Boilerplates are for Boilers

When only the best bid can win, be the best bidder.

Impact Bids

Delivering the bids that will transform
your business

The term ‘Boilerplate Bid’ has been coined for the practice of recycling the content from previous bids. To this end, many firms have created a ‘Bid Library’, containing copies of all their previous tenders.

Typically in a library system, bids are collated by type and ranked according to whether each won or lost. Some go further and rank specific answers by the score each received from the commissioner at evaluation. They have their best answer to a Quality question, their best answer to a Mobilisation question, and so on. This previous material is then used to populate the responses to subsequent bids.

At face value it’s an attractive proposition, greatly reducing the amount of time and effort it takes to complete a new tender, but the approach overlooks two very important issues.

Firstly, and a first principle, a given bid wins because it is considered the most advantageous from those bids submitted for that specific contract let by that specific commissioner at that specific time. Of all the bids received, the winner is considered the one which best addresses the problems the commissioner is currently seeking to solve.

The winning bid wasn’t ‘good’ simply by virtue of winning. It was good only insofar as it was the best fit for that specific commissioner’s needs at that point in time. It stands to reason that if the commissioner changes, or the contract changes, or the time changes, their needs will change too, and a bid which previously won will now be considerably less relevant.

Secondly, bidding is competitive, and winning is relative only to those other bids submitted. If the competition ups its game as the professional standard improves, indeed, if the competitors change at all, the outcome will likely be different.

The more a bid is recycled, the less ‘currency’ it has, and the law of diminishing returns applies in tendering as in other areas of life. Our methodology requires that every bid is conceived and written bespoke to the specific contract being let. It is a demanding approach to a challenging undertaking.

If you want to save time and effort, use a boilerplate approach. On the other hand, if you want to win, talk to us.