Insight Paper – Bid Qualification

Bid Qualification

Navigating the fast-paced world of public sector bidding can be exhausting and often businesses can find themselves chasing every opportunity, delivering sub-par submissions and achieving low success rates.  However, with accurate bid qualification this world can look very different.  At Contracts Advance we advocate businesses ‘bid less, win more’.  Our approach focuses on the importance of proper qualification, preparation, and execution in the bid process.

In this insight paper we share how a strategic approach to bid qualification, in particular pre-bid qualification, can lead to higher success rates.

Pre-Bid Qualification

The benefits of bid qualification are vast, overall saving time and money.  In particular pre-bid qualification, which can provide valuable advantages.

Bid Pipeline

By creating a pipeline of opportunities, a major advantage is the ability to select those most aligned with achieving your overall company objectives, business development strategies and growth aspirations.

A pipeline enables further analysis of opportunities to ensure those selected to progress also have a high chance of success.  Analysis should concentrate on factors such as the contract objectives and specifications, KPIs, identifying the current contractor, capacity, and readiness to fulfil the contract, risks and mitigation.


Engaging in pre-bid communication with buyers, especially before the Invitation to Tender (ITT) release, is crucial in qualifying an opportunity and ensuring optimum preparation.  This pro-active engagement ensures a comprehensive understanding of objectives, the ability to meet specifications, insight into existing contract performance to identify strengths and weakness in incumbency, and importantly, the opportunity to upsell services and in some instances prevent a Direct Award (relevant in the instance of the Provider Selection Regime for healthcare customers).  When upselling it is key to highlight broad areas of strength such as social value, especially with the Procurement Act replacing the concept of ‘most economically advantageous tender’ with ‘most advantageous tender’ encompassing broader aspects.  During pre-bid engagement, discussing KPIs is vital to consider plans for meeting them which may involve finding subcontractors or partners.  It is worth noting that moving forward KPI data will be published in accordance with the Procurement Act, underlining the importance of ensuring they can be met to maintain good public sector relations and reputation.

Additionally, during pre-bid engagement, requesting the previous ITT pack allows qualification based on the previous specification.  Discussing this with the buyer helps understand if the specification will remain similar, aiding qualification and allowing the initiation of drafting responses based on the previous ITT.  Requesting the previous ITT pack can be done directly with the contact or through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.


To ensure the process of qualifying becomes quicker over time, creating a qualification checklist can be of use.  This should outline the criteria necessary for an opportunity to be considered a ‘bid’ situation, tailored to your specific business needs.

The Contracts Advance software can play an important role in establishing a qualified pipeline.  In addition to sharing all new tender opportunities relevant to your business, the Active Contracts software feature provides comprehensive visibility of what is coming in the future, along with key contract information including the current contract holder, goods or services supplied, and expected date to market.  The integrated and anonymous FOI request function can be used to gain further insight including actual contract spend, the ITT pack and named contacts so you can confidently begin pre-bid engagement.

The software also has a powerful Market Analysis feature which contains insight on competitors, making it easy to evaluate an opportunity based on comparative strength, and buyers including who have procured goods or services like yours previously.  In addition, the Partnership feature allows you to identify other Contracts Advance customers that you may want to work alongside or subcontract to deliver the contract and achieve KPIs.

And finally, to further enhance qualification and ensure excellence in execution, the Contracts Advance expert bid advisory team can support with many aspects of bidding including pipeline strategy, bid reviews and bid training.

It’s important to note that once a ‘bid’ decision has been made, qualification should not stop there.  Goal posts may change and new insight may come to light, so it is important to requalify a bid at all stages of the process including kick off, response writing and review stage.  The previously created qualification checklist can be used to ensure this is an efficient process.

To conclude, adopting a strategic and proactive approach to bid qualification can significantly enhance your chances of success and with the support of the Contracts Advance software and advisory services ‘bid less, win more’ is ensured.

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