Have you submitted a tender and been unsuccessful? Did you ask the buyers for feedback?
Despite your best efforts, perhaps your tender submission has not resulted in good news – if this is the case it is important to ask the buying organisation for feedback.
Asking for feedback is useful because:
- It helps you to know which areas you may need to improve on in future to help you become more competitive;
- You will stand a better chance of winning business in the future, and possibly in wider markets;
- It helps buyers to improve and develop their processes and become more familiar with your market.
If the tender comes under the EU procurement directives, the public sector organisation is required to provide you with feedback at the beginning of the Alcatel standstill period, i.e. the 10 day period before they finally award the contract. You can also ask for more detailed feedback and they are obliged to respond within 15 days of the request.
In addition, you are quite within your rights to request a verbal or face to face de-brief, this provides you with an opportunity to discuss the response in greater detail and gather feedback on areas that could enhance future opportunities and increase your win rate. The aim of the debrief is to find out from the buyers viewpoint, where a submission can be improved and in doing so, provide greater clarity of your capabilities, credibility and value-add components for future tender opportunities.
The first area of discussion in a debrief should be the evaluation criteria and the weighting applied to each requirement. Although pricing does play a part, it’s generally not the only area that gets you short-listed. You must also demonstrate to the buyer that your organisation has the capacity to perform the job; a competitively priced bid will not win business alone. By understanding the weightings applied to the evaluation criteria, you will be able to identify areas of performance that are critical to the buyer in appointing a quality supplier.
It is worth noting that the opportunity for a verbal or face to face debrief should not be seen as a chance to argue the case for why you feel you should have won. Debriefs should be viewed as an opportunity to learn from your tendering experience and so improve your submissions.
It’s acceptable to ask who won and why they won. From this, you can identify some of the basic differences between the two offers. This will help in identifying ways that you can increase your level of offerings and better identify your USPs, to better that of your competitors.
The buyer’s feedback, regardless of its content, will only help in refining and improving your next response. It also helps in targeting areas of your solution that require reworking or reassessing so that you present your capabilities in the best possible manner.
Ask the buyer how they perceive your organisation overall and if they see any areas they believe need improvement. Feedback from the buyer about your bid will help you to improve your future responses and help you to win more business through the tendering process.