News & Insights

Bid Feedback: What to Do When You Lose

Jack Bolton
Written by
Jack Bolton

Losing a tender is never fun. The feeling that all your effort, hard work and late nights were for nothing can be a tough pill to swallow. It’s important however not to wallow in misery but look for the positives. Read your feedback, move on and above all, learn.

Don’t Waste Time Playing the Detective


When you receive a loss, it can be tempting to whip out the deerstalker, pipe, trench coat and lens, and delve into your results and those of your competition on the hunt for traces of skulduggery. 99 times out of 100 however, these investigations will come to nothing. It is rare for any underhand tactics to have come into play in a tendering exercise and even less common for an appeal of any kind to prove successful.

Instead, devote your attention to your own feedback and assess how you might improve. By all means ask for clarification if anything is unclear, but if you’re tempted to set out on a crusade against the procurement team, you might find that your efforts could be better directed.

Understand Your Feedback and Learn From It


There’s no use losing unless you’re going to learn from your mistakes and improve. It’s important therefore to carefully read your feedback and consider how you will change your approach next time.

  • If one of your responses lacked detail, take note of where and include more detail next time.
  • If you misunderstood a question, make an effort to understand how and change your approach going forward.
  • Set out to gain any accreditations you may have been lacking.
  • Improve yourself as a company in areas where you may have struggled eg. Social Value initiatives, Reporting or Complaints Procedures. If there was a question you struggled to answer, make absolutely sure you’ll be able to next time.

Many authorities will be reluctant to divulge too much feedback. Make sure to ask for it however, as they are legally obliged to provide it. Feedback (however sparse) is useful.

Final Thoughts

Bidding is a ‘win some, lose some’ type of game. You can’t win them all and if that’s what you’re expecting, you’ll probably find yourself quite disappointed. Instead it’s important to try to win them all and learn from the ones where you fall short.

A few final tips:

  • If you lost on price, don’t feel too disheartened. Your quality is there or there abouts and if you offered your best price, there’s nothing more you could have done.
  • If the incumbent won, you were at a disadvantage from the start. However fair the process may have been, a certain amount of bias must unfortunately be expected.

Still stuck on why you lost? Consider hiring some consultancy. Companies such as Bespoke Bids can offer a range of services to review your bid, your processes and feedback. More often than not we can tell you where you went wrong and more importantly how to improve.

Give us a call – 0161 883 1836


Did you enjoy this post?

Follow Bespoke Bids on Linkedin to keep up with our day-to-day operations. We post live tenders, tips and tricks and more.

Contact us

Talk to an expert

We will provide a free, no obligation consultation on your bidding requirements