Bidding Tips #4 – Writing

Writing is easy for some, difficult for others but writing winning tenders remains challenging for all!

As a result of of this let’s look at three key aspects:-

  • Style
  • Structure
  • Content

It is easy to confuse all, however, it is important to know the difference.

Writing Style

Described as the narrative aspect of the response Style is the basic component in a Bid or Tender.

To neglect style indicates loss of focus on the buyer, therefore the same style doesn’t suit every application process.

Keeping the information relevant to the reader depends of adjusting the approach to meet the buyer’s specification.

Tip 1 –

use a reflective style in responding to the opportunity. Where the specification uses very short sentences and paragraphs, few multi-syllable words and word pictures, respond in the same way.

More expansive specification content and the inclusion of reference points, data sources and guidelines does indicate the buyer is looking for synergy.

Tip 2 –

adopt “one voice” when responding. This ensures that the answers flow. Individual contributions require editting everytime.

Example:

A Construction Company requested support following 12 months of failing to secure 1 of the 30 opportunities they bid for.

We asked the Buyers for their feedback in other words we found out why specific bids failed.

Reviewing the scoring trends the same parts of the response scored poorly. Common factor two senior managers refused to allow junior staff to edit their content.

This immediately changed and they were successful.

Lesson – Carry on repeating the same error and it is the same result.

Conclusion – style counts and it takes time to master

Structure

Opportunities always arrive with clear guidance. Failing to study the guidance leads to issues with bid and tender structure.

Cataloguing or Indexing are classic issues. As a buyer it was common to have bids and tenders returned with the requests on structure, format and file attachments totally ignored.

When there are a lot of responses structural issues with bids cause them to be ignored.

Structured answers generate better scores. Where the buyer has created a composite question answer in the same order. If this requires some repetition that works.

The question has been asked in that format for a specific reason.

Consequently structure your answer:-

Tip 3 –

Statement, reason, evidence and justification statement.

This lets the Buyer know you understood the question, your reason for responding this way based on the evidence you have provided. The final statement reinforces the competence.

 Tip 4 –

Create a clear format for evidence. This ensures that the buyer gets the point. Fluid evidence reduces the potential for scoring.

Content

Verbage, redundant words and irrelevant page fillers create confusion consequently resulting in poor scoring opportunities.

Therefore, a lack of white space, total text, prevents the reader from absorbing the information and reduces the likelihood that everything is read thoroughly.

Charts for chart sake and the same with pictures fail to enhance the document. They may look pretty and break up the page. However, chose with care.

Above all use:

  • Short sentences.
  • Short papragraphs.
  • Clear answers.

Hiding the response in words is a classic content issue. Clarity, Brevity and Relevance are the best editing tools on content.

Tip 5-

Edit content with two questions – does it answer the question? is it relelvant to the response.

The bid and tender writers working with our clients ensure that the content, structure and style present the appropriate picture of competence, capacity and capability.

Tip 6 –

Consequently, word redundancy, wasted content and long paragraphs are distracting, keep it short and clear. If you can say it in 100 words then do!

Hands On workshops

Therefore the Spring Masterclasses and Tender Writing workshops are designed to explore aspects of this subject in depth. Join us for the “hands on” workshops in London, Birmingham and the South West.

Contact us for the next dates.

Bidding Tips #3 – Research

Bid Research has two elements:

  1. Find funders
  2. Funded Projects 

Funding Cloud

Research the Public Databases

The common approach is approach the known funding providers, Trusts and Foundations supporting a sector. It is successful!

However, more information is contained in the data with an alteration to research approach.

Charities, Trusts and Foundations want to be found. They expect to be approached. The art is in the selection process.

Search the formatted data using keywords, grant values and other filters to reduce the time spent is valuable.

However, experience demonstrates that sometimes the data isn’t complete.

Therefore, expansive filters and focus on your beneficiaries to get the most out of the database.

The alternative process.

Create your own list of preferred funders. The Charities Register is a public database and every charity is required to register. Therefore, you have access to every local and regional organisation linked to your community.

Start the search based on locality.

Review every local Charity and isolate all those with grant making powers.

Sort with three fields:

  1. Funders
  2. Potential Partners
  3. Other

 

Review the list of Trustees and look for people you know. It is productive.

Also by reviewing the information funding activities in your community are a potential source of income.

For example: A Sailing Skills Charity held an annual dinner. Another charity looking to fundraise locally looked at how they could add value to the event. The outcome created a 30% funding boost.

Funded Projects

Few Grant Making Trusts and Foundations wish to remain annonymous, therefore, the local research highlights which Charities are investing in the local community.

Additionally encouraging the expansion the footprint in an area of benefit for a grant making body is appealing for a variety of reasons. Learn to exploit the opportunities.

The Funders provide lists of projects, review the projects in detail, look at all published documentation. Once you identify the trend in funding – the similarities it becomes clear where the application is focused.

A volunteer spending 2 hours per week completing this research broadens the potential funding base.

Conclusion

Consequently, a professional fundraiser uses solid reseach to limit the number of wasted applications. Making the time spent fundraising count! If 20% of the time is researching funders that is time well used.

All of the information is in the Public Domain, however knowing where to start is one issue, the thought that is costs to engage a fundraiser is another and making all the count can perplex Trustees.

Remember, funding research is never wasted. Use the networking, partnering and information to support future bids. However, more importantly, raise money locally.

We will be producing newsletters and blogs dedicated to Fundraising, an introduction for beginners and running events, masterclasses, posting videos for those wanting more support.

Contact us 

Opportunity Sourcing

The right Opportunity “enables” the tender writing team.

Tender writing is competitive, therefore, the goal must be achievable!

The right tender opportunity empowers the team and the content.

Three points to consider

TiGolf Link not wasted I hope Time, Evidence, Experienceme

Experience

Evidence

 

Time

Create time and prepare for the “Opportunity”.  Consequently time to correct and polish.

Short lead times create stress, consequently unnecessary tension. A listener hears tension in the voice, the buyer reads uncertainty.

Consequently Team Directors that exploit all the lead time ensure a competitive potential winning tender!

The Lesson therefore:-
Prepare the opportunity,
remain focused!
Experience

The “opportunity” builds on the existing experience of the business.

Tight fitting, verbous tenders are likened to slim fit suits on overweight models. Everyone can see the problems.

An experienced team tailors the presentation of information to suit the tender opportunity.

The lack of experience is evident in the repetitous structure of the tender.

Engender collective ownership of the opportunity when drawing on the experience of the business. Everyone supports the winning team.

Evidence

The “opportunity” creates a broad scope for evidence.

One project referred to 10 tens in a tender response can emphasise the lack of experience. Evidence embeds the competence and flexibility.

Use images, photographs, charts, case studies and customer feedback.

Ensure the evidence is specific, clear and linked to the specific evaluation measure for maximum scoring.

                                               Evidence pyramid

In contrast, gathering evidence after the opportunity is published again creates an unnecessary pressure. The combination is often skewed or the linking points tenuoius.

Create a library of evidence.Likewise The Winning tender requires excellent preparation.

Competition

Be Realistic!

Example: How many of the 124 football clubs in the FA Cup (from the first round proper) have the potential to win the trophy?

All 124 participants. But, only 20 survive to the 3rd round when the big clubs join in. For that reason: Who are the more confident? Who has a better chance to win?

The Lesson therefore:-
Start from a position of confidence. 

Therefore, apply this winning tender writing process. Establish the core elements of the bid, settle them before the opportunity is published and provide the evidence.

That completes compliance.

Establish the financial security of the business and that creates the business competence.

Stage three is where the competitive element and skill of the tender writing team secures the business.

winning opportunities

Conclusion

Compliance and financial competence meet the “opportunity” requirements. Therefore, the team remain focused on winning.

Winning tenders require the right opportunity selection, therefore use the best notification services.

Furthermore Outsource to Tender Management and Writing professionals.

Ensure the preparation, resources, document management and ongoing evidence collation, start with confidence.

Contact Mark to discuss the service we provide. Finally discuss the training options available to bid writing teams.

Consequently:
Develop the Winning Habit! 

 

Bidding Skills #1

This Bidding Skills series is an opportunity to share key tools with other bid writers. Enhancing the winning process underpins continued success.

The #1 Skill is Attitude – Keep Learning

The Bidding Structure

Notice
Opportunity
Expression of Interest
Bidding model 
Submission
Evaluation 
Outcome

This is a straightforward process – when complete we just move on to the next opportunity, don’t we?

Our Learning Opportunities

  •  Wins! – We need to understand how!
  • Unsuccessful – then understand Why?

Two valuable resources for the succfessful bid writer.

Your winning tender or bid response had something that resonated with the buyer. Identifying just what achieved that outcome ensures that it is used in the next opportunity. Also that you begin to compile more evidence supporting the evaluation.

So always ask for feedback on winning submissions. Analyse the best parts and then identify areas that you thought you would do well with, however the scores indicate that more is required. 

Winning example:

10 is excellence, 1 is failed to impress. 

On your customer service or experience you expect to score 8 however the evalation process scores it 6. Ask three questions:

  1. What did we leave out?
  2. Why was this average?
  3. What should we include?

A valuable session in the one day workshop focuses on Learning from Winning. These three questions require the delegates to look at the evaluation criteria with their business in view. The discussion highlights that many think what they do for the customer is excellent, however it is just the same as every competitor.

The reason is linked to sweeping generalised responses, so we encourage specific examples of postive customer experience. These experiences also have a limited shelf life. Over 6 months ago and these are historical, the events need to be hot of the press and contain specific statements from the customer. 

Unsuccessful analysis 

Blame isn’t the result of proper learning analysis, improvement follows. Looking at what a bid or tendered failed often highlights individual omissions, failures and errors. 

Attributing them to an individual creates an unnecessary pressure. Look for the learning points. 

The first is: Why didn’t these things get picked up before we submitted the bid? Where in the process was this missed? 

Now take a little time to follow up on who won. Research the company, did they outsource? Are you percieved as a natural competitor? 

Now look at your score thresholds: it is common to find that average is often mistaken for excellent. Achieving and industry standard is not excellence, however add value to that achievement by explaining the impact and score move upwards.

Learning New lessons

Every bid and tender manager goes through a lean patch because that is the nature of the creative approach, however we never go through a patch where we stop learning.

When the win ratio begins to drop improve a specific skill, use a new tool, start training new staff or audit the business systems. Remember learning in business is the primary tool that leads to success.

Conclusion 

Therefore, can we win everything we go for? Only if we are the only company buidding. Competition leads to both winning and losing. 

Learning from losing is important but learning from winning is equally important.

Need assistance in analysising Bids and Tenders then contact us