To Bid Or Not To Bid

Most articles relevant to tendering follow Shakespeare’s mantra “to bid or not to bid?”.

It’s an important question.

The outcome decides whether you spend weeks pouring everything into a submission, diverting time, money, and resource to ensure its completion to a high standard, or whether you decide not to bid, and potentially miss out on a huge contractual opportunity.

“Bid qualification should begin before the tender alert” (Ophelia, Act 4, Scene 1)

To effectively qualify opportunities, you should be proactively scanning your market for upcoming framework renewals or new opportunities prior to the official release. Before the procurement shutters come down, it’s important to build a relationship with the buyer to understand their requirement, and whether you should continue your qualification of the opportunity.

“What should bid qualification include?” (Ghost of Hamlet’s Father, Act 1, Scene 5)

Bid qualification should take place throughout your bid management process. Bid qualification should determine 1) rationale for pursuing an opportunity 2) opportunity cost of going for the opportunity 3) ability to deliver an opportunity.

Some qualification tools are quantitative (scales/ratings), some qualification tools are qualitative (rationale/assessment), and some blend the two. Some are complex and require multiple ‘sign-off’ and others are simplistic. Your qualification process should match your business size and capability, and subsequently must be tailored to ensure reflective and reasonable qualification.

“What does a good qualification look like?” (Gertrude, Act 4, Scene 7)


Your bid qualification should include the ‘reasons to bid’ as well as ‘reasons not to bid’ with individuals who sit both inside and outside of the bidding process. Conducting assessment in this way forces you to remove the rose-tinted glasses.

Topic areas

The topic areas in the qualification should be unique to your business and reviewed regularly. Some examples of topic areas include:

• Likelihood of winning (experience, relationship, competition, etc.)
• Financial reward (profitability, investment required, recurring contract/framework, etc.)
• Existing relationship (any history either with individuals residing within or the business more generally)
• Company objectives (strategic priorities, ease of doing business, geography, etc.)
• Risks (reputation, financial, delivery, etc.)
• Opportunity costs

Some topic areas are more important than others. You need to build in weighting mechanisms to ensure the results of qualification are not skewed or misleading.

It is important to note scoring rationale (particularly for anomalies/one-off’s) for retrospective reporting and assessment. If your rationale has recurring themes you should reassess your bid process and/or strategy.

“Contracts Advance will help you build a qualification process which will support you to bid smarter. Jump on the website and start a conversation, or alternatively call 01225 632500” (Polonius, Act 1, Scene 3)

Sam Darragh
Assitant Consultant

February 2020

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