How to Learn From Your Mistakes in Tendering

We all dread tender feedback, right?


But stop and think about it. We have all received an enormous amount of feedback throughout our lives.


Yet, we still get nervous when we get the fated ‘contract award’ notification in our inbox with an attached letter titled ‘regret letter’. This crashes our souls, and for the faint-hearted, this is the point they give up.


However, giving up is not the solution. 98% of well-established businesses have failed in tendering at some point in their journey.


So, do not expect to win every tender you bid, but there are always lessons learnt that you could apply in your consecutive bids. And this will take you a step closer to winning tenders.


Receiving tender feedback


The level of feedback may vary significantly with different procuring entities. Some will state on the notification of regret letter, while some may not give any reason at all.


Nevertheless, as a bidder, you have the right to request reasons why your bid was unsuccessful. You can do this by writing to the procurement department, and they are obliged by the law to provide feedback within 14 days of writing.


Additionally, you have the right to request a summary of the evaluation report.


It is crucial to seek feedback because:


The evaluation report gives more detailed feedback. It highlights the major areas that you were unsuccessful in, which can be translated to numerical scores. For example, you may have been the lowest bidder scoring 30/30 on price but lacked technical response, scoring 15/30. Whereas the winner scored 20/30 on price but the quality response scored 30/30. Such feedback will help you improve in your technical responses in the future.

2. The evaluation report helps you know your competitors. You will learn the scorings of your competitors, which enables you to understand their key strengths and weaknesses. Such information will help you come up with long-term strategies for beating your competitors.


3. You will know how many companies bid for the contract, which gives you an idea of the level of competition. And a relative idea of where you rank.


Understanding and implementing tender feedback

What you should do after receiving the feedback is sharing it with your team.


For example, you may notice that you failed on financial evaluation because Dave from finance indicated fewer days when requesting a bid bond.


However, don’t blame Dave.


One thing about tendering is that several people should review the documents before submitting them.


So, in this case, if Dave missed that point, the whole team missed.


Instead of starting a blame game, focus on how such mistakes can be avoided in the future.


Working as a team will help you learn as a group and celebrate successes as a team.



“Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” – Nikki Giovanni.


Therefore, bid as many tenders as possible, make mistakes but let them count. Every mistake pushes to become the best in your game.


Every tender document has an evaluation criterion stating the preliminary, technical, and financial evaluation process summary. It would be best always to use this guide when bidding to ensure you submit a winner tender.


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