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Bids improve one loss at a time

Six profound causes of losing tender bids
For most contractors, the only time to look into building up the quality of their tender bids is after one fails to win a needed contract. For some strange reason, an air of gloom often seems to work as the catalyst for an upgrade.

Failing to win is most likely due to one or more of six profound causes regardless of any feedback you received on how you scored against competitors. Most obvious is that the bid document was poorly designed, poorly illustrated and it poorly responded to the RFT. The time to impress with clear professionalism was missed.

The second cause for loss is when the bid showed a poor grasp of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. This stems from lack of information that could be put right with up-to-date research.

Third is where the losing bid lacked a strong and compelling strategic competitive edge. This lack caused a blocked path that could have been opened up with careful planning and a cunning strategy process.

Fourth occurs when the losing bid turns out to have been well over-priced. This shows that the critical process “preparing for market” was weak due to the path being blocked by lack of information about what the customer most values. Only the costs that this customer will see as value for money should be reflected in the pricing.

Facing cut-price competitors
The fifth cause for loss occurs when you have faced cut-price competitors and failed to explain that their flawed service would be both risky and costly. Many bids are lost to weak suppliers because the buyer was not made aware of the dangers.

Finally the must-win tender bid can be lost by not taking care to work out the thinking of the different bid evaluators for that contract, especially considering their biases and past experiences. Lack of information and planning in this regard meant you would have failed to impress each evaluator in all the issues that they were likely to be on the lookout for.

Bottom line: The daunting task of improving tender bid success is really nothing more than working through six issues. Whether or not to wait for another loss before stepping up is surely an easy choice.

(c) This Opinion by Tom Evison was first published by Tecads in August 2018

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