I am always surprised when there is information missing from a bidder’s tender submission or proposal even though it has clearly been requested in the customer’s RFP or ITT. This is especially so when it has been flagged up as a pass/fail requirement or one which attracts marks in the scoring criteria.
Failure to produce the information will result in the dreaded nil points!
Omissions raise question marks about the suitability of the bidder.
The most common omissions are:
- Financial accounts (they must be weak?)
- Organisation charts and CVs (they don’t have the right people available?)
- Evidence of experience or performance (they haven’t actually got anything worth submitting?)
Almost as bad as missing stuff out is not following the instructions properly or deliberately disregarding them.
The classic mistake made is to ignore what has been specifically asked for or provide a slight variation or your own version of what you really think the customer wants. In my experience, 40% of submissions are guilty of making too many assumptions.
- Provide no answer at all to a question and forfeit any chance of a mark.
- Ignore the word limits applied to some questions and waffle on making the job of the evaluator even more time consuming. This does not endear them to a time pressed evaluator and can incur penalty points.
- Use a font size 8 so they can cram more information into a page when there is a limit on how many pages you can use for an answer.
- This is great if the assessor has brilliant eyesight and only has one submission to read that day (or night!)
- Do not complete the pricing document accurately.
- When a pricing document has been put together the customer wants to compare like for like. I know that this doesn’t suit each company’s method of estimating or pricing and the temptation is to do it your way but this could mean that the customer will have to make assumptions and may make adjustments and allowances where they think appropriate. This is rarely to the advantage of the bidder who hasn’t followed the instructions.
Where possible, provide a compliant bid which satisfies the customer’s requirements and answers all of their questions. This allows the evaluator to score your tender or proposal against the published scoring criteria.
Don’t get me wrong; proposing well thought through alternative solutions can make a huge difference in winning contracts but they need to be positioned and presented properly.
If you do deviate away from the customer’s instructions, highlight what you have done and the reasons why you have done this. It is important to sell the benefits of your alternative.
Just as importantly it is essential that you check and closely follow the customer’s procedures for submitting alternatives. They usually allow alternatives but request that these are submitted separately. If you try to slip them into the tender or proposal you may run the risk of scoring no points for that particular section or being disqualified for being non-compliant.