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Lessons Learnt and Continuous Improvement: After the Bid

Jack Bolton
Written by
Jack Bolton

Winning a bid is a great achievement and one to celebrate. However, there are pitfalls even here which could seriously harm your success rate moving forward. It’s important therefore to understand what to do when the good feedback lands on your desk.

Two-Stage Wash-Up Process

After a bid is submitted, we advise the following:

1.        A first review/feedback session (which we call a ‘wash-up’) in which the bid process is discussed, any issues are noted and improvements for future bids are agreed as a team, with corresponding actions assigned. This should take place soon after submission when issues surrounding the bid are still fresh.

2.      A second review/feedback session after the result. The point here is to compare how your own feedback matches that of the buyer. Were weaknesses in the response flagged? Why weren’t they addressed? What can we do to make sure we address them next time?


In the event of a win, it is all too easy to become complacent. The feeling of superiority in triumph is a dangerous one if not tempered with an equal measure of self-reflection, improvement, and continued diligence.

In bid management, success in one tender does not guarantee success in another. A significant amount of work must always be applied in researching the buyer, scoping out the competition and formulating as bespoke a solution as possible. If you go into your next bid with too much confidence, you may tend to focus less on this sort of research.

You may for example decide to submit the same pricing schedule again without considering whether it is competitive enough. Just because it won you the contract last time does not guarantee that it will do again. Treat every bid equally and with equal significance.

Ask for Feedback

Following a win, people are often reluctant to request feedback from the buyer. It’s important that you must still do this.

It may feel a bit self-gratifying, but feedback is the only thing that can truly help you to improve. If you don’t ask for feedback, you’ll make improvement much harder for yourself.

Ignoring Feedback

Win or lose, bid feedback is of the utmost importance in ensuring future improvement. Of course, it may seem that feedback is more important in the case of a loss, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

It is rare, though not unheard of for a bid to win with a 100% score. There is always therefore some room for improvement. It is important not to cast your feedback aside following a win but to pay close attention to it.

There is a chance that you only won by a very slim margin. You may have been the only bidder. Others could have failed on technicalities. You never know until you check the feedback why you won, and where – if others were better – you could have lost.

Fill the gaps (however small) that your feedback highlights with the aim of achieving 100% next time around.

Re-Using Content That ‘Works’

Just because your bid responses were ‘top-drawer’ on one project does not mean they will be remotely relevant in another. You need to make sure they are tailored and relevant to each new contract and buyer. By simply re-submitting the same response over and over, you’ll never improve and always run the risk that your bid will fail.

Of course, some content can come in useful more than once. It’s important however that you don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’ve perfected a response to the point that it cannot or need not be improved.

Always research your buyer and the contract, and ensure that your proposed solution is as relevant as possible. Make sure that you add real, tangible, and specific value to the buyer, otherwise they may as well just read your website and your time will most likely be wasted.


Above all, it’s important that you don’t let success sweep you away. Don’t allow your concentration or focus to waver but remain absolutely focused on the next project in hand. Read your feedback, ask for more from the buyer and look out for that next big win.

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