The Bidding Debrief: The Importance of Post-Outcome Analysis and Feedback
Public sector bidding can be challenging and competitive. While buyers are required to provide feedback, the quality can vary greatly. It is important for companies to conduct their own post-outcome analysis and feedback sessions to improve future bids. In this article, we will discuss the importance of analysing bid outcomes and providing constructive feedback, provide key questions for feedback sessions, and explain how capturing feedback can help companies improve their chances of success.
An advantage of public sector bidding is that buyers are required to provide feedback to all those who have taken part in the process. Regretfully there are no established standards for this feedback, so it is likely to be inconsistent, but at least something will accompany your outcome letter.
If you have won, you will be immediately concerned with mobilising a new contract. Nevertheless, it is important to think about how you have won and against whom you were competing. Ideally, you will have received the highest technical quality scores without being the lowest price. If you were both the highest technical score and the lowest price then you may have room to increase your pricing in future, albeit subject to who you are competing with.
Mostly though you will be motivated to do a debrief if you have lost. A natural tendency in situations such is this, is for people to either worry about being blamed or that they may offend somebody else. So, it is important for the leader of these meetings to set a positive and constructive tone which is focussed on learning, the process and the solution, not the individuals. Nevertheless, some constructive feedback in any team should be allowed if the feedback is objective and specific.
Key questions for the review team are:
Should we have invested in this opportunity
- Are we sufficiently credible in the area?
- Did we allocate sufficient effort?
- Did we genuinely aim to win?
Why did the competition win?
- Were they more cost effective?
- Were they the incumbent and able to use this to their advantage?
- If you were the incumbent, how have you been dislodged?
What shall we do next time to
- develop a more compelling solution?
- present the solution in a more compelling way?
- offer a more competitive price?
- address the feedback raised by the client in specific questions?
- engage with the customer earlier?
Did we work well together as a team?
- Did we get what we needed on time?
- Was the quality for initial input sufficient
- If not, what can we do now to help those who struggled?
- Were we genuinely happy with the response?
This will be useful activity if the outcome is a set of agreed actions that are implemented and followed through next time. It is useful to capture feedback into a lessons learnt log which can be quickly summarised at your next bid mobilisation meeting, and this should be a standard agenda item.
For those of you who are new to public sector bidding, you will be doing very well to win more than 1 in 3 of the bids that you target. You are going to be losing more than you win, so to make use of the time and effort invested, it is essential to think about improvement and work together to get the best out of the experience. Everything that we do is a learning opportunity, and bidding is no exception.
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