Channel your disappointment – obtaining a debrief on your unsuccessful tender

TenderOneTender Writing

Okay, you have just received the email or letter explaining that your business has been unsuccessful with its tender. There are a lot of feelings associated with this moment and the most obvious of these is disappointment. The contract you were hoping for might have provided a number of opportunities for your business including setting up a pipeline of work, employing more people, expanding your operations or even, just the experience of undertaking a really interesting project. Considerable effort and expense goes into every tender submission and you may be thinking at this point that your tender endeavours have been for nothing.

But don’t despair. Whilst it is definitely disappointing, it is important to obtain a debrief on your submission so you can use this information to improve your future tender responses.

Questions to ask in the debrief

Before making contact with the organisation that put the tender out to the market, develop a list of questions that you would like answered. Think about the things you would like to know to improve your chances of tendering in the future. Some of these might be:

  • Where did my bid rank overall in the tender evaluation?
  • What were the areas that my organisation’s bid rated well in?
  • What were the areas that my organisation’s bid did not rate well in?
  • Did my bid have any areas of non-compliance?
  • How did my product or methodology rate compared to other bidders?
  • How did my proposed team rate compared to other bidders?
  • How did my pricing compare with the pricing of other bidders?

Making contact to obtain your debrief

Once you have developed your list of questions, make contact with the organisation who has put the tender out to the market. You should find the phone number and/or email address of the tender contact person or division in the tender documents. If possible, try and make an appointment to obtain a debrief so there is time allocated by the organisation to discuss your unsuccessful bid. Whilst many of us would like to meet in person to obtain this debrief, it is unlikely this will happen given the time demands of so many of us these days. Most debriefs take place over the phone. It is possible the organisation will provide an immediate debrief when you ring, therefore it is essential that you have the questions about your unsuccessful bid ready to go.

Keep the debrief polite and professional

When obtaining your debrief, remain professional and courteous at all times. It is important to keep in mind the tender decision is the result of an evaluation process and is not personal. Remember to take notes so that you have a record of the debrief. These notes will assist you in improving any upcoming bids. Save them somewhere where you can access them again in the future – either in your bids directory on your computer or with the unsuccessful bid – either in electronic form or hard copy.

It is worthwhile noting that during your debrief, it is highly likely the person providing the debrief will not provide any details on the winning tenderer or make any comparisons between your business’ bid and the winning bid. This can seem frustrating but is normal tender debriefing practice.

Need help preparing for a debrief?

If you need assistance preparing for a debrief, including what questions to ask for your specific tender submission, please contact TenderOne for help.