There are many skills required to write winning responses but knowing how to write a case study for a tender is an important one. A good case study can be used and re-used, whether it’s submitted in glossy brochure format, condensed to 250 words under a reference, or just a few well-chosen words to illustrate a tender response. Here’s how to pull together a case study that will work really hard for you.
Choose the Right Case Study
One of the mistakes that we often find clients are making with their case studies is that they are using the same ones, time after time. There’s often nothing wrong with these case studies per se (although using more current examples is better) but like every other aspect of the tender submission, the case studies chosen should be relevant to that client and tender.
Choosing which references or case studies you use should be part of your overall win strategy and sometimes a less obvious case study can be just what the project needs. For example, we worked with an architecture firm that had not completed a project as large as the one they were tendering for, however using carefully selected case studies that matched the requirements enabled them to show they had the skills needed. As you will have probably gathered, this means you need plenty of case studies to choose from, which segues into our next point.
We often recommend to our clients that they pull together a form that is filled out on the completion of any project that captures the information you will need to put into a case study. While it is possible to sit down and write case studies a few months down the line, you probably won’t be able to recall the detail that is so important in how to write a case study for a tender.
This form can be filled out by the delivery team – now as they are not sales or marketing trained, they may not understand what information you need so it is worth taking the time to explain to them what information you need and why it is useful. Explaining that this will help win more work which will keep people in their jobs is often a good motivator.
How to Write a Case Study for a Tender
When it comes to writing the case study itself, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Remember that you are telling a story. It starts with the client’s requirements, works through any challenges and added value, and ends with the successful completion of the work. Remember to touch on the aspects that are important to your customers, not yourself. Your case study shouldn’t be about technical specifications or new techniques used, it should be about what those meant – longer lifespan, quicker drying times, more energy efficiency. Benefits, not features.
Write one long-form version of the case study where you capture all the information. You can use this when you don’t have word or page limits to comply with, and when you do you can cut it down to create a version that works well alongside the win themes for that particular tender.
Use formatting to help connect the dots for the reader. Headers can signpost evaluators to the information you want them to see, and call-out boxes are useful for presenting key facts or testimonials. Using images, diagrams, or bullet points are all ways to make sure the information is easy for your reader to understand. Unbroken blocks of text are not reader-friendly.
Use the right detail to support your assertions. Adding in numbers or other specifics makes what you are saying more compelling. ‘We have completed many projects successfully’ does not hit as hard as ‘We have completed 150 similar projects to successful completion.’
Remember that when the client is reading the case study, they are looking at the experience through the eyes of your past client. They want to see whether the product or service you have provided was right for them, and they will do it by empathising with your past client. Making your case study client-focused will let the procuring organisation know that you will extend the same care to them if you are successful.
Keep it simple. Try to avoid using jargon or specialist language unless you are certain that the evaluator will understand it. Explaining things in layperson’s terms is often best and can help you steer towards what the product or service does for the client rather than technical specifications. If you are likely to have both technical and non-technical evaluators then keep the text simple and include the specifications in a separate table or chart.
Creating a Library
Once you get into the swing of how to write a case study for a tender, you will find them easier to write and to customise to ensure that they are working hard for you in your tender submissions. Save all the different versions of a case study that you create within your bid library so you have plenty of material to use for the next submission, but don’t just blindly copy and paste. Bespoke every bid that you submit to make sure it meets the requirements and addresses your client’s needs.
If you need extra help with how to write a case study for a tender, we’d be happy to help. We can help you design data capture forms, train your delivery teams in what to capture, write your case studies and pull them together with a beautiful design to make sure they leave a lasting impression. If that sounds like the kind of support you need, get in touch today.Back to Blog