There are many reasons why you might consider outsourcing tender writing, e.g. to get better results, but what should you expect if you decide to follow this route? Here is some useful advice and guidance on working with a tender writing consultancy.
Firstly, it’s important to point out that the more input you and your business provides into the tender, the better quality and more competitive that tender will be. Most good tender writing consultants will tell you that a new contract won't just fall into your lap; there needs to be a working partnership and effort from both sides to out-perform the competition. A tender response needs to fully reflect the bidding organisation, and whilst the outsourced tender writing company will fully understand the tendering process and how to respond to each question to gain maximum points, they won’t know some of the most valuable details and unique selling points of your organisation. This information therefore needs to come from you.
Similarly, although you are outsourcing the writing and/or the bid management, the process of crafting a winning response should be collaborative; this is what the big contract-winning companies do. So, it is likely you and/or some of your team will need to set aside a decent amount of time to participate in and contribute to that collaborative process. As you progress and each party gets to know each other better, the time and effort needed will naturally reduce.
Outsourcing tender writing typically consists of the following steps:
- Contact tender writing consultancy and understand what value they can bring you, are they prepared to work hard with you, and with all your strengths and weaknesses? Are you looking for short term or longer term support and success?
- Decide whether they are a good fit for your organisation and agree the scope of work (e.g. monthly bid management, portal checking, writing responses, reviewing responses, submission etc)
- An experienced tender writer will be assigned to support you as the main point of contact who will review the tender questionnaire and all the related tender documentation to fully understand everything that is required
- Kick-off meeting held with the subject matter experts and key stakeholders at your company
- Tender project plan created outlining key stakeholders, subject matter experts, responsibilities, actions and appropriate timescales
- Discovery session(s) held with your subject matter experts and key stakeholders to gather the appropriate information to fully answer the tender questionnaire
- Tender writing company checks portal regularly for any clarifications from the buyer
- Supporting materials gathered, reviewed and upgraded/created where necessary (e.g. policies, SOPs, organisation charts, diagrams, sample KPI reports)
- Tender writing company creates first drafts of each response, liaising with the relevant subject matter experts and stakeholders at your company
- Draft responses reviewed by stakeholders at your company, and comments made/amendments suggested
- Tender writer(s) incorporate feedback and create final drafts (there may be more interim drafts depending on time available and the complexity of the tender)
- Your approval of the final versions that should fully reflect your organisation, answer the questions in full and evidence your ability to deliver to the specification.
- All responses submitted to the buyer (usually via portal upload) in the relevant format along with any supporting materials and pricing
- Lessons learned meeting held following submission if deemed appropriate. Again, a good tender writing partner will want to do this so that feedback can be gathered and quality improved for the next bid. This is also an essential process for increasing your ROI.
In the above steps you can see that timely involvement in the process by relevant personnel is key to a high-quality outcome. Usually, the first tender outsourced will involve the most effort, as the tender writer is starting from a position of no knowledge about your company, your processes, products, services etc, but if you decide to continue to outsource the tender writing, the writer will be building upon existing knowledge and material and will require less of your time. As more tenders are written and submitted and buyer feedback obtained and incorporated, the more streamlined the tender writing process becomes, and your input becomes much more focused on critical win strategies and the nuances of each buyer.
As always, great communication is key to meeting everyone’s expectations!
To find out more about tender writing and the services we offer visit our Tender Writing page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01707 244713 and one of our experienced team can talk you through any questions you have.