Designing your bid proposal – are there any traps to avoid?

Designing your bid or tender proposal

4 traps to avoid when putting together a bid proposal

The bid and tender writing process is a complex and difficult one, in which you can easily lose sight of what’s most important to get across. The request for proposal (RFP) documents are often lengthy and it feels like they ask the same question in different ways over and over again. This makes it difficult for you to truly understand what the client is looking for. To top it all off, often the bid writing process comes with a tight time-schedule and lots of pressure. To help you wade through the mess, we’ve put together the most common mistakes that are made when producing a proposal:

  1. Not answering the question asked: Probably the most important part of any bid or tender is to answer the questions. Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who miss this entirely. There’s usually a lot of content to be covered in a bid or tender application, but at the same time this content should be very concise and precise.  The readers – like you – are busy people who will only want to read the essential information. And if you start straying from answering the questions they’ve asked, you will automatically be rejected due to not complying with the requirements.
  2. Forgetting you’re an expert: You’re the expert in your field. You work with whatever you do every day. You know your stuff! Chances are, though, that the reader of your tender is not an expert (otherwise you wouldn’t be needed). Which means you need to be selective with jargon and industry-specific language, unless you know for sure that it’s required. It does sound a bit harsh, but don’t overestimate the knowledge of your reader. If they don’t know what you’re talking about, they most likely won’t choose you as their service provider.
  3. “Copy and Paste”: As mentioned before, you more often than not will find yourself under a lot of pressure with a tight deadline. Especially if you are writing multiple proposals at the same time. The temptation is to copy and paste certain sections and reuse them in each tender application. But beware. If you do this badly it’s easily spotted by trained eyes, like those members of the selection committee! The other danger when reusing content is the chances are significantly higher that errors will sneak in and you will stray from answering the correct questions. Of course a lot of the things mentioned in different applications will be very similar if not identical, such as your company information, so use those, but be wary of copying other material that may not answer a specific question.
  4. Not being consistent about a “theme”: It is very important to not stray from your “theme”. Your focus may be that you offer the lowest cost of the service/product. Or maybe you offer the most value. Or your product is truly the most innovative. Whatever your main theme is – focus on it, don’t stray. Of course we want to be able to do all of the above, but unfortunately we can’t. So pick one thing that will lift you up from the crowd and get you ahead in the selection process.

If you’re completely ​overwhelmed​ by all the things that can go seriously wrong in the bid and tender writing process, get in touch with us. We’re here to help 24/7 and​ are well versed in how to ensure you’re submission is successful.