05 NOV 20
Where to start? How to kick things off when you’re outsourcing bid work

You’ve decided to bid and you’ve finished a preliminary breakdown of the ITT, PQQ or customer’s instructions, questions and evaluation criteria to formulate an idea of what’s required. This breakdown will help you determine what bid support you need and how long you need it for, which impacts cost. Now you need to talk timing with your bidmaster.

A number of bid agencies will bill whatever they quoted you for, so you need to be accurate on how many days or hours you need. At BiD Masters, we only bill for hours worked. This means you can relax a little with your time estimate – although we recommend putting more time in, rather than less, as this will ensure you have the resources available if the bid timeline is extended or you need more support than you anticipated.

Once you’ve decided who you need, when you need them and how long you want them for, you can get the admin locked away and move onto setting up a Bid Programme and Schedule with concrete deadlines. You’ll need to decide who’s doing what internally and allocate a responsible person for each of the questions if it’s a larger proposal.

It’s also a good idea to establish who will be reviewing your responses – always try and include someone who can bring an external perspective, whether that’s someone from a different functional area of the business or a specialised external Reviewer. They’re the person most likely to pick up areas lacking detail. Your proposal has to make sense to someone outside your business.

This is when you should lay out your timelines, factoring in internal reviews and approvals. Don’t forget to check leave dates for your bid team – bids can go awry if a response is left hanging because one of your SMEs is away for a week.

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and fully digest the tender. If you’re bringing a Proposal Architect or Bid Manager onto the project, they can help with this and develop a response structure.

This is the stage where you break down every question and give careful consideration to what is being asked. Tasking your SMEs and bidmaster to deliver content only works if they know specifically what content to deliver. If you send an SME off to write without this understanding, they’re likely to fall into the trap of writing everything they know about a topic, rather than answering the question, and that will make your bid writer’s life harder (and impact your budget). Remember, the whole point of a tender response is to respond to what’s in the question.

If you’re looking for ways to tidy up your first draft, you can find some hacks here.

So now you’re ready, you’re writing and you have a structure in place. Let the writing commence with a little (or a lot) of guidance from your bidmaster, knowing that you’re getting the most out of the bid support you’ve sourced. If you need help, contact BiD Masters here.