8 biggest mistakes made when responding to tenders

  • Published on: 21 August 2019
  • By: Victoria Heritage

When responding to tenders, having a well thought out strategy, a thoroughly detailed plan of action and of course, being prepared are the fundamentals required when writing a bid. Juggling all the elements whilst keeping focused on a detailed compliant response that differentiates you from competitors is a very difficult task to master, particularly if you’re responding to multiple tenders at the same time!   

But it doesn’t need to be that way!

The old adage “failing to prepare, you are prepared to fail”, is definitely applicable in these sorts of situations. When you are responding to a bid opportunity, do you know how you should prepare? The ‘bid/no-bid’ process is always a good and essential starting point. Choosing your battles wisely is important and a well thought out ‘bid/no-bid’ process is key to ensure that you are qualifying opportunities prior to committing valuable resource, time and money to the  bid.


Follow our top tips, to gain the competitive edge that puts you in a strong bid position:

    Leave plenty of time

Rushing your response is a recipe for disaster. Good practice in this area is to estimate the time you think it will take to respond and add an addition 50%. Allocating sufficient time will enhance the quality of your bid andwill give you plenty of opportunities to review and rework your responses to improve the quality.  

  Read everything very carefully 
Make sure that you know what you need to answer, by whom and by when. This will avoid misunderstandings when the deadline gets closer. We would recommend that at least two people review the response to ensure you have not missed any requirements that would deem your response non-compliant and fail.

 Pull together the best team not the available team

When pulling together a bid team it is essential you involve all the right people that will make the difference in responding rather than individuals who are available. During busy periods it is common to involve resources that are under capacity if the most appropriate people are fully utilised. This is a dangerous strategy as most organisations can submit a response but only a few will submit a winning response which will require the input of your best people.

 Structure your response

Before writing make sure you have thought through the structure of your message. Your response should be presented in a clear and logical manner to make the assessor’s job as easy as possible to score your bid maximum points.

       Make sure each paragraph is about them
The ideal way to begin each paragraph is with a strong statement about how you will help your prospective client and their business. Tell them what’s in it for them in a compelling and relevant way.

Weave graphics into your response where possible.Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and can help get around word count issues.But beware, make sure it fits in with your key messages and is of a sufficiently high quality.Poor quality graphics can be detrimental to your bid.

    Provide relevant examples

Ensure you can provide evidence to support your statements. It is a basic concept but it goes a long way in the assessor’s eyes. If the submission allows, always provide well-referenced appendices.

    Check, check and check again

It is essential that you check, check and -check again your response before submission. Typos could be costly mistakes so make sure you take the time to review every word, check you’ve addressed all questions and met all of the prospect’s requirements. We recommend you have an objective pair of eyes that have not been involved in the submission review and evaluate your bid against the award criteria.


Whatever your needs, eXceeding’s expert bid managers and writers are here to assist you.

Responding successfully to a tender requires skill and experience, which are time-consuming and costly to acquire, both in terms of resources, lost business and potential damage to your organisation's image!

Our services can vary from simply assessing your bid/no bid process, assisting with the writing or helping to produce supporting evidence, bid/tender reviews, all the way through to a providing a complete bid response service.

For further information on our procurement services please visit our Bid Tender Responses page.

Message us or call 03333 555 111 for all enquires.