When you’ve invested the time and resources required to submit a Government bid, it can be a tremendous disappointment to be notified you were not the winning bidder. It is especially frustrating when you were sure that you’d done everything the right way – gathered intelligence, analyzed the competition, developed your win strategy, and submitted a compliant and well-crafted proposal. So what now? What additional value could this loss possibly add to your company? You’d be surprised.
And you should know, that there are a number of steps to take once you’ve been notified of the loss.
Request a Government Debrief
Your first order of business is to request a debrief from the Government. This will help provide some context into why you lost and the other company won. Worth pointing out – debriefs come in a variety of structures, level of detail, and the degree of usable information. However, even at the most basic level, debriefs provide some insight into the winning proposal (and why that was not yours). If you’re lucky, the debrief will deliver a detailed assessment of your proposal and how it aligned (or failed to align) with the proposal requirements and evaluation criteria. They will also tell you why they graded you the way they did for each section.
Evaluate the Winning Price
Once you have received the notification of award decision, take the time to evaluate the winning price and determine how you could have delivered at that price. Did the winning bidder propose a different level of effort than you? Were key personnel qualification requirements identified in the solicitation absolutes? Perhaps they proposed less qualified personnel, but were still able to meet the minimum qualifications. Are there areas in which you could have trimmed cost yet still provided the same quality of service? Continuing to track the service delivery level and quality is important, even after the loss.
Learning more about the personnel performing the requirement can help you further dissect the winning pricing strategy. Continue to talk to the Agency about performance, and their ongoing level of contentment with how the contract performance is going.
Continue Engagement and Discussions
Additionally, continue engagement and discussions with teammates delivering the solution. This will provide ‘water cooler’ insight into the status of personnel, level of happiness, areas of concern, and can provide value added benefits when developing win themes for a particular contract recompete, or provide business intelligence for other opportunities you are considering for pursuit.
Keep Track of Your Wins and Losses
Lastly, part of your cyclical business development process should be to keep track of all of the wins and losses experienced. The tracking should include why you won or lost, and dissect areas for improvement moving forward to improve your win rates in the future. A bid loss isn’t the end of the process, it’s a valuable learning mechanism for improving the process for the next opportunity. The key is to determine how your business can best keep track of this information, so that you can refer to it when needed.
While it’s still disappointing and frustrating to lose a government bid, be sure that you take some valuable lessons away from this loss, and use it to further your future attempts.