Tag: business

Top 5 bid writing mistakes: Overlooking key details

In this series of posts, I am addressing the common errors that occur time and time again when writing bids. Below is our 5th and final post which will address the following mistake: 

Overlooking key details 

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 andrew.watson@proactis.com.

This post concludes my series of the top 5 common mistakes made when writing bids. 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 
E-mail: andrew.watson@proactis.com   
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

Top 5 bid writing mistakes: Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy

In this series of posts, I am addressing the common errors that occur time and time again when writing bids. Below is our 3rd post and will address the following mistake: 

Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy 

Often businesses, or the individual in charge of tenders, will focus on pricing for a tender, but there is a need for a more comprehensive decision-making process of which price is only a part, albeit an important one. In other words, agreeing one number is not a strategy. A price should be agreed upon following the implementation of an overall bid strategy and not the other way around, or in isolation from the bid strategy.  These are the main issues we see, where pricing is either decided on its own, or looked at too late and not aligned to the offer as a whole. Either approach isn’t fit for purpose as there is always a need to understand the drivers behind your prices.  
For example, you should ask yourself: 

  • What is the context of your chosen prices in regard to your entire offer? 
  • Are you able to offer unique value adding services or are your competitors able to offer exactly the same? 

Knowing the competitive environment and the key drivers for the customer are paramount to making good decisions.  The prices need to balance your chances of success with the value derived for the contract, which won’t be possible if you don’t give your pricing the time and contemplation it deserves. 

There are ways to look at this in more detail. For example, from our contract award database we could provide you with information about who specific contracts were awarded to and their values going back five years. From here it would be possible, by looking at the spend reports from individual public sector authorities, to start estimating how much incumbent suppliers are charging for their services. This type of analysis can help prevent your pricing strategy from being a shot in the dark.  
If you are interested in using contract award data to inform your pricing strategies, you might be interested in our Competitor Tracking Alerts. Not only do we offer a five year archive of contract awards, you can also track an unlimited number of competitors and receive alerts whenever they win high value public contracts.

For my next post, we’ll look at the the issues associated with leaving things to the last moment.

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:
1 – Failing to prepare and preparing to fail
2 – Biting off more than you can chew
4 – Too little, too late
5 – Overlooking key details

How is our Development Team getting on?

Our Development Team are responsible for making improvements to Tenders Direct and ensuring you get a stellar service from your favourite tender alert provider. 
For this post I caught up with Adrian, who is one of our Software Developers, to find out how his team have been getting on during lockdown. 

What is your team working on at the moment?
Most of our recent activity was focused on getting all the new features and fixes ready for our most recent release, which went live on 6 May. The most notable changes include improving navigation in our Control Panel, enhancing the features available in Opportunity Manager, and the modernisation of several customer-facing pages.

Now that the release has gone live, we have started working on our next update and other background work to support continuous product improvement and development – we’re always looking at ways to make things more efficient for our customers.

What are you guys doing to overcome social distancing and isolation?
We interact quite frequently with each other via video-chat. We also have our departmental group on Microsoft Teams where we can have a chat with everyone about anything – which we use quite often 🙂.

How did your team find adapting to homeworking?
The business has great resources and tools to allow home working and with the nature of our job as software developers, the transition for us has been fast and easy.  

What has been the most useful tool or app for your team? 
It definitively has to be Microsoft Teams, apart from the tools that we use daily as software developers, Microsoft Teams has allowed us to quickly and easily communicate with anyone within the company and provides a great platform to hold meetings without losing track of things.

Opportunity Manager, which Adrain mentions working on above, is our tender management tool and is included as standard with any of our subscriptions. The updates included in our recent release for this include: 

  • The ability to create a greater number of progress stages 
  • Advanced tender alerts can now be added to your pipeline
  • External notices can also be added to your pipeline 
  • Addition of a discussions tabs, allowing for the tagging of colleagues and the creation of numerous threads 

If you are not an existing customer, request a demo to find out more.

Funding available: Can you help find new ways to ease global disruption?

The outbreak of COVID-19 has created a totally unprecedented number of challenges individuals and businesses around the world.

Social distancing is forcing businesses to adapt rapidly and for others, it has unfortunately meant closing their doors permanently. Even with daily updates, there is uncertainty of what news tomorrow will bring and no clear indication of when things will return to normal.

In order to ease the impact of COVID-19, and any other possible global disruptions, the UK is investing up to £20 million to develop innovative and ambitious ideas to address the needs of society or industry.

If your business has the means to help, this competition could help you make a significant contribution to the nation, and secure up to £50,000 as an upfront payment to cover the costs of your project.

Competition guidelines

  • The competition is open until midday on Friday 17 April 2020
  • Businesses of any size may apply
  • Winning projects to be awarded grants of up to £50,000 and for them to last up to 6 months
  • Businesses can attract 100% of their project costs
  • Projects must start by June 2020
  • Projects with strong potential could attract follow-on funding.

The examples given on GOV.uk for project ideas include:

  • new platforms and software for music artists to stream live performances, connect remotely to their fan-base and allow global audiences to enjoy their live experience
  • new ways for families to connect with and remotely monitor their elderly or vulnerable relatives and ensure they are receiving what they need, including food deliveries, doctor appointments and help to pay bills
  • technology to help retailers to better respond better to spikes in customer demand, including to ensure they can deliver country-wide
  • new education tools that allow teachers to remotely set tasks that keep the whole class together, support vulnerable children and ensure no-one is left behind

Where to apply

The competition page with further information, and details of how to apply, can be accessed using the link below:

Who is running the competition?

The competition is being run by Innovate UK, which is part of UK Research and Innovation – a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. Their role is to drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk/about

Why we love low value tenders


Low value tenders are those which aren’t published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) as they are below the EU threshold set at £106,047.

More information can be found about thresholds in our blog post, but what are the key benefits of low value tenders?

For SMEs and companies who have no experience of working in the public sector, low value tenders are a good starting point. Securing a few low value contracts allows smaller suppliers to build up a body of work that can help them go after high value OJEU notices in the future.

The five key benefits of low value tenders

Continue reading “Why we love low value tenders”

Does Size Matter? SMEs in Public Sector Procurement

The public sector is a potentially lucrative source of business, as the UK spends about £222 billion a year on procurement.  There are also certain advantages to working with public sector organisations; they are required by EU law to be transparent and fair in the way they choose suppliers, they are very stable and reputable, and usually make prompt payments.

Continue reading “Does Size Matter? SMEs in Public Sector Procurement”

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