15 May How To Avoid The Most Common Bid Writing Mistakes
Even the most experienced and skilled bid writers occasionally make mistakes.
When you are under pressure to write bid after bid for countless contracts, it’s easy to cut corners or make a faux pas, which can result in losing the bid.
Some mistakes – such as failing to answer the question or misunderstanding the brief – may seem obvious, but are easy to make when you are under pressure and dealing with time constraints.
And since even small errors can cost you a bid that you have invested valuable resources in, it’s important to understand the most common mistakes made when bid writing, and know how to avoid them.
Let’s take a closer look at how to do this.
How To Avoid Mistakes When Planning Your Bids
While bidding for a large contract may seem tempting, blue-chip buyers will not invest in contractors who do not have the resources or the infrastructure to carry out the contract to a high standard.
As such, we recommend that businesses only bid for contracts worth up to one-third of their annual turnover to avoid exclusion at the point of selection.
Ensure You’re Compliant
To be able to win and complete the contract, your business will need to meet the compliance specifications. For instance, companies are usually expected to have been trading for at least three years, and should be compliant in the areas of policy, procedure, turnover, accreditation, and experience before investing resources in a bid.
Assess Your Capacity
It’s critical to evaluate whether your company can realistically carry out and finish the work being bid on. After careful consideration, you may find that you do not have the time, knowledge, experience, or staff capacity to be able to carry out the project to a top standard.
By critically analysing whether a contract is achievable, you can stop yourself spending valuable time and money on unnecessary bids.
Do Your Research
Without knowing what your buyer is looking for, and the competition you’re up against, you’re unlikely to win the opportunity being bid on.
You should know your potential buyer and likely competitors inside and out before you even begin creating your bid. This should involve researching public information about the client, familiarising yourself with the incumbent (i.e. their previous supplier), analysing your competition, and identifying the typical value of the goods and services being provided.
If your buyer offers buyer briefings or site visits, always take the opportunity!
This gives you a unique chance to find out more about your buyer and make an impression on them. Use these networking opportunities to your full advantage – they are your opening to market your company and catch the buyer’s attention.
Organise Your Team
Assign bid writing responsibilities early on and give each of your team members a task in which they have expertise.
For example, one team member should be allocated to the bid manager role and trusted with ensuring that the bid requirements are satisfied and deadlines are met, while another team member should be responsible for the final edit of the bid – which will involve ensuring the text remains cohesive in tone and voice throughout the bid to avoid inconsistencies.
Ensure Good Bid Management Planning
Planning is an essential part of the bid management process, and involves scheduling out the workflow for creating each section of the bid, outlining how each of your team member’s time should be managed, and identifying the actions required to meet the key specifications of the bid.
By creating a clear and specific plan to work from, the bid manager will be able to lead the team more effectively, giving them a better chance to meet the core criteria and create a winning bid.
Check The Details!
Overlooking important information could result in your submitted bid being downgraded in its score, or even declared ineligible for the opportunity.
This can be a crushing blow – especially if you only realise your mistake after investing considerable resources in creating the bid – so make sure you’re familiar with all submission deadlines, site visit dates, and compliance requirements before starting work on the bid.
How To Avoid Mistakes When Writing Your Bids
Be Aware Of The Word Count
There are few things more frustrating than coming to the end of the bid writing process and realising that you have exceeded, or failed to meet, the required word count. If you write too much, your bid proposal may not even be considered. But if you don’t write enough, you risk leaving out vital information.
Make sure you have not only checked the word count for the overall bid, but outlined the desired word counts and key details for each section to promote an effective bid creation process.
Understand The Brief, And Respond To It Correctly
You should always have a clear idea of what the desired contract consists of before writing your bid. Even if you are sure that you have understood the brief the first time, read it several times to check you haven’t missed or misinterpreted anything.
Without thoroughly checking the brief, you may find that you fail to properly respond to the questions posed by the buyer, and therefore neglect to meet their specifications.
Use Jargon Sparingly
Technical terminology is a double-edged sword; while using it can prove that you have experience in your field, too much jargon can make your proposal unreadable.
Make sure your proposal is easy to understand, even for someone unfamiliar with your field. Often, this is a key area where professional bid writers deliver real value, as they can remove excessive jargon and formulate an engaging bid response that ensures you appear professional while remaining clear and concise.
Copy With Care
Copying parts from past bids can be a valuable time-saving tool when done right. But if done incorrectly, it can provide irrelevant or inaccurate information based on an outdated contract.
heck that all copied material is both applicable and correct, and make sure that the names of previous clients are removed!
Don’t Talk About Yourself Too Much
The buyer’s needs should be placed front and centre of your bid. If it instead focuses solely on your company, you might fail to identify how you can meet their requirements.
So, if you find yourself focusing too much on your own business, rather than the client and their requests, take time out to consider what they want, how you can deliver it, and what added value you will provide.
Then, make sure this is all properly communicated to the buyer in your bid.
If you find yourself getting bogged in in unnecessary waffle while writing your bid, it may be that your proposal has lost its direction.
Your bid needs to be clear and concise at all times to ensure that you keep your readers engaged, which is why assigning members of your team to act as bid editors and proofreaders is essential to creating a coherent bid that stands the best chance of success.
Don’t Be Boring
To be able to engage your reader and sell them your services, you need to be able to make your bid proposal interesting.
When allowed, use graphs, charts, tables, and imagery to break up large chunks of text and add some visual interest. And don’t underestimate the importance of tone – the right words can make a big difference, so always chose them carefully!
Want our expert bid writers to help you win more work? Contact us and let’s get started!