Tenders and RFP Responses

More and more companies are looking to get better value when looking to buy solutions and over haggling with the best sales guy they like and get on with the work on a more professional basis with a RFQ, RFP, ITT PQQ.

This doesn’t mean that you should walk away and leave for the “big boys” sometimes an RFP is your best chance to win as it allows the company to really see a deep dive of your company and products.

My advice is to have a set of template answers around your company and offer to make the process simpler and focus around the executive summary as your key selling message.

Below is a list of Question s and Answers that may help you understand more.

Question: What is a PQQ/ITT/RFP? 

Answer: A PQQ (Pre-qualification Questionnaire is a set of questions designed to help buyers select the most suitable bidders to be invited to tender. An ITT (Invitation to Tender) is the paper or electronic documentation issued to organisations invited to tender for a contract. Typically, it includes a background, rules of tender, contract specification, questions or information required and a draft contract. A RFP (Request for Proposal) is the same as an ITT, but is the term used in the US and some other countries.

Question: What is a tender response?

Answer: A tender response, also referred to as a submission, is the document that is provided by the bidder to the organisation that issued the ITT. It lays out the bidder's proposal to meet with the requirements contained in the ITT. 

Question: What is a tender process?

Answer: The tender process is the formal process that begins once potential suppliers have expressed an interest to bid, or have been pre-qualified through a PQQ. They will receive an Invitation to Tender or a contract notice which means they are now able to bid for the contract. Depending upon the contracting organisation and the nature of the contract, once the ITT is issued any contact between the parties may be forbidden, other than the formal Q&A process.

Question: What is a bid or proposal?

Answer: This is the same thing as a tender response (see above).

Question: What is bid writing?

Answer: Bid writing is required to complete the tender response. It is a process that combines both art and science and is designed to create comprehensive and compelling answers to the questions and requirements contained within the ITT.

Question: What is bid management?

Answer: Bid management is the overall responsibility that covers the production of a tender response. A bid manager will be assigned and, depending on the size of the organisation, may take ownership of several bids at one time. The bid manager will ensure that the response is complete, compelling and submitted on or before the deadline. To do this, they are likely to be managing the input from bid writers and subject matter experts, and ensuring relevant supporting documents are included as part of the submission.

Question: What is a bid review?

Answer: Sometimes referred to as a 'Red Review', a bid review takes place once the final draft of the proposal has been completed. In many cases, interim reviews will have taken place at key stages in the proposal's development. The Red Review is a bid scrutinisation process that is designed to provide an objective reality check from a fresh, unbiased, customer-based viewpoint. Planned and executed properly, a Red Review can turn a probable loser into a likely winner.

Question: What is a bid library?

Answer: A bid library is a repository of documents and information that you need to access and use frequently for the bids that you respond to. For example, a bid library will contain your policies, certificates, templates, essential company information, etc. The files are held electronically on a server and referenced in such a way that they are easy to find. The main challenge in maintaining a great bid library is keeping all of the information current.

Question: What is bid/no bid planning?

Answer: Bid / no bid planning is an internal process that takes place before the writing begins. Involving a series of questions, challenges and decisions, it establishes the likelihood of creating a winning bid. Not all bidding opportunities will be right for your organisation. By taking a disciplined approach to the qualification process, you will improve your chances of success and waste less time on ‘bad’ bids.

Question: What is an executive summary?

Answer: As the name suggests, an executive summary covers the key points within the overall bid. It’s very much a sales pitch - the ‘why choose us argument’. Likely to be the first part of the bid to be read, getting the executive summary right is crucial, as it sets the evaluator’s expectations for what is to follow.


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