If you plan on tendering for contracts on a regular basis, then creating your own bid library will pay dividends in terms of saving time in the future. If you’re new to the idea of a bid library, it’s a collection of previous answers and supporting evidence that you can refer to as you’re creating new responses, making the writing process more efficient.

What you put in your bid library will depend on what you do, and what sort of bids you apply for, but here are some of the things we consider must-haves for any bid library.

Prior Responses & Feedback

If you’ve applied for any tenders before, then include the responses that you’ve already created. You should have a good idea of how that question performed from your feedback (more on how to learn from losses here), so include notes of what needs to be improved on for next time. You can also be proactive and create a library of model answers or sections that you can then copy and paste into a new bid and amend to make it work for that client and bid.

Do make sure that you check every word when you copy content into a response, though. Nothing screams ‘generic content’ more than seeing another client’s name or dates that have long since passed in a response. You’ll also want to make those finer adjustments to make sure that the response is truly tailored to the client and the goods or services that are up for tender.

Case Studies & Testimonials

Case studies and testimonials can be used in a variety of ways to make a bid more compelling. You can use them to:

  • Provide an overview of contract details when using that client as a reference
  • Demonstrate competence as part of an answer (e.g. we did X on our contract for…)
  • Show lessons learned that can be applied to this new contract
  • Bring dry bid responses to life with a testimonial in a call-out box

When writing case studies for our clients we generally produce a long-form version with a lot of information, a one-page version that can be attached as an appendix to a bid if needed, and a short version that can be copied and pasted into an SQ or PQQ in the reference section.

Certificates

Create a folder and use it to store the latest versions of your insurance, any trade memberships, accreditations (CCS, Gassafe etc.), qualifications, or other evidence of compliance and competency. Put a reminder in your calendar when these are due to expire and reach out to the person responsible for renewing them so you always have the latest version to hand.

CVs

We often see tenders that are asking for the CVs of the key staff members who will be attached to the team. It looks professional to have these presented in the same format with your company logo. You can download CV templates for Word which can be amended or use a graphic design tool such as Canva to create that corporate look.

It’s also useful to have a shorter summary of the individual as part of your bid library. You can use this within responses when you’re attaching the whole CV as an appendix. These pen profiles just have the key details, so the evaluator can get an ‘at a glance’ feel for the people involved.

Marketing Material

Ask your marketing department if they have any collateral, they can give you that will support you to write better responses. This sort of material is a great addition to your bid library, especially if bidding is only a part of what you do. Good marketing material will address the sort of questions that a potential customer might have about your product or service, and evaluators may not be technical professionals so having some professionally written words that a layperson can understand is invaluable.

Technical Information

bid libraryThis is a bit of a ‘catch all’ category for your website, as what you put in it will depend on what you do. It’s the place to store the specification of the product you create, so you can pull out the relevant statistics when you need them. If you don’t create a product, then it’s the place to store information about the products you use. Understanding the qualities of paint you use can help with answers about how long something takes (the pain we use dries twice as fast) or environmental questions (the paint we use has zero VOCs).

Social Value

Keeping a record of the social value commitments that you meet for clients is usually a contractual obligation. If it isn’t you that gathers that information, then ask the person who does to forward you information to include in the bid library. Being able to give examples of successful projects is often useful when you’re pulling together a social value package for a bid as it proves to the client that you have the experience to deliver.

Download our Social Value guide.

A Record of Bids

Keep a master record of all the bids you’ve evaluated whether you bid for them or decide not to (click here for more on when to say no to an opportunity). This will pay dividends when new opportunities come in, and you can quickly and easily look at what was involved in bidding with them last time, see your feedback, or see why you decided not to pursue that bid.

Need Help with your Bid Library?

Our ‘Get Bid Ready in Five Days’ challenge covers all the steps you need to take to get ready to bid, so if you’re at the beginning of your bidding journey you can leave your email here and we’ll let you know when the next course runs.

If you’re further along in your bidding journey and you’d like some help pulling your bid library together, then get in touch today. We’d love to help.

Adrian Corcoran

Adrian Corcoran is Managing Director and Founder of Bid for Success. Passionate about working with great businesses to win them new work, she and the Bid for Success team are here to help you with your bidding and work winning needs.

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