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!