Get Feedback on Tenders and Proposals – Won or Lost

It is recognised by most that getting feedback on tenders and proposals is a fundamental part of the sales / tendering process. If you lose a bid, you try to find out what could have been improved or how the competition beat you. You can then try and address the issue(s) in future bids – hopefully turning losses into wins.

However, it’s surprising how many people say that they have not attempted to get any feedback on a lost sale or tender. Or that they have not chased up feedback when the buyer has not responded.

Ideally always seek a meeting to get feedback on tenders and proposals or at least have a telephone discussion – especially for higher value bids when you have invested a good deal of time and effort.

A dialogue gives you opportunity to clarify and question; to properly understand what was good and bad in your bid. An email or letter only gives you what the buyer decides to set down on paper eg councils typically provide a score sheet showing how you faired against competitors but no information or details on how you could improve.

The other benefit of a meeting is the opportunity to continue the relationship. A common reaction to losing is to just walk away but if you came a close second or third, you have most likely impressed the buyers and may have chance of doing business with them in future. Or maybe get the business later on if the winner fails to supply!

Getting feedback is vital should you feel that the procurement process was flawed and you are considering challenging the decision.

Feedback should also apply to wins. It is natural to be happy with the result and simply get on with servicing the customer. But many miss this vital opportunity to get feedback on what was good and bad about their winning bid (often a winning bid has some flaws!).

Use all the feedback to build an overall picture of positives (to build upon) and negatives (to minimise). Don’t do a knee-jerk reaction to every item but look at the trends eg too dear in certain areas, missing technology or account management etc.

Win OR lose – always try to get good feedback on tenders and proposals!

6 thoughts on “Get Feedback on Tenders and Proposals – Won or Lost”

  1. Great tips as usual Tony. This happened to a previous client of mine who was unsuccessful in a tender application but hesitant to ask for feedback. Sometimes, clients are afraid of what they will hear and even if they win they think there is no need to ask as they have been successful.

  2. Absolutely right Morton. At the end of they day, to be successful in any sales (and tendering is still selling) you have to be brave – and also need to gather all the information that you can to help you win.

  3. Youness Errosafi

    Hi Tony,
    What would be a creative way of getting customers’ feedback on a tender process. how would you attract customer’s attention and get that information? is the online way a successful way of getting feed back on those tenders?
    Thanks

  4. Hi Youness
    As stated above, I’d recommend that you “… always seek a meeting to get feedback on tenders and proposals or at least have a telephone discussion.”
    Not sure why you might need anything else more ‘creative’ as this puts you in control of getting the feedback from your customer. Online forms are certainly useful for getting feedback from customers post-purchase but don’t allow you to engage in the same way as the direct/personal touch.
    Hope that answers your question.

  5. Hi Tony,
    I like your article, and agree with the strategy to get feed back. However, I am a little green at this process, and was wondering if you would you have any suggestions for the questions that one would ask. ??

  6. Hi Peter
    Good question. Here are some suggestions:
    1. Ask for your score and how you fared against the competition. Often this will be a total score and also broken down into their question sections – price, quality would be a minimum. Hopefully they will breakdown quality too.
    2. Find out what they liked about your response and what could be improved. This will hopefully give feedback on content and style.
    3. Ask what the winners did to be successful.
    You should get #1 more easily and often by email/letter. However if you can arrange to get a face-to-face or phone meeting then hopefully you can get feedback on #2 & #3.
    Some buyers are great at providing feedback as they see it as their role to help potential suppliers become better (and so increase competitiveness for their next purchase) but others will ignore all attempts to engage.
    Hope that helps & good luck!

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