes the marker’s job easier.
5. How else can I get the most out of my review?
We’ve suggested the different kinds of checks you should be making through the review process to position your bid in the best possible light. However, it’s no use going through all these checkpoints if you don’t follow through on the feedback.
When there are lots of people looking at the document you’re reviewing, a conversation can start unfurling in the comments without resulting in an agreed position to move forward from. After a big review, consider getting your key bid resource together to discuss particular points.
Alternatively, you may want to co-locate your reviewers so that you can collaboratively make changes. Whatever you do, definitely provide enough time for the writer to go back in and edit.
If possible, you should also get someone who isn’t a technical expert to read through the responses. This is because there’s no guarantee that the member of the procurement team marking the bid will be a technical expert. You need to be sure that anyone picking up the response understands what you’re saying, otherwise all the time spent drafting will go to waste.
Also, we often find that companies use terminology or jargon that they don’t realise isn’t universally understood. Your in-house slogans may be incredibly meaningful for inspiring your staff and distilling your values into an easy-to-remember phrase, but saying you will follow your ‘Ten Degree Method’ will leave a marker feeling cold – unless you fully explain what this means and how it’s relevant.
That’s where Kittle Group can help you. By working alongside your technical experts, we will find the places where we can simplify your solution and make it understandable to anyone who picks up the bid. We will also help you to put your solution in the best light so that markers know exactly what they’re getting and how you’re meeting their needs.
Get in contact with our Business Development team at email@example.com to find out more.