Bid Myths Debunked

posted on: 2nd November 2020 by Propeller Studios

There are certain myths in the bid writing world that need to be dispelled. By believing these false or inaccurate claims, your organisation could be holding itself back from winning more work.

In this blog, we highlight and counter some of the most prevalent myths in the bid writing world.

The incumbent always wins the contract

Overcome defeatist thinking and look at the evidence. With the public procurement system, all new opportunities must be advertised publicly, so all contracts are fair game. Public procurement is a very transparent system with a secure audit trail, and government bodies will not always go for the incumbent.

It is true that the incumbent already has the relationship with the buyer, so they are at a slight advantage, but all proposals are evaluated on quality, price, and value for money. For all you know, their current working relationship may not be a good one.

This can put your organisation at an advantage; the incumbent’s proposal could be complacent. They may think they already have it in the bag because they have won the contract before. The buyer’s values change over time, and what worked in the past might not work now. If your bids outscore the incumbent’s, then you’ll win the contract.

The buyer is banking on your industry knowledge and expertise to deliver the work, as they often won’t know the ins and outs of your sector.  They aren’t the experts – you are. It is your job to educate the buyer and impress them with your industry knowledge and offer.

We can’t win against bigger suppliers

Large contracts are often split into smaller lots to create opportunities for SMEs. This means that as a smaller organisation, the playing field is levelled out. In recent years, there has been an increased use of frameworks, making contracts more accessible for SMEs. You have just as much to offer as the bigger companies. Don’t let this stop you dreaming big though – go for the big contracts (Turnover vs project value restrictions not withstanding).

Bigger suppliers may have more resources, but if you can show the buyer you offer better value for money, you will win the work. It all comes down to who has the best offer, not the size of the company. Show them you have passion, innovation, and an entrepreneurial outlook, and that is how you win the big contracts.

Even if you lack tendering experience, at the end of the day, everyone has to start somewhere. Experience is only really important if the bid is particularly niche. Often, buyers will welcome new perspectives to the work. To build a good reputation, aim for smaller contracts first and work your way up to larger contracts.

We’ll win the bid if our proposal is the cheapest

There are four main components that make up a successful bid: good writing, technical strategy, pricing strategy and competitive strategy.

It is true that the buyer will consider the price within their decision. However, it is the value for money that you are proposing, combined with the price, that will increase your success rate. They will be looking at their ROI very closely; what are they getting back from you?

You’ve got to get the balance right. Price is a big component of the decision to award you the contract, but its also about long term value. If your bid gives the buyer everything they want, and more, then the price will not matter as much. If you can argue that you offer a higher lifetime value, it won’t matter if your price is slightly higher.

Bid writing is just copying and pasting previous documents

Each tender is different, and what the buyer is looking for must always be taken into consideration. There is a component of cutting and pasting parts of bid documents in the process, but these should always be read, edited, reviewed, and rewritten to fit the new tender. Using previous answers is helpful but should not be the foundation for the entire bid.

Copying and pasting allows the writer to have the information needed, but then it is their job to change it up and edit it. Name checking is one of the most important parts of editing; how embarrassing would it be if a different client’s name were on the document!

It is all about who you know

If you have a contact in the buying agency, you cannot under any circumstances contact them regarding the bid. If you do, in any way other than specified contact, then you are at serious risk of having your bid disqualified.

You can contact the buyer to get specific bid information, such as fully understanding the specification. This contact is usually conducted through a specific notice portal or via email to reduce unnecessary contact and keep an audit trail. You can ask the scope of the contract, how it will be scored, and they can then confirm the tender procedure. This is the only time you can contact them before the tender submission.

Markers don’t read the proposal properly

Yes, markers do read the bid. Word for word. They are heavily scrutinized for their strengths, weaknesses, and evidence. They will notice if you have exceeded the word limit, or if work has been copied and pasted (especially if the tone is different to the rest of the document). Deadlines are stressful, but they are a necessary part of bid writing. It is usually in the run up to a deadline when mistakes happen, so make sure to read, re-read and review the bid as much as possible.

Myth Busting Complete

The world of bidding is a lot more transparent than people think. Buyers want the best value for money contractors and will look at the bids fairly and in an unbiased way. It is up to you and your team to make your bid count, and make sure you have the four main components to ensure success;  a well written proposal, good value for money, technical strategy and competitive edge.

Looking for an experienced bid consultancy? Contact us here to see how we can help you win your next bid.