Because bid preparation can be so time consuming, you’ll naturally want to save some effort where you can. And clearly, you wouldn’t dream of writing background information about your company from scratch for each new bid.
Where you have a successful bid for a particular service on file, surely it makes sense to re-use much of that successful content for the next opportunity. Will one purchaser of street lighting, verge cutting or gully cleaning really be looking for something fundamentally different from the next? On one level, they won’t.
But that’s missing the point.
Recycled content might be the most efficient route to a failed bid because it misses some vital ingredients. It’s lacking the human touch and not really giving your prospective client the respect they deserve.
Sometimes it’s all about the details. They might not seem that significant in the overall contract requirements, but to your client they could be their way to differentiate between evenly matched bidders.
Sometimes familiarity is your enemy. It’s easy to assume that you know the contract requirements inside out based on having prepared similar bids in the past. And this is where details that matter to your client can get missed.
The outsider’s view
Somebody less familiar with the service being procured wouldn’t be aware of the previous contract submissions. So they wouldn’t default to them. They would look at the detail of the service requirement and structure an answer accordingly, based around providing the right level of resource to meet the client’s needs.
The answers would be structured to answer the questions, in the way that particular client has framed them, building back to any specific key words used by the client.
If the outsider’s view comes from a professional bid writer they’ll also be experienced in phrasing answers to questions (especially technical questions with complex answers) in a way that makes them easier to read. They’ll then be easier for assessors to mark and more likely to get a winning score.
Familiarity can also work against you at the interview stage. You’ve handled plenty of interviews in the past, you know the bid documents intimately... All you need to do is repeat your winning formula (and just update the slides a bit).
But are you really sure that what worked in the past, with different clients will also be appropriate for this client? The people on the panel will be different. And the type of relationship they require with the provider may be different. What they need to hear will be different and you need to tune into this if you want to win.
Recycled, internally-focused bid content and presentations won’t give you that. What you need is objectivity, and a focus on the specific needs and objectives of each client for each bid. Treat the bid you’re working on, and the presentation that follows completely afresh.
Discover more about how an outsider's view can help you prepare better bids.