25 Sep How To Plan And Write A High Scoring Submission
In the bid and tendering process, writing a high scoring submission is a key part of winning more work. But few people appreciate just how important the planning aspect of this is.
While it is of course essential to write an informative and persuasive bid, the best way to do this often lies in planning your answers effectively, in advance of putting your application together.
Below, we explore some of the best ways to thoroughly and effectively plan your submission, so that the final version achieves the highest score possible and gives you the best chance of success.
1. Study The Mark Scheme
Every tender will have a mark scheme and an evaluation criteria for each bid.
Properly understanding the criteria will help you gain a clear insight into what the client will consider a strong and helpful answer. So ensure that you have been provided with the most up to date version of the criteria, ask questions about anything that may be unclear, and make sure you do this well in advance of the deadline.
Many applicants harm their chances of success by simply forgetting to refer to the criteria and mark scheme, or by not knowing how to use it.
2. Use The Mark Scheme To Shape Your Answers
After carefully studying the mark scheme, consider the relevant information that you can share in each section, and think carefully about how best to present it in order to achieve a high score against the criteria.
Use the criteria to list key points that you think are important to include in your application, and assess where they would be most effective in strengthening your answer.
At this stage, you only need to create a rough outline, or perhaps list some bullet points. When it comes to writing your application more thoroughly, you will be able to refine your outline into a clear and persuasive text, confident that you are covering all the main points and key pieces of information.
Applications may be long, and it can be easy to become overwhelmed. So having the key headings and bullet points noted down in advance helps to keep the writing process clear and simple later on.
3. Get A Fresh Perspective
At all stages, it can be particularly helpful to get a fresh, knowledgeable perspective from a colleague or industry professional.
It can be especially helpful to have someone look over your work at the bullet point stage, as they can check that you have listed all the key information that will need to be written up in the application proper.
Having your application read through by someone with a fresh perspective is also crucial when it has been fully written up into a ‘final’ form, but not yet submitted.
By making sure that your bids for work are carefully read by others in advance of submission, you can help to ensure that they are clear and persuasive, and that you haven’t become too engrossed in minor details or forgotten to mention something important.
4. Balance Your Answers
If there is a word limit for your application, be sure to check this in advance, and ensure that you do not spend too many words on one question and too little on another.
Whether there is a word limit or not, it is still helpful to place equal emphasis on each question and balance your answers to them accordingly — unless requested to do otherwise.
Of course, you may have particular strengths or expertise that you wish to emphasise in certain sections, but even so, still try to ensure that no area appears thin or neglected.
5. Know Your Client
Ensure that you have fully read and absorbed any information that the client has provided you with.
Documents, client intelligence, mission statements, and more can all help to give you an accurate picture of your client, so be meticulous with your research and make especially sure to know their values and what matters to their business.
This tip may seem simple, but by better knowing what clients want to see in the bids submitted to them, you can tailor your applications to their particular wishes and optimise your chances of winning the work.
6. Focus Your Responses
It can be tempting to include as much information as possible in your bids, in order to ensure they contain what the clients want to see.
However, the danger is that clients will not have time to read excessively long bids in detail, and may be more likely to miss important things. ‘Information overload’ can also be a factor, as clients may become intimidated when presented with a large volume of information, and could choose not to engage with your bid altogether.
You can avoid this by keeping your answers specifically focused on the details that the bids require. Any information, case studies, or statistics that you include should clearly relate to the original question.
Reread each of your answers to ensure that you have responded to the questions effectively and not included anything irrelevant. Additionally, plan your responses so that you do not repeat the same information across multiple answers, and try to keep them clear and direct in order to deliver the most persuasive bid possible.