Our strategic bid support services, helping you to bid like you mean it.
Bid strategies and pre-mortems
Avoid the dreaded “if only”. Identify and fix the causes for losing — before they happen.
What could go wrong?
Ever thought a bid was yours to lose… and then ended up actually losing?
Only focussing on how to win and ignoring the possible pitfalls can make you complacent. To avoid losing, you need to know what might go wrong as well as right.
Where bid strategies focus on how to win, pre-mortems focus on how to not lose. And combined, they’re incredibly powerful.
A bid strategy is a plan to win — what you’ll say and do to influence the customer to choose you over the competition. They work hand-in-hand with pre-mortems to form a compelling combination.
Most bid strategies fall short because of knowledge gaps, or just end up being unused. Our approach is different.
Building on the pre-mortem, we help you develop an actionable bid strategy in three stages:
- Plan: identify and close knowledge gaps through research and analysis
- Do: facilitate a creative workshop to define your tactics and messages
- Act: co-develop an action plan to enact the strategy.
The output gives direction and focus to your bid, paving the way for all the activities that follow.
If you’ve already got this covered, we can independently review your strategy to check it passes the ‘so-what’ and ‘why-you’ tests.
Pre-mortems are used in high-performance industries for a reason: they have a significant impact on results.
Only thinking about how you will win can lead to optimism bias and complacency, whereas considering why you might lose gives balance and realism, making the resulting tactics more complete.
We present your team with the ‘unthinkable’ — they’ve lost the bid and now they need to work out why. We challenge them to identify the root causes and take preemptive measures to avoid them, while there’s still time.
Experience and research show pre-mortems create a space where people can be open and creative about their concerns, rather than hiding them for fear of sounding negative.
Conducting a pre-mortem at the start of each major phase of an opportunity can help you re-prioritise threats and increase your chances of success.
- A 360-degree plan for how to win and not lose.
- A stronger chance of winning by identifying and tackling threats.
- An emboldened team motivated to overcome the prospect of losing.
Bid evaluation and scoring
Don’t leave winning to chance.
Evaluate your bid before your customer does, so you can submit with confidence.
Highest score wins
When public sector contracts are won or lost by the finest margins, you need to do what it takes to earn the highest score possible.
Experience shows internal reviews are often performed by time-poor execs untrained in the art of constructive reviewing. Reviews can also be subjective and more lenient than the buyer’s due to intrinsic company knowledge or sensitivities from being on the same team — especially true with consortium bids.
Engaging us as your independent critical friend will give you an impartial assessment of your proposal’s score with guidance on how to improve it.
We forensically assess compliance with the tender questions and evaluation criteria to check you’re fully answering the question and achieving the highest scores.
As well as awarding a score, we also look for readability, ambiguity, risk and win themes — the ‘so what’, ‘yes but’, ‘prove it’, and ‘why you’ to ensure your proposal is joined-up and compelling.
We breakdown the evaluation criteria into their singular parts and provide an assessment against each so you can see why we’ve scored you the way we have. Our approach lets you track and improve the scores as your bid develops, guiding you to submit the best quality bid you can.
We look back at why bids were won or lost to help you learn the lessons and win next time. We provide a balanced assessment of strengths and weaknesses in a report with observations and recommendations you can act on.
We either review individual bids or a range to pick out trends that need attention — good or bad. One of those fiddly jobs it’s hard to make time for in your business.
We help up-skill your own reviewers in how public sector evaluation works and how to be a constructive reviewer that coaches the bid team how to improve. This can be on a single live bid or more generally across the organisation.
This is typically a half-day course with exercises to help apply the learning. We find the courses are also beneficial to writers by helping them understand what reviewers look for.
- Identify how bids can be improved, leading to higher quality submissions.
- Ensure bids are evaluated based on their merits rather than any external factors, such as relationships or previous engagements.
- Understand why bids are won or lost to drive continuous improvement.
Successfully navigate the complexities of bidding with a team of experts ready to step in and guide the way.
A team of sages by your side
Public sector bidding is complex. It takes years of disciplined practice, and no two bids are ever the same.
You need to adapt and respond to the latest methods, regulations and market realities with each new procurement that comes along.
We’ll help you make sure your team is ready and equipped to get ahead of the game.
Do you have too many bids and not enough people? Are procurement delays disrupting your resource plans? Faced with parental leave or long-term absence? Whatever the reason, sometimes you need experienced experts to bolster your bidding capacity.
We have the in-house expertise and experience to perform the role of Bid Director, Bid Manager, Bid Coordinator on live bids. We also have a little black book of excellent contract bidding experts who we know and trust to deliver our services as though they were ours — letting us flexibly scale to meet your resource requirements:
- Capture Managers
- Bid Directors
- Bid Managers
- Bid Coordinators
- Bid Writers/Editors
- Graphic Designers.
Talk to us about your short term or long term resource needs.
We use our extensive and up-to-date knowledge of public sector and defence procurement to help prepare you for the various regulations and procedures, including competitive dialogue, frameworks, innovation partnerships — and even single source.
We guide your team through what to expect, the nuances of each procedure, how to approach them, and what to avoid; all to give you a competitive advantage.
We’re as involved as you want us to be. Whether you need an occasional sounding board or all-in consulting, you’ll find we’re as invested as you are. And like you, we’re always responsive to changing priorities and emerging situations.
Need advice to weigh up the pros and cons of your tactical approach? Or someone to plan and run a workshop so you can focus on the here and now? Or maybe you need someone to intervene in a deal to maintain momentum.
We give independent and practical advice about every aspect of the bid process. While your situation will be unique, our external perspective and expertise will help you find answers to keep you on-track towards your goal.
Consulting should leave a legacy of improvement. It’s in our nature to teach and share insights, and many of our customers invite us back to deliver formal training.
We help teams prepare for presentations with an approach that puts customers first and slide decks last. Having an independent audience to plan and rehearse with can make all the difference.
What does the customer want to hear? What’s your ‘end in mind’? How will you make the right impact? It’s the small details that make a big difference.
Discover creative ways of presenting to make the right impression, putting you front of mind with the audience.
Are lessons learned part of your bid process but rarely heeded? We think there’s a better way and it forms part of continuous improvement activity that can improve results as well as team retention.
Our service is about far more than facilitating a lessons learned workshop after a recent loss. It’s an enduring and measurable change for continuous evolution.
We hold a mirror up to identify the root causes and recurring themes for why you win or lose bids. This involves consulting with internal stakeholders, external partners, and customers to systematically gather vital insights across your bidding operations over a period of time.
Once themes are identified, we create a business case to help you make informed decisions about priorities and investments, giving you:
- A definitive understanding of why you win or lose vital contracts
- Insights-driven development decisions
- A progressive bidding capability optimised through experience that ‘uses what it learns’.
- Focussed expert guidance when you need it most.
- Troubleshoot and fix tactical issues on live bids.
- Become self-sufficient through our coaching and knowledge sharing.
“After successfully navigating multiple procurement stages of a major blue-light bid, we entered the home straight in a strong position. Recognising the marginal differences between competitors in public procurement processes, I engaged Bidcraft to provide a pre-mortem exercise to challenge bid team group-think, and to support our internal quality evaluation through an independent ‘cold-eye’ review. From day one, BidCraft worked collaboratively to help us tailor our competitive strategy and understand how we can make marginal gains in quality. We subsequently went on to win the competition. I have since engaged Bidcraft on other strategic opportunities and consider them as one of my trusted partners.”
“Bidding large public sector deals is never easy, and when we took on two mega deals (one in Defence and one in Education) we knew we’d be facing strong competition and would need a critical friend to help our teams deliver consistent evaluator-friendly and high-scoring responses. We decided to engage BidCraft’s Reviewing and Scoring team for their proven hands-on experience and public sector evaluation expertise. The BidCraft team quickly slotted seamlessly into our proposal production teams and provided excellent levels of responsiveness, coaching and challenge that really helped our authors step up their game. I have no doubt their focus on scoring, the quality of their feedback and their guidance on how to improve content has significantly increased our win probability on these deals.”
We are. Are you?
Let’s talk – coffee is on us.