03333 555 111 Connect with us:        

How to meet tight deadlines when responding to tenders

The importance of planning ahead
By Jane Shortfall on 5 February 2021

When you first receive tender documents for a new potential opportunity, looking at how much time you’ve got to respond to it is essential to your ‘bid/no bid’ decision!

If you have a deadline which is six weeks away, then perfect. You have more than enough time to plan your submission along with:

  • Who will be working on it?
  • What are your timescales?
  • What clarifications questions will you ask?
  • How you will meet the requirements?
  • What are your win themes?

The more time you allow to address the above, the better the process and ultimately your bid will be.

But what if you don’t have much time to respond to a bid?

Tendering isn’t always the smoothest of journeys as last-minute submissions and dealing with short deadlines isn’t unheard of! Writing a tender with a short deadline may seem daunting, but it is possible with optimum organisation, efficient processes and the right team.

eXceeding is often approached by clients who have an opportunity that they are keen to go for, but the submission is due in a few days’ time. Of course, our expert consultants aren’t strangers to having to stick to tight deadlines, but there are qualification processes that you can take to see if the tender is 100% for you. With any tender opportunity, the ‘bid/no bid’ process must be adhered to.

So, what is a ‘bid/no bid’ process? Any tender must be evaluated to assess if the time, energy and investment to complete it could be more effectively spent on other activities or if it’s an opportunity that is too good to miss.

It may not be worth investing your money and effort into submitting a bid if you don’t have a solution, it isn’t suited to you, or worse you do not stand a good chance of winning. However, for those opportunities that are perfect for you, eXceeding has its top tips for dealing with short submission deadlines:

  1. Prepare. Make sure you are ready to bid by having standard documents to hand. Check you have up to date corporate policies in place, accounts to hand, things that you know you will need to produce for a standard SQ/PQQ, RFP, ITT or Tender.Know what you need to do and what can be completed well in advance. If you are responding to a public sector request, you may need to provide even more detailed documentation. Collating this in advance can save a considerable amount of time later. Examples include:

    a) Financial standing
    b) 3rd party certifications
    c) Insurance cover
    d) Quality, environmental, health & safety and information security management system
    e) Experience and reference lists
    f) Risk profiling
    g) Policies and procedures

  2. Plan, plan, plan. When an opportunity becomes available assess whether you have the capability and capacity to meet the requirements. Make sure you know how you can win and that your whole bid team fully understands the win themes.Working back from the submission deadline make sure you know what you need to do to implement your bid strategy and to complete your submission. It is advisable to spend time with your bid team to work out who will be completing what and the dates when review and proof reading can commence.

    Never leave your submission to be uploaded without a second pair of eyes reviewing it. Everyone makes grammar, punctuality and spelling mistakes, these need to be worked out of the response before it is submitted.

  3. Focus efforts. Make sure the bid team knows where to focus efforts to ensure the optimum submission, i.e., pass/fail questions that can lead to exclusion and areas of maximum scoring. Do not waste pressure little time on areas of little consequence. If you have spare time at the end, revisit the high scoring areas to tune your bid.
  4. Be committed. Once the decision to bid has been made, you should stick to it. If you have committed to bid, you must make sure that the submission gets all the attention it needs in terms of resources and support. This could be internally, or externally. Ensure internal stakeholders and contributors are committed and can move other work elsewhere in the business, to free up time in their schedules to deliver their inputs.
  5. Continuously monitor progress. Check where you are against the bid plan on a daily basis so that issues can be identified early. Check your client’s portal regularly to see if any amendments or additional documents have been added. If clarification questions get posted through the portal keep up to date with the latest responses.This gives an indication of how many other organisations may be bidding and the areas that they are focusing on. On occasions clarification questions that you may have not thought of will still apply to your solution.

What if the deadline is fast approaching and you’re falling behind?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Knowing when to bring in additional resource to get the job done isn’t a sign of weakness.

If you have a deadline fast approaching or you’d like to discuss how we can help with your bid response, please contact us.

Jane Shortall

Jane has over 15 years’ experience of working in B2B sales and marketing. She oversees the sales strategy for eXceeding, but also directly engages with our clients, to understand their challenges and translate them into a tailored service offer to meet their specific needs.

Get in contact

Join the eXceeding community.

Be the first to receive regular updates and best practice insights from our bidding experts.



This post has no comments yet...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get in touch.

Sometimes it’s easier to discuss your requirements directly. Contact one of our expert bid consultants now.


Get in touch