Bid Management

Answering the question - where less really does mean more

So because you’re bidding for an opportunity worth over £1,000,000 you have to include every last ounce of content, right?  


I’ve observed situations where a tender document has run into 100s of pages and yet the brief has been as short as 15 pages long.  Why does this situation arise and what can the Tender Writer do to make sure the client is given the best opportunity to win the work?


There are a number of reasons for this, but I’m going to focus on just one.  Making sure you answer the question set.


At school we were taught how to answer essay style exam questions to achieve our desired grade and the same is true here.  It’s all about having a clear structure and plan to your response; from the first sentence of the proposition to the last statement in the close.  


Very often, the questions will be set and managed by the procurement team and each question is set for a reason.  Evaluation criteria and possibly a word count will be included in the brief.  These are extremely useful as they provide a clear guide on the length of your response and supply you with a template in order to achieve top marks.   


If evaluation criteria has not been given, approach your answer plan from the client’s perspective; if you were sourcing a new contractor, what exactly would you want to know and more importantly, why?


For example how would you answer “Describe the measures you take to minimise staff turnover?”


This question is not asking for a bullet list of any measures you take, it’s specifically asking the writer to DESCRIBE, i.e., identify the overall structure (the proposition), what you do, why you do it (the body) and what the outcomes have been as a result (the close).  In the same way, a question that asks “please state…” it means just that.  If you can provide practical examples along the way, this will bring your proposal to life.


The close to any question response is crucial.  This is your chance to wrap up your argument into a compelling statement which confirms why you are the best candidate for the job.


Remember, including additional content that doesn’t actually add anything to your response, will not win you the work, however big the final submission.  However, an easy to read response that is even easier to mark will definitely help.  It may just be the difference you need.


For more information on how to write successful tenders, please contact on

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