How a bid library can increase your win rate and lower your tendering costs

By Elodie Janvier CF APMP, Senior Consultant.

Businesswoman virtually checking off digital documents in an online bid library
The use of an effective bid library can save time, increase your win rate and lower your tendering costs

We all know that the key to a winning bid is client-centricity – aligning your skills and capabilities specifically to your client’s needs in a way that differentiates you from competitors. However, in my experience, circumstances and resource limitations often mean that rather than spending the majority of the time creating quality bid content, most of the collective tendering effort is spent on lower value, more administrative aspects of the drafting process.

How can you reverse this trend so you can spend more time on the things that really matter?

Creating a bid library can save up to 70% of your drafting effort

A great bid library is a well-organised central bid content repository containing all the documentation required to develop, manage, prepare, and produce a submission.

By harnessing and organising the knowledge of past submissions, a bid library can drastically reduce the time spent on the draft 1 (outline) and 2 (content) stages of your bids, maximising the time you can spend on the draft 3 (persuasion) stage.

The efficiencies created by bid libraries benefit multiple stakeholders in your bid: 

  • Bid teams avoid wasting time searching for the right information or the latest policy, manual, company facts, or graphics from previous submissions. Research shows that employees can waste up to 30% of their time searching for information
  • Subject matter experts (SMEs) – free more time for SMEs to focus on solutioning and providing specific subject matter expertise
  • Marketing – minimize delays and approvals through pre-formatted and branded content, plus ensure consistent messaging across your organisation
  • Management – reduce review and sign-off effort by using previously approved content, enabling you to focus on the opportunity-specific value-adds, ultimately improving your proposal win chances.

Making use of bid library content in the drafting process leaves you more time to focus on the customised and persuasive elements of your bid, while also allowing more time for internal reviews and refinement. Together, these increase the overall quality and competitiveness of your bid.

A bid library is far more than just a past submissions folder

You won’t unlock a bid library’s efficiency by simply storing past submissions in their ‘as submitted’ form. Instead, break them down into key common response building blocks, updating them as required based on actual tender submission feedback.

Common building blocks include:

  • administrative records company administrative details, financial statements, policies, and insurance certificates
  • organisational arrangements management structure, governance, and organisation charts
  • personnel details – workforce and staff, key CVs and biographies, recruitment policies
  • experience and capability evidence of past work, including case studies, awards, client references and testimonials
  • certifications, policies, and procedures ISO 9001/Quality, ISO 14001/Environmental Management, WHS, Social Value, Account Management, Support Services, Products & Innovation, etc
  • graphics diagrams, logos, and hero images.

These blocks can then be re-used as strong foundations to create unique, compelling stories tailored to each new submission.

And by linking every document in your bid library to a master Microsoft Word template, all content is pre-formatted with the right styles and visual identity for optimal re-use. Using a master template also makes it more efficient to implement updates as required.

Beyond these building blocks, you can also add bid management processes, style sheets and style guides to your bid library. These additions will guarantee companywide consistency in processes, branding and messaging, reducing inconsistencies and undue reliance on the knowledge and memory of individual staff members.  

Simplicity is paramount

A successful bid library is one that fits with your business size, practices and bidding strategy. But most importantly it should be a resource that your staff actually use. Although BidWrite is busy exploring how we can best utilise the rapid evolution of AI technology in the creation, organisation, and use of a bid library, the truth is you don’t need fancy software or complex content to build one.

It’s OK to start small, using the creation of your library as a way to identify content gaps. Focus on simplicity to ensure utilisation. Many bid libraries fail because they’re too complex to maintain, making it hard to find specific content.

Make sure your library is:

  • accessible – in a shared folder or a platform used across your business (such as SharePoint)
  • simple – start with a couple of past bids and progressively build your library with each new bid
  • structured – start by focusing on the major building blocks that you commonly see in your submissions. Avoid duplications and use tags for easy searchability
  • regularly curated – to ensure information is current and accurate.

Although a bid library will be used by an internal community of people, it’s best not to create one by committee. The most important step you can take is to assign a ‘bid librarian’, essentially a content custodian who will be responsible for establishing and managing your library.

The best time to start your bid library is now

In the tendering process, every minute counts in securing your competitive edge. It takes just two or three past bids to build a functional bid library. This can be achieved in a matter of days. Once established, I guarantee that it’ll be a true game changer for your future tender submissions.

You’ll see an increase in the time dedicated to strategy and a decrease in the overall time spent on writing your bids from scratch. This will improve the competitiveness of your bids, reduce your overall bidding costs and deliver improvements to the overall annual Return on Investment of your bidding program.

In fact, at BidWrite we see so much value in bid libraries that building them is a service we offer to clients who subscribe to selected BidWrite engagement plans. Bid libraries really are a fundamental element in the process of streamlining bid management, and I find it incredibly gratifying to help our clients make such an important improvement to their tendering capabilities.

So start creating your bid library today. Once it’s up and running, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it!


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