Imagine going into a bank to ask for a loan without any identification, proof of earnings or associated paperwork. What do you think your chances would be of securing that loan?
Have you ever tried to hire a car without showing your driving licence?
How many flights have you been on where you didn’t have to show your boarding pass?
On an individual basis, we are constantly required to prove our credentials, so why do we expect it to be different on an organisational basis?
Evidence is just as crucial in a bid response as it is in opening a bank account, yet at BiD Masters, we often see organisations getting so caught up in talking about their processes and procedures that they forget to demonstrate their effectiveness.
Just saying “Talent Scout is a recruitment agency that specialises in executive recruitment and has worked with a number of major players in the industry,” isn’t going to work. “Talent Scout is a recruitment agency that specialises in executive recruitment and has worked with a number of major players in the industry, including GaggleWorks and Jumpfast,” might work. Add “Within the last six months, we have placed 8 senior executives into GaggleWorks and 3 into Jumpfast, with zero attrition,” and you’ll have the evaluator’s attention.
There are a number of different kinds of evidence that can be incorporated into a proposal. Here are a selection that BiD Masters recommends, if used appropriately.
Numbers are facts that can be qualified. Relevant performance measurements that can be shared from previous contracts are a great way of showing that you have done something before and presumably, done it well.
For example, “In trials conducted on tomato plants, the plants fed with Grow Fast’s tomato fertiliser produced 25% more fruit than those treated with regular fertiliser and 42% more fruit than those that were not treated with any fertiliser.” Given these numbers, GrowFast appears to be an effective fertiliser, at least for tomatoes.
Statistics comparing delivery with targets on similar contracts are particularly valuable, for example, “TransWegian Trains exceeded its on-time arrivals target of 92%, achieving 97% on-time arrivals in 2020.”
The advantage is that metrics tend to be short, sharp, specific and objective.
A positive quotation from a similar customer can vouch for the performance or integrity of an organisation, building trust and confidence and effectively endorsing the product, service or organisation in question. The disadvantage of testimonials is that they can be lengthy and unspecific, so choose wisely and edit well.
Case studies can incorporate other kinds of evidence and bring an element of storytelling to a proposal. They should be kept concise, demonstrating a specific piece of information that is asked for in the question.
An example may be:
Case Study: In 2020, Glowlight developed the world’s first smart switch for home lighting. The initial concept was submitted as an innovation day idea in January 2020 and generated sufficient interest from the judging panel to be moved into development. The prototype was released in August 2020 and the switch moved into production in November 2020. It is now in use in 286,000 homes across London.
Lists are a double-edged sword. While they can be useful, for example, a list of relevant products, similar projects, or documents produced, they are limited in what they can show and tend to take up a significant amount of space.
There are often times where a diagram can have powerful impact within a response. They break up the text, giving the evaluator a visual representation, but they need to be demonstrating something beyond what has been written to be truly effective. Diagrams are particularly useful to demonstrate complex systems or processes, including organisational charts, but can also be used to provide evidence. This can be in the form of line graphs, perhaps showing performance exceeding targets, or more creative visuals, such as a map of clients, demonstrating global operations.
Copies of relevant certificates, such as membership certifications, qualifications and registrations, can demonstrate experience and capability. The important thing to remember is that they must be credible. A lot of bodies issue certificates in return for a membership fee, but there’s more value in evidencing capability or experience through certifications that are audited in some way, such as ISO certification.
If you want to learn more about collating and preparing relevant evidence as part of your tender response, contact BiD Masters.