A Day in the Life of an Evaluator – How to Distinguish a Successful Tender

24th July 2019

How to Distinguish a Successful Tender

Last updated: Dec 17, 2021 @ 11:40 am


Successful tendering rests on the efficient, fair scoring of multiple proposals against clearly set evaluation criteria. Often this evaluation is completed within rigid timescales.

Here at Hudson Succeed, we have created a range of blogs to introduce you to the world of tendering and support you to create successful tenders. We guide you on how to make the most of the tender document and how to score highly.

All of this is based on nearly 50 years of combined knowledge across our team of expert bid management professionals.

But what about the expertise of those who mark the tenders? How can you be sure the tender you’ve worked so hard on is being considered fairly against every other tender?

Well, this blog gives you an insight into the world of a tender evaluator.

Who are Tender Evaluators?

At the end of the day, tender evaluators are people just like you. They have families, pets, bosses, hobbies, deaths, weddings, anniversaries and mortgages to pay.

More importantly, often it is not even their main job to evaluate tenders. Sure, the client may have a dedicated procurement team to manage the tender process, to answer questions during the tender window and sent out the outcome messages and provide feedback.

But the people who choose the successful tender are often experts in the field relevant to the scope of the works; who have been drafted in to score the submissions based on their expert knowledge. It is not their daily job to evaluate tenders and, often, they have their own workloads to complete as well as scoring (up to) six or eight submissions.

Additionally, successful evaluators must possess abilities which allow them to focus for long periods of time, retaining high-levels of attention to detail. They often have to take in high volumes of technical data in detail, and this is a key skill which not many people possess.

Tender evaluation experience

The team here at Hudson have experience on both sides of procurement from the contractors creating the successful tenders, and the buyer completing the procurement process.

Your humble scribe for this blog has direct experience managing the tender evaluation process. For years, I managed the process of bringing in industry experts to review tender submissions and score each response against a set criteria both after the deadline had passed and after shortlisting interviews, to finally award the contract to the successful tenderer.

Here’s what I learnt throughout my experience:

  • Evaluators often have several (read as ‘more than a few!’) tenders to evaluate at the same time.
  • Evaluators are often requested, based on their expertise and their position as key influencers in their respective industries. Their time is therefore in demand (across every procurement in that field and more widely).
  • Evaluators have set timelines to conduct tender evaluations, but they are often limited on when they can complete this.

(For example – I have witnessed evaluators scoring tenders on the train between two site visits). All of the above leads to my final, and most important observation:

  • Tender evaluators are often so limited in their availability, they do not have the time to scour every word to find that nugget of information at the bottom of page 37 they wanted to see at the top of page 1. (Even if they do – they won’t appreciate having to do it!)

Evaluation pressures

To answer this question we need to look at what the evaluator’s job requires. To do this, imagine being given six books to read.

Now imagine that you’ve been told to check every line of text and see if it contains certain, very specific information and if it does, it gets a score of 5 out of 5.  If it doesn’t contain the specific information but contains information that is still relevant then you have to choose a lower score out of 5 for how relevant that information is.

Next, imagine you have to check that whole book for, perhaps, ten different pieces of information all at the same time.

On top of that, you have to repeat the process exactly for 5 other books, before ultimately ranking each book according to how much each met your scoring criteria and identifying the best book (or successful tender).

Oh, and you need to complete it all in 10 working days so the Client can choose the winner.

Finally, imagine that the people who wrote those books have the ability to challenge your decision and, potentially cost your organisation a lot of time and money if it’s decided the process needs repeating.

Can you see how difficult the evaluator’s job is now?

So what are evaluators looking for in a successful tender?

Evaluators, therefore, want the successful tender to have all the key information presented clearly and concisely.

One of the many key skills in bid writing is recognising the stresses and strains of evaluating high volumes of qualitative data and being able to make it as easy as possible for the evaluator to award your tender the highest marks according to the marking criteria.

Evaluators usually award the highest scores to tender responses which:

Follow the layout of the question

If the question asks for your experience delivering X, Y and Z, layout your response so that you discuss where you have delivered X, then Y, then Z.

You can use subheadings to clearly set out each point as you follow the requirements of the question.

This will help evaluators to see that you are answering each part of the question in its own respect.

Provide a clearly set out response

Respond in a clear, concise, and persuasive way; using as few words as possible to make your argument.

The language that you use should be plain English. Avoid overly complex or technical terms and language unless it is absolutely necessary to explain the technical solution.

Cut out all non-essential information and any claims you can’t prove with evidence, getting straight to the point. 

Back up each point made with evidence 

Anyone can make a bold statement with the aim of scoring points. For example;

“Hudson Succeed is the best tendering consultancy in Britain”.

However, the top marks are awarded by proving your statements. For example;

Hudson Succeed is the best tendering consultancy in Britain, winning two national Best New Business Awards in 2019”.

Do not waffle

Waffling usually means that:

  1. a) you cannot be bothered to take the time to write specific responses or
  2. b) you run out of ideas and so provide as much information as possible without considering either its relevance or its suitability

Evaluators have seen this happen hundreds (if not thousands) of times and can spot it easily. It won’t help your tender submission to be successful.

Waffling occurs, even more, when the tender response has no word or page limits. Where this happens you should follow the points laid out in this blog to ensure you give the assessors every reason to award each response top marks; then stop writing!

In summary:

To submit a winning tender, evaluators are looking for you to:

  • Fully answer all the requirements of the question
  • Detail every argument you want to make for that question
  • Provide evidence to back up your answers

Hudson are experts in delivering this successful tendering approach.

For more information on how to get into tendering, or to improve your existing tendering efforts, contact our Succeed Team for a free consultation.

You can also check out our free to use learning environment called Tender VLE for more guidance on tendering for contracts.

Find more helpful tips and advice in our blogs. We cover topics including:

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