Bidding on public sector contracts can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re still new to the tendering process. The worst thing that could happen is for your proposal to be unsuccessful. Then it comes to pass and you’re holding a rejection notification letter in your hand without understanding where you went wrong.
Take heart, unsuccessful bids are perfect learning experiences when paired with constructive feedback from the contracting authority. As a rule, you shouldn’t have to ask for feedback about government tenders from public sector buyers because, according to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, they are legally required to provide information, regardless of success.
In this article, we’re going to look at the benefits of post-tender feedback, including how to improve future tenders based on comparisons with successful procurement proposals.
It’s important to find out whether you need to adjust your pricing so you’re more in line with your public sector competitors, as well as how to bolster your team by emphasising and leveraging strengths to increase your chances of success when bidding on future opportunities.
First, some basics about feedback
You are fully entitled to ask for feedback if none is forthcoming. However, you must do so within the standstill period. This is a 10-day period during which the buyer doesn’t officially award the contract. You can ask for additional information, clarification, and even a debriefing meeting during the standstill.
What Information Do You Want?
The more feedback you get from the contracting authority the better because the more comprehensive the feedback the more lessons you can learn to improve your next proposals on government tenders.
You’re looking for feedback on the following contract information:
Knowing which company won the tender is important because it enables you to research them and their services/products/works to see what you’re up against. This helps you on two fronts.
1) You can compare your operations to determine if you are on a level, a bit behind, or streaks ahead.
2) You can decide what you’re going to do with the information. For instance, are you going to improve your service offerings so that you will be more competitive for future tender opportunities?
It’s important to know where you stand amongst your competitors. If you rank highly, you needn’t go back to the drawing board to maintain your high standards. You can polish your strengths and address the shortfalls included in the feedback.
If you find yourself at the bottom end of the rankings for the contract, then it’s back to the drawing board for you. You’ll need to conduct a deep analysis of your bid and your bidding strategy in general. Refer to your feedback because it provides direction to improve your tenders. Comparison with the winning bid will also help you reassess your approach to planning and strategy implementation.
You might not have met some of the criteria the government required. This could be because you misunderstood a question, didn’t provide enough information, omitted the question, or didn’t have the required skills and services.
Contact buyers and ask for more clarity on the published contract if you misunderstood the question or didn’t provide sufficient information. You can take a deeper look at your skills/services and decide if the bid was a good fit for your business or if you should set your sights on other contract opportunities.
5 Benefits Of Feedback
Feedback has many, many benefits. Way too many for the scope of a simple article. So we’re going to look at five of the most important ways in which you can make feedback on public sector contracts work for you.
1) Some buyers provide feedback per element or section, which is great because it enables you to tackle and perfect each piece independently rather than “guess” which area needs the most work.
2) Feedback on pricing is particularly beneficial because it’s something that many businesses struggle with, especially SMEs and those new to public sector tenders. You can ask for additional clarification regarding price if you’re not sure where you went wrong.
If your price is too high you can adjust it to make it more competitive, but be careful of two things, 1) don’t sacrifice quality and 2) don’t price yourself out of a profit.
If your price is too low, it might be that you don’t meet certain criteria or the quality of your materials is not what it could be. You must investigate your sources so you can either negotiate new prices or choose a business with a better reputation for quality goods.
3) You learn about the buyers in your area of the public sector.
Feedback isn’t just about what the buyers give you. It’s also about what you pick up indirectly from the buyers. For example, the degree of feedback they provide and their responsiveness to questions tell you that they are open and happy to help.
Buyers with these qualities are like gold, so value them and put a lot of effort into nurturing your working relationship.
4) Constructive feedback, without criticism, is invaluable because it helps you zero in on the challenges that need to be addressed and drives innovation and growth. Perhaps more importantly, it can motivate your team to work harder on future public sector tenders.
5) You’ll also get feedback on compliance problems so that you can address them going forward.
Compliance elements in UK government contracts are:
- Legal: labour laws
- Ethical: codes of conduct
- Technical: quality standards
- Financial: insurance policies
Win Or Lose Feedback Enhances Future Contract Opportunities
Feedback is important regardless of whether you won or not. If you win, feedback provides information to bolster your bidding processes, improve your strategy, and build upon your strengths. It also tells you how close your competitors are so you can get a chivvy on innovation and development.
Unsuccessful bidders get a lot of information that should enable them to pinpoint challenges and work to overcome them. They can rework their entire strategy if necessary or concede that the contract wasn’t right for their business and find more appropriate contracts.
What’s really helpful is that if they decide to bid on a brand new contract with a different contracting authority, they can still use the feedback to enhance their strategising for new business opportunities and tenders.
You needn’t worry that suitable tenders won’t come around. Supply2Gov has a vast database of public sector tenders where you’re almost guaranteed to find a government procurement contract perfect for your business. Simply register for free and start receiving local tender alerts immediately.