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 our ‘Top 5 Bid Writing Mistakes’ series (links at the bottom of the page). Attention to detail is important to fully comprehend what the contract requirements are, and to make sure they have been exhaustively covered in your response.
It is important 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, helping you to pay close attention to detail. There is a formal way to do this called a compliance matrix. The format of these can vary, but their purpose is to help you dissect all the documentation within the tender, and record every single requirement detailed. You can then reference in the matrix where you have addressed the requirements in your response. Having a system like this in place will help ensure you do not forget to include any vital information.
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 started, and I would be happy to send you a copy. Email me at email@example.com to request a copy.