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Bid writing is one of the most competitive industries out there. In a culture where children are told that there is no such thing as ‘coming last’, our industry stays firmly entrenched in a win or lose scenario. If you lose a bid, you’ve lost, and there is no runner-up prize for organisations that come a close second.

Because of this, it’s imperative to stay focussed upon what you are trying to achieve at all times. While it can be really easy to go off track with your writing, becoming swept up in the enthusiasm you display for your company, it’s really important to bear in mind what the evaluator is looking for, at all times.

One of the main things that can bring bid writers down is the reliance upon boilerplate. Pre-written content is a very tempting tool to supplement your writing when you are working to a tight deadline on a large bid, but often using sections of boilerplate can make it really difficult to remain objective and produce targeted copy. As soon as a large volume of pre-written text is in situ on the page, it’s really tough to step back from it and evaluate it properly, assessing whether or not it fully answers the question. This is why the best bid writers structure their response before beginning to write, putting in place a sound strategy for responding to questions compliantly.

While most invitations to tender contain a certain amount of information about how your evaluator will score the response you submit, it can still be difficult at times to really gain a thorough understanding about the amount of weight, importance and effort you should allocate to each question. When we are given percentage weightings for each question and response, it is simple to see how the overall bid adds up in terms of reaching a compliant answer, but less easy to understand exactly what needs to be written, to obtain the maximum amount of points available.

A good rule of thumb when you respond to any bid writing question is to look at the structure and content of the question itself, to determine what points will be allocated, rather than thinking about the evaluation of the response alone to format your words. The question contains everything you need to provide a complaint answer, and as such it should provide you with all the inspiration required to structure a really sound response. If you’re unsure, refer to the specifications for further information to determine exactly what the evaluator will be looking for.

Weighting systems differ from sector to sector, and industry to industry, but the principles for understanding them are always the same. Look closely at the question, establish exactly what the evaluator is looking for, and then provide a response which details each element of the question in simple sequential order. Look back at your response through the eyes of your evaluator. What are they looking to see from your writing? What do they really want to know? By understanding fully what the evaluator will be looking for, you will be able to provide a perfect response which gathers the full amount of points available for each question asked.

Red Review & Evaluation FAQs

What’s in a name?

There is an urban myth in the proposal world about a group of proposal professionals who were drafted in to write an outstanding response to an invitation to tender. According to popular legend, the bid writer did an outstanding job, as did the manager and the rest of the team, and the company bidding were more confident than ever before that they had written the best possible response. The bid was going to win. It was inevitable.

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Understanding your evaluator’s scoring system in bid writing

Bid writing is one of the most competitive industries out there. In a culture where children are told that there is no such thing as ‘coming last’, our industry stays firmly entrenched in a win or lose scenario. If you lose a bid, you’ve lost, and there is no runner-up prize for organisations that come a close second.

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The Proposal Evaluation Process

Even the best Bid Writers and Managers can be daunted by the proposal evaluation process. Many companies can fall down when it comes to establishing why a bid did not succeed with their clients, or taking time prior to submission to assess their near-complete document for compliance.

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The bid writer’s guide to swaying an evaluator’s decision

When the average bid writer approaches a new document, the chances are that thoughts of the evaluator who will be receiving the bid will not be far from their mind. Proposal writers understand the sway which every evaluator has, and their unseen presence permeates the full remit of the bid management process, leading to the bid manager and bid writers viewing the document objectively, in an effort to judge compliance without bias.

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Thinking from the purchaser’s perspective

Organisations that have a solid bid team behind them can often get the proposal process down to a fine art. They understand the various propositions which they can offer, and have usually developed a comfortable process involving the validation of bids, storyboarding, and drafting compelling proposals for their customers.

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The bid writer’s guide to developing an evaluation plan

Putting together a trustworthy and believable evaluation plan is a fundamental element of the bid writing process. A sound evaluation plan helps your customer to understand exactly what you are going to deliver, and the way in which they can assess the progress of your project. In essence, it is a way of answering the question, “What does success look like?” for your customer. A good evaluation plan is the cornerstone of subsequent development of service level agreements and key performance indicators, enabling your client to ascertain whether or not your project is delivering according to plan.

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Proposal evaluation, editing and proofreading of tenders

Bid writers face a host of challenges when it comes to producing an outstanding bid, and one of the most onerous yet critical ones is completing the proposal evaluation, editing and proofreading process. Most bid writers feel exhausted at the culmination of a lengthy proposal production project, and the last thing one wants to do is spend further time reading back the document and checking for errors. However, even a simple error can mean the difference between winning and losing, which reinforces the fact that proposal evaluation, proofing and editing is the most important element of the overall bid writing process.

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Proposal Evaluation – Why proposal evaluation is critical

Anyone who has requested feedback from a failed tender has probably suffered from receiving the usual standard responses. Well over half of people who get back to failed bidders come up with the usual reason for not choosing the tenderer as a preferred supplier:
“It all came down to cost in the end.”

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Outsourcing the bid evaluation process

Even the best bid writers and managers can be daunted by the proposal evaluation process. Many companies can fall down when it comes to establishing why a bid did not succeed with their clients, or taking time prior to submission to assess their near-complete document for compliance.

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Making the bid evaluator’s life easier

Bid evaluators have a tough task. Not only do they need to stay up until the small hours wading through masses of documents, they are also charged with the role of picking out key elements of each to determine the quality of the bid, weeding out the businesses which they feel won’t deliver, in order to secure the services of the best possible provider. When you consider the fact that the average bid evaluator probably has around ten proposals to read through, it suddenly becomes easier to understand when they fail businesses for the smallest errors.

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