How to Write a Winning Bid

How to write a winning bid

So, you have to respond to an RFP or other type of bid request? While it’s not always enjoyable, it’s easier when you have a solid, strong chance of being selected. Therefore, the key is ensuring you’re not just responding to RFPs but learning how to write a winning bid!

Almost anyone can respond to an RFP, but not everyone can respond with a bid that gets chosen as the winner.

What strategies should you follow to increase your chances of winning?

How to Write a Winning Bid: Read the RFP

Knowing how to write a winning bid begins with reading the RFP and its attachments very thoroughly. The reason is that you may encounter questions that don’t make sense or are repetitive of earlier questions.

Read the RFP – Again

Seriously, this is important. Analyze it and become familiar with every aspect of the RFP. Identify the person in your organization who is best-suited to respond to each question or section. Then, make sure your team has ample time to respond to each question with a thorough response. Follow all RFP instructions to the letter; if it asks for double-spaced type on 25 pages – do it.

Do Your Homework

If possible, use your professional and personal networks to learn all you can about the client. You’ll know better how to write a winning bid if you research the client’s history, successes, failures, leadership and decision-makers. Cater to the organization’s needs by learning more about them. After all, knowledge is power. The more you know about the client, the better positioned you are to respond to the RFP questions in a way that caters to the client’s needs. The more catered your bid, the greater the chance of winning!

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Ask Questions

Submit your questions to the client and read all answers that are distributed to all bidders. Pay attention to deadlines! Specifically, many clients have due dates to submit answers that are before the actual bid deadline. 

Gather The Writing Team

Identify people in your organization who can help write the winning bid and answer the RFP questions. Ensure they can commit to drafting, editing and finalizing. Don’t give a writing assignment to someone who’s leaving for a two (2)-week vacation in the middle of the writing process. Teams of five or more RFP writers write most bids. Make sure you select the people in your organization with the strongest writing skills and assign them to the sections of the RFP where they have the most knowledge. Make sure your team has a clear understanding of deadlines and can work together to help create the strongest bid possible.

How to Write a Winning Bid: Tell Your Story

There’s no point in learning how to write a winning bid if you can’t sell your company! So now, the hard work begins. Get ready to write!

  • Kick off the writing process with a session in which you identify discriminators and “themes” that set you apart from your competitors.
  • Next, describe your organization’s experience and explain ‘where we’ve done this before’ by backing it up with evidence.
  • Use quotes or testimonials from happy clients and statistics that, for example, show how you contributed to saving your client money or doubled the number of unique visitors to their website.
  • Then, illustrate the relevance of a project you’ve completed to the client’s upcoming project.
  • Finally, include resumes of the personnel your organization would assign to the project and highlight their accomplishments and skill sets that would benefit the client.

Check Your Writing

Schedule a checkpoint to review the written content and identify the gaps. If you find several gaps, such as questions nobody can answer, this is likely a red flag and a warning. Hit the pause button. In this instance, ask your supervisor to evaluate whether writing the bid is still a good use of resources.

Proof And Format The Bid

Find a “fresh set of eyes” in the office to read the bid. Find a co-worker who is a talented editor or can format the bid professionally. Also, ensure that your contracts manager or an attorney reviews all forms, terms, conditions and legal clauses in the RFP.

Submit Your Bid

Some clients evaluate bids slowly. Be patient! If you aren’t selected for the work, you should receive a notification within a few weeks. Consider asking the client for a “debrief” to learn how to write a winning proposal. A debrief provides valuable information highlighting areas where your bid might have fallen short. Even if you don’t win a specific bid, you can use information from the debrief to improve your bid writing and responses to ensure future bids will be winning bids. While winning a bid isn’t a simple process, it’s important not to get discouraged. So, keep bidding. Eventually, you’ll get the win!

At The Bid Lab, we work with clients who don’t have the time, resources, or experience to manage, write and build their bids. If your organization faces a similar challenge – call us. We’re experts on both sides of the equation: how to write an RFP and how to write a winning bid. We even built Bid Banana, our user-friendly RFP search engine. So, bids and RFPs are our business – all day, every day. Reach out to us for a free consultation by calling 1-844-4BIDLAB or emailing