If your business earns its living from winning tenders, David Molian, co-founder of Bidwriting Academy, has tips on how you can improve your success rate, drawn from his latest book.

In the last article I discussed how a focussed bidwriting strategy, that plays to an organisation’s strengths, will result in significant advantages compared with the scattergun approach that many businesses employ. Our research and experience confirm that targeted planning delivers two kinds of benefit, hard and soft:

Hard benefits are those to which we can confidently attach numbers. Focus delivers more bangs for your bucks. This invariable means choosing to bid for fewer, higher value contracts, which you are more likely to win. It also means seeing bidwriting as an investment, not as a cost, and being prepared to invest more resource in each project you choose to bid for. Each bid will cost more to create and submit, but the added value of each bid submitted is greater. This is a combination of two factors: an increase in your success rate, and a higher average value of each project won. Your bidwriting team has had time to think and plan, and the result is seen in the firm’s bottom line. Eventually you may even be able to operate with fewer bidwriters, working more efficiently - and good bidwriters are in short supply.

Soft benefits are the positive impacts that are more difficult to quantify, but equally beneficial. If the team is under less pressure there will be lower levels of staff burnout and churn, which reduces sick days and recruitment costs. When the success rate goes up, so does morale. Your people are working for a winner, and that sense of winning spreads through the organization. There is also a wider impact beyond the immediate Bidding, Sales and Marketing teams. For instance, estimators who are not under constant pressure because they are deluged with jobs are less prone to make mistakes.

This planned approach should also deliver two other important benefits. First, the bidwriting team can better estimate the resources they need to achieve each quarter’s targets – chiefly people and money - and specifically whether those resources exist in-house or need to be supplemented with outside help. Second, the team can begin to identify which tenders they should definitely not be bidding for – which brings us neatly on to the topic of next month’s column: five early warning signs of bids you should steer well clear of!

These topics and much, much, more are explored in depth in my new book, co-authored with Britain’s foremost bidwriting specialists,

* How to Write Bids that Win Business now available on Amazon and at

David Molian is a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management and co-founder of Bidwriting Academy