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Why Most Bid Writing Methodologies Fail

winning-bids-toolkitOne of the things that I notice, a lot, is how difficult teams find it to actually follow the standard bid writing methodologies that they are taught.

Without getting too proprietary about things, most of these methods run something like this:

  • prepare outlines for each response area (how am I going to answer the question – identify source material required)
  • collate source material
  • create initial draft of response
  • review it
  • update
  • proof edit and add/improve visuals
  • issue

Problem is, these models are based on a flawed assumption.  They assume that the solution exists on which to base the response.  The methodologies are product centric, not solution centric.

This is directly at odds with the sales approaches adopted by most IT companies, whose whole objective and outlook is based on solution sales.  In a solution sales process, the solution itself will not be produced until after the tender and requirements specifications have been issued.  It is common for the final details of the solution to be finalised only hours before the submission deadline.

The bid manager starts with

“so, can you start preparing an outline for your area”

The solution architect says

“I haven’t even started doing the design yet! How can I possibly give you an outline of my response?”

Now, in an ideal world the pre-sales team have been working with the customer for so long that the structure of the solution is already in place before the tender is issued.  However, in practical terms this happens rarely (and its often the case that the customer will ask for something different in the tender, regardless of the discussions you have had in advance).  In reality, for most tenders, the solution development process will always, and must, happen in parallel with the writing of the tender itself.

We need a bid writing method that recognises the fact that the solution is being developed as part of the tender preparation phase.

For more information, see my eBook – “Seven Step Success: How to Prepare a Winning Bid