All too often, working on a bid can be an incredibly stressful affair, especially when trying to do it alongside your usual day job with an already busy schedule. It can often end up a race against time just to get any information into the response document to submit before deadline. The relief, simply, to have completed the response is enough to make some try to get it off their desk without completing a review.
Without an effective bid review before submission, you aren’t just risking missing a couple of small typos, a review could make the difference between winning and losing. An effective bid review process can save the frustration of knowing you lost vital points or failed on something that could have easily been rectified.
Paramount to completing a review is ensuring that the responses meet the requirements. Filling documents with boilerplate information, datasheets or general text about how great your company is might be providing the client with all the information you want them to see, but if it isn’t what they have asked for they may simply discard it. Only information that is answering the client requirements will score you points; a bid review helps to make sure your responses are actually answering the questions being asked of you in a way that the client can clearly digest. All the additional information you want to include may be useful as an appendix but these should be used with caution. Lots of generic marketing materials and brochures are rarely looked at by the client, due to their own time constraints and pressures.
A proof read for typographical errors is also always important. As an absolute minimum, run the automated spell check tool to avoid a messy red wavy underlined page appearing before anyone reading a digital version of your submission. While a printed submission may save you the embarrassment of Microsoft pointing out your errors, repeated obvious spelling errors or poor grammar can still undermine the professionalism of a proposal (as well as making it harder to read and understand). In a worst case scenario, there is potential for dangerous pitfalls if incorrect wording is used around any legal terms in a bid response. If there is someone in your Company known for having an ‘Eagle-Eye’ give them the chance to shine and ask them to keep some time clear to read through the documents before submission.
Bid Review Checklist:
- Schedule a minimum of a day before the deadline to review the document and make any final revisions
- Ensure the bid is reviewed by someone who wasn’t a primary contributor to the content, they are more likely to spot errors than a person who worked on the original text
- Double check all response guidelines from the client have been followed
- Without looking at the content, see that the response has a professional and consistent look to it
- Ensure that all internal notes and comments have been removed
Spell and grammar check – while you can use automated tools, also do a read through as the tools can often miss obvious errors, especially if the error is the right spelling of the wrong word, such as referring to a Complaint instead of being Compliant in your