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You can win a bid with poor grammar but not with poor content.

The grammar police are rife. “Written” content is endlessly reviewed and inconsistent grammatical changes are made. I was a civil servant in a previous life and so experienced the best and worst of this.

There are some whose review of a written document adds value to the content, using grammar to effectively annunciate key messages and themes within a document, whereas others are so singularly focussed on the grammar that they miss the purpose. Every document has a purpose and needs to present this as a priority, bids are no different.

With bid writing and bid reviewing, there must be a certain level of grammatical correctness of course, and the presentation of the bid response must reflect your organisation in a positive manner, however, the time spent ensuring the document is grammatically faultless could be spent ensuring the response answers the questions effectively and is positively evaluable.

To make matters worse (and to really frustrate the non-grammar police), there are individually different views and takes on the correct grammar. I have experienced bid development meetings whereby the group lengthily discusses the use of the oxford comma (look it up!) or the correct pronoun to be used. I’m sure I’ll get lynched for this, but here it is……. It’s not that important in the scheme of things!!

I have never seen a bid fail because of poor grammar but have seen many bids fail because of poor content.

So, if the review needn’t focus on the grammar, what should it focus on?

Easy. The entire focus should be on how well the tender response will score and whether the tender response maximises the evaluation points on offer.

Challenge your review team with the following questions:

1.     Does it clearly address your offering?

2.     Are the sentences in bite-size chunks and easy to digest?

3.     Is there a consistent theme throughout?

4.     Will it be easy to evaluate?

5.     Will it score well against the published evaluation criteria?

6.     Are the benefits to the buyer clear? (Ask yourselves the all-important ‘So What? repeatedly)

If these 5 questions are answered honestly, this is the most effective bid review. If you answer ‘NO’ to any of these then address them. If you are unsure, an independent review is what you require.

NOTE: For those that wish to review this document for grammatical correctness, I’m sure you’ll find some errors……

For those that can relate to the points I make, Bidbetter provide bid review services for our clients. If you want to discuss this in greater detail, please contact me on 01202 237506 or email:

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