15 Feb

Understanding & Implementing Tender Feedback

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Understanding & Implementing Tender Feedback

Understanding and Implementing Tender Feedback – we all dread it, don’t we?

When the doomed ‘Contract Award’ notification hits our inbox with an attached letter titled ‘unsuccessful’ or ‘regret letter’. This can be one of the very few things that make our business-fueled hearts completely shatter!

To put it simply- we have never met a company who hasn’t had some sort of failure whilst tendering. It is very unlikely that you will win every tender you bid for – in fact – around 98% of well-established companies will tell you about a time they failed at tendering.

This could be down to a whole range of things that contribute to the evaluation of a typical tender. Bidding for a job is not just about putting your fingers on a keyboard and writing some profound content (or getting specialist support to do this for you)- there are other key factors that could let you down which you need to take control of and act upon, ready for the next tender!

Buying organisations (especially in the public sector) are now obliged to provide a decent amount of tender feedback as part of their evaluations. This is to support the supplier organisations better their chances next time.

How we approach it…

We are always advising clients to use this to their advantage and encourage them to receive as much detailed feedback as possible. If you only receive scores out of 100, ask for qualitative feedback to how the winner was successful and you weren’t. As mentioned, this is becoming increasingly provided as part of the Contract Award process.

Below is an example of what you should do when receiving the feedback and using this to your advantage towards future efforts.

EXAMPLE Maximum Score Available Your Score Winners Score
Quality 60% 32% 52%
Costing 40% 40% 30%
Total 100% 72% 82%

Our 4 steps:

  1. Understand the key area[s] to why you were unsuccessful- this will be translated clearly in numerical scores using a ratio of Quality & Pricing (and in some added cases, Interview/Presentation)- this will be your main focus to implement improvements;
    e.g. if you score 32% out of 60% for quality but 40% out of 40% for cost – this shows you were the cheapest supplier but lacked in your technical responses. It turns out you were only 11% away from beating the winner in total.
  1. Once quantitative data is identified, source the qualitative feedback provided (if none has been provided- ask for further detail)- this should be broken down clearly on the contract award notification to enable stringent focus on where to improve;
    e.g. out of the 60% maximum score for quality, a major section of this was a ‘Contract Management’ question, which accounts for 30%- the score and feedback provided suggests your contract management arrangements lack innovation and fundamental traits compared to those of the winner (incl. lack of efficient MI system etc.)
  1. Make sure an internal meeting is held with key members of your staff, in order to collaborate and discuss improvements where necessary;
    e.g. Assess all traits regarding Contract Management that was provided as feedback – research best practice – due to the lack of an effective management information (MI) system, it is best to find out which is the most affordable systems on the market- ask yourselves what are your competitors using? What was the winner using? – Companywide Idea generation sessions help massively to ensure a firm approach and wider understanding of what’s needed.
  1. Undergo regular sustainability reviews to ensure improvements are fully established across your organisation;
    e.g. ask yourselves – do we have an effective MI system now? Have we implemented innovative approaches? How do we compare to our competitors? Can we write a better response to Contract management now?

One of the biggest things you SHOULD NOT do is operate a ‘blame culture’ within your organisation when trying to understand tender feedback. Not only will that upset staff and ignite resentment but will likely damage your efforts of improvements going forward. We are strict believers that when tendering, if you win together, you have to lose together also. One of the most important things about tendering is making sure your colleagues are proofreading and checking EVERYTHING before submission. The more eyes, the better! If you find that a mistake was made by a member of your team which had huge effects on your succession of the work, then this should be an issue that was missed by the whole team and treated with solidarity, to effectively improve.

Remember- we offer a Tender Consultancy service to support the development and even review your work prior to submission.
Get in touch if you need further support with managing those all-important opportunities!


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