Learning & Development

Top 5 bid writing mistakes: Failing to prepare and preparing to fail

A recent industry study showed that nearly half of all procurement professionals in the UK believe suppliers are letting themselves down with their proposals and that they suffer from being of poor quality.  With the general standard being low, smart thinking and some effort can make a big difference. 

More often than not, the issues that occur when writing bids are symptomatic of larger, company-wide issues. But that doesn’t mean to say there aren’t very specific, common errors that occur time and time again when writing bids – ones that can be easily rectified. 

In this series of posts, I will be addressing the Top 5 common mistakes made when writing bids, and how to overcome them. In my first post of the series, I will focus on:  

Failing to prepare and preparing to fail 

This old saying without a doubt applies to bid submissions. Too often, we see examples of where time has not been taken to devise a plan. You need to take a step back, identify and agree on what the approach will be. There are a lot of examples where it is obvious when someone has started writing before a plan is in place. Rather than dumping information and then re-arranging to suit a strategy, a plan should be put in place from the beginning, including structure and order as well as being collated in an attractive manner. For optimised results, submissions should be refined and fine-tuned, not muddled through.

Set yourself up for success by doing the following:

Develop your strategy– be clear on how you are going win.  Use all your research and knowledge to map out a winning strategy to inform your entire response.  

Plan your answers – identify what solutions you will include, how they meet the requirements of the tender and how to evidence the value they bring 

Agree Responsibilities – make sure tasks are allocated to the right people and an order of work is agreed. 

Set Deadlines – ensure everyone knows when tasks need to be complete  

Review – include time to review spelling, documents, format and tender requirements. 

 By taking these actions, you’ll set yourself up for success.  


In my next post, I will offer advice to help you avoid making the mistake of trying to take on too much! 

In the meantime, if you’re looking for specific help with your bid, please get in touch. Every week I help clients with their tendering, from bid writing to leading on bid responses. Use the details below to view the range of services we offer or to contact me directly. 
 
Tel: 07384818704
E-mail: andrew.watson@proactis.com  
Web: View our training and consultancy services 


Other posts in the Top 5 Bid Writing mistakes series:
2 – Biting off more than you can chew
3 – Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy
4 – Too little, too late
5 – Overlooking key details

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