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To bid or not to bid

To bid or not to bid

Do nothing, and nothing happens. Life is about decisions. You either make them or they’re made for you, but you can’t avoid them.

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are – and here, we take a cool-headed look at the practical process of qualifying your bid opportunities before investing too much time and effort. We know you can increase your win rates and make sure you are focusing your energy into bidding for projects that are the right fit for your business – and here’s how.

The score and what you need to achieve

Your total score out of 100 is your percentage chance of winning the bid. Each bidder will have their own cut-off level for when to take the no-bid-decision. In industries with many bids released consistently through the year, a higher cut-off of around 70-75% can safely be established because you have so much choice. For those in niche markets, even just a 50% chance might still be worth bidding for.

Score up to 25 points based on your existing customer relationships

If your competitors have consistently performed well over a period of time with the potential client, chances are you must be even more convincing with your bid. If the client has been buying solely from one supplier for years and shows no sign of change prior to this tender release, chances are they will continue to favour their preferred supplier’s responses. To achieve a perfect score, you’ll need an existing good relationship with the client that has proven the benefits of a partnership with your company consistently. If not, you need to try to make up ground in the other scoring sectors.

Score up to 25 points with your availability to respond

Even if you have the perfect product fit and great customer relationships, if no one in your business has time to compose a well written and immaculately presented response to the requirements, you won’t score highly enough to win. Ask yourself how much time can you commit to the required response? Do you have the key personnel in the company that would can add input? Are they available to do so or are they off work until after the deadline? Consider outsourcing the writing and reviewing to the experts to improve your score here if you can’t do so in-house.

Score up to 25 points with your product fit

Whether it is a product or service you are offering, you need to check the core requirements of the customer and score your offering against it. The depersonalised process of bidding for contracts often deters bidders from picking up the phone to try and get in from of the right people. This is a direct opportunity to explain what value you can bring and to raise your visibility as you seek any clarifications.

However, if they state that several features are mandatory – and you can’t provide them, this probably isn’t the opportunity for you. For a perfect score, your solution must meet all mandatory requirements as well as the terms in the contract.

Score up to 25 points with your ‘value adds’ and other identifiable benefits

Can you add value to this bid? Think through what the client is trying to achieve. Consider what their end goal is and try to work out what additional services you may offer that add big value to the client, yet cost you very little.

Are they looking for a local supplier and you know you are the only one in a 40-mile radius? There are often key elements to a bid that are additional to the main product or service requirements, but that can be the deciding factor between competitors scoring similar results. For a score of 25, you need to know you can offer a great overall value proposition with two or three key points that will make you stand out from the crowd, e.g. if they are interested in companies that ‘give back’ and you have an exceptional company social responsibility program, or you can add a range of free beneficial ‘add-ons’ to your proposal.

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