Balancing quality with compliance when writing a tender response

  • Published on: 17 August 2015
  • By: Admin

Writing a tender or PQQ response within prescribed page, character or word limits can be challenging and frustrating.  It can be even worse if the question and evaluation criteria ask for a response to a large number of points or if you feel that the topic in question simply cannot be condensed into such a short space.

In such responses it is always important to balance quality with compliance – providing a high quality response which addresses all points but which still complies fully with all requirements.  How do you achieve this?  Follow the guidance below to provide yourself with a stress-free and productive environment.

Read the question, evaluation criteria and specification

As with all steps in the bid writing process you must not write anything before reading the question, evaluation criteria and specification.  Understanding what the assessor is asking of you, as well as all sub-points, will help you to address only the points required, avoiding wasting time and space on irrelevant points.  Read the weighting attached to each point.  Some points may be minor and may therefore only require a few sentences.  Match your response to the weighting – for example if a point makes up 50% of the question, dedicate half the response to it.  This will increase your chances of achieving full marks.

Another important tip is to check carefully for any rules on formatting changes or minimum font size limits before you start writing anything.  By understanding the rules of the response you can work efficiently in answering all points and avoid wasting time later in the writing process hurriedly amending your work to achieve compliance.  This, in turn, will give you more time to quality assure and proof your work.

Guide your bid team when compiling information

When compiling information from colleagues tell them of any page, word, font, or character limits for the question.  If necessary ask them to summarise the information into key bullet points so that you can compile a winning bid with the information provided rather than worry about condensing it.  Help your colleagues by explaining what is required, including all required supporting documents, so that you can work collectively to produce a high quality response.

Be creative when writing a bid

When faced with limits for answering a question be creative and think of alternative ways of displaying information that get your point across concisely.  This will help you dedicate more space to other parts of the response as well as attract the assessors’ attention.  You could use bullet points when describing a methodology, helping to provide summarised and concise information without loss of quality or impact.  Where you have a large number of figures to use alongside a narrative response use a table with attractive colours to condense the information and make it easy to read and understand.  A third option is to widen page margins or change your line spacing so you can fit more information into the response.

Just remember to read all information to check what you are allowed to do – don’t waste time doing something that will make your submission non-compliant.  What you are allowed to do, and what will help you, will depend upon the nature of the submission.  For electronic or portal submissions you may not need to worry about the effect of changing page margins, whereas for hardcopy submissions your ability to print may be negatively affected.  Whatever you do, avoid reducing the quality of your submission and make sure that the content is high quality, as this will be the main focus for the assessor.  Remember to also use concise and simple language – don’t say something in 30 words when you can use ten.

Quality assure your work

As with all submissions, once you have completed a PQQ or tender get a colleague to quality assure and sense check your work.  Get it proof read for spelling, grammar and readability.  Matching professional appearance and content is key, and only through an impartial assessment will you know whether you have done this.

For further information on responding to Bids and Tenders please visit our Bid Writing Service page

Email [email protected] or call 03333 555 111 for all enquires.