It sounds obvious, but not answering questions properly is one of the main causes of harsh feedback from buyers. The reason this happens can be attributed to many of the points mentioned earlier in this series (links provided at the bottom of the page). Attention to detail is important to fully comprehend what is required, and to make sure it has been exhaustively covered in your response. 

It is important that you ask for clarifications if you think there is any ambiguity in the questions. There is normally a window of time where this is allowed, so make sure you’ve fully reviewed all the documents and submitted all queries before the window closes. 

I’d strongly recommend establishing a checklist to answer off points one at a time, paying close attention to detail. There is a formal way to do this called a compliance matrix. Their format can vary but basically you pull apart all the documentation in the tender and write down every single requirement. You can then reference in the matrix where you have addressed the requirement in your response. This will ensure you are covering off absolutely everything that is being requested.   

You can even (where format and word count allow) include a simplified version of the matrix (known as a response matrix) in your submission to make it easier for the assessors to reference your answers and demonstrate your full compliance.     

I created a simple template that I use to help people get you started; I would be happy to send you a copy, just drop me an email at

This post concludes my series of the Top 5 Bid Writing Mistakes. I really hope you have found these posts helpful. If you would like to learn more about the tendering process and develop your skills, I currently run monthly webinars you might find useful. 
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: 07384 818 704 
View our upcoming and on-demand webinars  
View my range of consultancy services  

Other posts in the Top 5 Bid Writing Mistakes series:
1 – Failing to prepare and preparing to fail
2 – Biting off more than you can chew
3 – Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy
4 – Too little, too late

6 thoughts on “Overlooking key details

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