Bid Writing Pitfalls

Many of the failures in bid and tender writing are similar and keep occurring. It is therefore imperative to identify the main reasons in order to ensure they are taken into account when writing future bids.

The five main reasons for failures are the following.

  1. Misunderstanding– This occurs when the bid writer(s) did not take the time to adequately comprehend the bid document concerned. As a result what occurs is a comprehensive misunderstanding as to what the customer was asking for, and the response the bid writer presents. Every bid document has its own explicit and implicit meanings, also relevant cloaked references. The bid writer is to answer the questions in the bid document, not what they “thought” was asked or wanted to be asked.
  2. Technical Overload– When bid writers are over technical in writing a bid. Some bid writers make the mistake of trying to emphasize their technical expertise, without paying attention to other elements which are to be defined in bid, to demonstrate they are best equipped to carry out the work. What many bidders are to realize is at the stage of bidding for a contract, many of the parties bidding are almost equally as technically competent to carry out the job. This is not to say that cannot be leveraged in a bid, unless the party involved has a very unique technical ability, its use may backfire. The bid evaluator will be impressed with other criteria than just technical jargon.
  3. Using Templates – Every bid is unique, therefore is to be reviewed on its own criteria. As a result, the bids written are to be relevant to the bids concerned. Many of the large public or private organizations which put out tenders have staff to review bids, tenders and modifications. They can therefore recognize when a standard template is used by a bidder for all its bids. That is not to say standard templates are not to be used, however the wording of the bid is to be relevant requirements. Subsections and other standard elements in the tenders can be copied, though it is not to be norm.
  4. Lack of Theme – Every bid needs a theme, which is to consistently run through the whole document. It does not have to waiver amongst different ideas and abilities. The client can get stressed and confused if more than one theme is mentioned in document, eg our largest strength is our staff, next line our largest strength is our logistics and distribution ability. Pick one theme and use throughout the document.
  5. Wrong Focus– Some writers make the mistake of only putting the focus on themselves. However, the reason for the bid is about the customer. Therefore it is important for the bid to be written from the point of view of the customer. That’s not to say you must write items in the bid which are not relevant to the customer.

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