Best Practice – Producing a bid during lockdown

Of the 32.95 million in employment in the UK, over 50% were working from home at the height of lockdown. That’s just under 17 million workers who converted their homes into offices and adapted to the challenges that come from a totally new out-of-office experience.

Developing a high-scoring and compelling bid can be a challenge when everyone is in the office, so the sudden move to homeworking has made this even more difficult for organisations and introduced them to a range of complications, including managing communication and collaboration between remote workers.

Due to our flexible approach, we have been able to maintain the same high level of performance working remotely as we achieved pre-lockdown. This is due, in part, to our best practice bid process, which we have made available to our clients virtually. We have done this by facilitating virtual kick-offs, update and peer review meetings and providing feedback on subject matter experts’ (SMEs’) content remotely.

To effectively manage/produce a bid during lockdown, we recommend:

Following an organised process

Complying with an established, organised process will transform what can be a challenging time into a (usually) straightforward endeavour. Impart has a robust and agile bid management process, developed over seven years and hundreds of bids, which is structured to provide effective governance and management, whilst being able to flex to meet individual client’s needs. Having an established bid process which is understood by all contributors ensures everyone is fully aware of what is expected of them. 

As an example of our “structured but flexible” approach, we use a “tracker” to monitor every stage of the bid process to ensure effective version control and oversight of deadlines and accountabilities / responsibilities, but interact with SMEs in whatever way suits them, e.g. via email, phone or video calls. This ensures we can support them to strengthen the quality of their content remotely, whilst giving them assurance that the bid is being managed effectively (even during lockdown). 

Attending a virtual kick-off

A kick-off meeting will ensure that all SMEs are aware of the importance of the bid and understand the requirements, deadlines, overall timeframe and what is expected from them. During lockdown, Impart has been running kick-off meetings for many of our clients over video calls. We facilitate the call and encourage a collaborative approach to identifying our client’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to the bid and to determine our win strategy. This is also an opportunity for our client’s Sales Lead to explain the rational for the bid decision and enthuse the wider team.

During the meeting, the SMEs will also receive clarity on who is responsible for each aspect of the bid, which is recorded in the tracker and regularly shared so everyone is aware how the bid is progressing. This ensures everyone is aware of each other’s workload, allowing the team to effectively support one another and collaborate to meet the deadlines and produce the highest quality responses.

Virtual clinics

Regularly seeking support, feedback and staying connected throughout the bid writing process will significantly enhance the development and quality of your tender response. During lockdown we’ve provided this support to all of our clients through virtual clinics. These have been utilised in a number of ways:

  • For example, where an SME has asked Impart to write the answer for them, we have used the clinic to interview them over the phone / video call. This ensures a high quality, well written response is produced and takes the pressure off the SME who may have time constraints and / or competing priorities.
  • Virtual clinics have also been pivotal in providing feedback and improving the responses SMEs have written. Using video calls (our clients use a combination of Teams, Webex and Zoom) we discuss responses live, sharing our screen as required. This not only improves the quality of responses but provides a vital learning opportunity for SMEs.

Having virtual red team reviews (RTRs)

RTRs, also known as peer reviews, offer an essential platform for reflection and discussion before the bid is submitted. The RTR requires an impartial team, who have had no involvement in producing the response, but understand the subject matter and know what a good tender should look like. During the virtual RTRs, Impart leads the Red Team through the bid via video calls, sharing our screen and discussing and addressing each of their comments / suggestions on how to strengthen the response live. The Red Team can also make use of the message function, sharing revised wording which allows us to make amendments live, reducing the actions required post-review. Often the reviewers have broader experience and can bring additional insight to the response (e.g. specific business improvements, relationship status of existing clients, updates on new projects), so it’s essential these meetings take place.

You can find more information about how we have facilitated virtual RTRs successfully during lockdown here.

If you’d like to know how Impart could support you, please email Ben at ben.major@impart.co.uk or call for a no-obligation chat on 03333 448789.