19 Jul Why Presentation Is Essential For A Successful Bid
The structure and presentation of your bid proposal is essential for ensuring that you hit the most important criteria, meet the expectations of the client, and give your business the best chance of success.
An eﬀective structure will help to keep your bid proposal focused, coherent, and professional – factors that are of crucial importance when applying for any contract.
The right structure will also help you to stay on topic when writing the proposal, meaning you can deliver your information to the reader in the most effective way and hold their attention throughout the entire bid.
Several formats of bid tender exist, and the formatting requirements of a specific tender will be stated in the criteria set out by the buyer. As such, it is vitally important to read the buyer document carefully before starting to plan your bid document.
Here, we will go through the steps to creating an eﬀective bid structure and layout, and how you can use the formatting of your bid to keep readers engaged and interested throughout your proposal.
There are three most common formats when bidding on an opportunity.
The format you are required to use for a specific bid will vary depending on which stage you are at in the bidding process, while the client’s industry and any additional requests they may have will also dictate which bid format will be best for you to use:
Prequalification Questionnaire (PQQ)
A first stage in the bidding process, Prequalification Questionnaires (PQQs) are commonly used in the public sector – particularly for construction contracts.
PQQs can consist of a company information questionnaire that asks for details of your company’s financial position and billing methods, and requests examples of contracts that your company has worked on, with follow-up questions relating to the quality of the work that was done.
The questionnaire will be pre-formatted by the buyer, usually using Word, Excel, or through an online portal. Questionnaires will usually include the follow-up questions, although you may have the option of submitting the answers to these separately if preferred.
Invitation To Tender (ITT)
At the second stage of the procurement process, you may be asked to submit an Invitation To Tender document (ITT). At this point, you will likely have already submitted most of your company information, and as such, your ITT document will probably consist of your contract planning and pricing schedule, any further questions about quality, and your substantiating documents.
Your buyer will decide how they want the ITT to be structured and the format that they expect from the proposal. The options you’re given will most likely be:
– A pre-formatted buyer documentation – Here, the buyer will have provided designated areas for your response and will include strict requirements for fonts, text size, and word counts.
– A free-format application – If the buyer is happy to accept free-format applications, they may provide criteria that you should adhere to when writing your proposal, but you are free to create the actual documentation from scratch. Some companies may allow for flexibility or even complete freedom when writing your application and will not oﬀer any guidance at all.
Request For Tender (RFT)
RFTs are most commonly used in the creative industries, and most are free-format in order to allow creative professionals to showcase their skills in content creation, branding, and design. Here, the client will set an open brief, with a few limited specifications, and you will be required to create your RFT proposal from scratch to show off your talents.
Although RFTs are usually fairly open to interpretation, it is still of crucial importance to read the criteria before beginning work on your proposal, so that you can ensure nothing of importance is missed.
An RFT is a great opportunity to showcase your company’s creative identity; invest time into the design and formatting of your document, and make an impression with your branding, so that you can ensure you get the most out of your RFT application!
Make An Impact!
Formatting and design elements are an eﬀective way to make an impact on your readers, and can also be used to make sure your application stays consistent with your branding and marketing materials.
Here are a few top tips for creating eye-catching bid proposals:
– Colour Use: Colours are one of the most distinctive ways to make your proposal coherent with your branding. Use at least two (and no more than four) colours to add emphasis without complicating the design.
The colours you use should ideally be taken from your logo or other marketing materials in order to make the bid proposal easily recognisable as yours.
Similarly, if you use design elements such as illustrations or graphs, use colours that connect them to your branding. This helps to keep your bid proposal cohesive and will promote a sense of brand identity.
– Is It Accessible? In most instances, the body of the text should be black to allow for accessibility. If you do decide to use colours in your text and headers, ensure that it is easily read by choosing high-contrast colours. Certain colour combinations may make the text harder to read – like for example, red and blue, or yellow on white.
Be aware too of font size: fonts should not be too small, as this may be hard to read. Most proposal documents will specify the font size to use, but if in doubt, pick a size 12 font in a simple style that is easy to read.
– Keep It Simple: Your use of white space is as important as the design elements you include. A bid proposal that contains too many design features may appear disorganised, and your readers may lose interest or become overwhelmed when faced with an excess of imagery.
For maximum impact, limit your use of images and graphs to no more than two per page.
– Use Your Logo! If your business has a logo, you have likely invested many resources into the design, so use it! Logos are instantly recognisable and help potential customers to visualise your company when reading your materials.
– Cover Pages: Creating a front and back cover page helps your bid to look professional, and gives extra space for design elements without complicating the body of your proposal.
Use the cover pages to highlight key points of your business; if you want to promote a sense of professionalism, keep your cover pages simple and eﬀective by using a strong colour background that emphasises your logo.
Alternatively, if you want to highlight your existing customers and the work you have done for them, you may wish to include images and profiles of the customers themselves.
But whatever approach you decide to use, avoid putting charts or graphs on your cover pages – these are best included inside the core of the document.
By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can create beautiful bids that will give you the best chance of winning more work!