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Bid writing tedium

‘Bid writing tedium’; an affliction suffered by many bidders. And from a bid evaluation point of view, unfortunately, a very visible affliction. There are lots of bidders who approach the bid writing process with dread and this always comes across to an evaluator scoring a bid.

Surely for businesses to develop and present a sound tender response, the process shouldn’t be boring, dull, monotonous, dry or banal, but exciting, motivating and even exhilarating (ok, I’m probably over-stretching it).

Those businesses that are repeatedly successful have very similar cultures and demonstrate the same behaviours too. As with nearly everything in life, if you have the appetite, knowledge and motivation, your chances of success are increased. Conversely, if the team selected to drive bid projects don’t have the appetite, knowledge or motivation, the chances of success are, I would say, zero! The evaluator can tell in the words, presentation and structure of the submitted bid response how much ‘love’ has gone into developing it and, whether consciously or not, this will be reflected in their scoring.

I can generally tell very quickly whether or not a company has the gumption to see a bid process through and whether or not they will give it everything they’ve got at every stage to secure the win.

The chances are, the business owner or senior director will have the passion and motivation but not the time, so the project will be handed to the bid writer (if they’re lucky enough to have one), or the office admin resource or, worse, their sales rep (no offence to sales people – they brilliantly sell their product or service face-to-face but their skills don’t very often transfer to the bid stage). The further down the line it goes, the more passion and motivation is rinsed out.

So, there are three options:

  1. The business owner or senior director completes the bid themselves.
  2. The task is handed down to someone without the right skill set or motivation to complete the task well.
  3. The task is outsourced.

A good external bid writer brings something new to businesses. Firstly, they are not caught up in the politics and do not have any pre-conceived ideas or beliefs about the organisation. They can walk in (metaphorically speaking) and get on with the task ahead. They know what needs doing, how it is done and, most importantly, have an innate understanding of the fundamentals which give every single bid a better chance of success.

This process is interesting and motivating for those of us in bid management.

I find it difficult to fathom why certain companies go through the pain of managing a public sector bid process themselves. They moan about the paperwork, the time taken out of their everyday schedule and, more than anything, they moan when they are unsuccessful. The bid culture and the bid outcome are undeniably interlinked.

Bidbetter provides bid writing services for our clients. If you want to discuss this in greater detail, please contact me on 01202 237506 or email: philip.norman@bid-better.co.uk