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Pubic Sector Buyer Giving Feedback To A Supplier

Gaining Informal Feedback from the Public Sector Buyer

After submitting your bid, you might think that you have completed the bid process, but there is an invaluable additional step which you can take to keep you one step ahead of your competitors: Gain informal buyer feedback. Informal feedback from the buyer who has marked your bid, in addition to the more formal evaluation, is sometimes difficult to obtain, but when received it’s worth its weight in gold.

We work with many clients who are successful in a bid process. Even when a client is successful though, they have lessons to learn and so we record and analyse as much feedback as possible to ensure all positives and negatives are considered when we develop their next bid. Knowing what works and, perhaps more importantly, doesn’t work, is essential.

Because our services extend beyond just the bid, we are often able to meet with the buyers after the contract award when we are supporting our clients in maximising opportunities under the new contract. We always make a point of asking the buyer what they thought about the tender response and make it clear we aren’t necessarily asking about the formal evaluation. Asking questions such as ‘did the bid represent well?’, ‘did it provide confidence in the client’s ability?’, ‘was it clearly written?’, ‘did it have positive undertones?’, etc, can lead to invaluable feedback. This can only be done face-to-face, when the buyer is more relaxed and in a more informal environment.

For me, this is where you start to understand exactly why the buyer chose the particular supplier to deliver their goods and services. Of course, the minimum criteria and qualitative responses have to be sufficient AND the price element has to be competitive, but you can always tell if they generally liked your response and/or what they didn’t like.

What I am saying is that there are two strands of evaluation: The first being the formal points scoring, which is set against the evaluation criteria and is the reason public bodies legitimately award contracts to suppliers; The second is the ‘emotional evaluation’, where the evaluator ‘feels good’, ‘feels confident’, likes the positive undertones, is swayed by the language used and, more generally, just knows the bidder will value the contract. Always seek to gain this type of information – your bids will improve in leaps and bounds.

If you have any questions about this or any other aspects of public sector bidding, please do not hesitate to contact us on 07944 847014 or email philip.norman@bid-better.co.uk