Anne Farr, Senior Proposal Consultant from Strategic Proposals, is an expert in her field of writing compelling bids and tenders that are successful in winning business. We asked her for some practical advice to share with our wider audience.
Think about your business development activities. Are they professional and collaborative? Do they convey a feeling of quiet confidence?
Now think about your bids and tenders. Do they give clients an irresistible reason to buy from you or could they benefit from some improvement? To do so you need to write with the buyers in mind.
- When writing a bid to win work, it is important to remember that the document is effectively a sales tool which is designed to present your company in the best light possible. It is not a technical specification which needs to capture every exclusion. The contents should be clear and concise with a positive tone, so resist the temptation to swamp the document with unnecessary detail. This is a turn off.
- A lot of companies fall into the trap of providing corporate information instead of creating a compelling document which is customer focused. There are very few buyers who want to read generic sales brochures; most are interested in the way the seller will solve their problem or help them meet their objectives. There should be a clear link between everything that is in a tender and the way it can add value for the buyer.
- Remember that the bid will be read by multiple people, often from different parts of the buyer’s organisation. These readers will have different needs so the document must address them all. In some cases, the tender might even be split into separate parts. This is particularly likely for the commercial section but could occur with any part, so it is important that every section of the document makes sense on its own.
Bids and tenders are a critical part of work-winning processes yet many organisations fail to give them the priority they require.
However, if you think about the potential value of winning the work (or the risks involved with losing it) you will understand the importance of getting it right.