Bid/No-Bid Decision-Making Process: A Winning Formula

The Bid/No-Bid decision-making process is a crucial step for companies seeking to win business through competitive bids. It involves a thorough evaluation of the proposal to determine whether it aligns with the company's strategic goals, capabilities, and resources.
Claire Whelan
4 min read
bid no bid decision

The bid/no bid decision is usually a lengthy and complex process for any Capture or Business Development (BD) Team.

An organization makes a bid when the opportunity aligns with the company’s goals and capabilities. They would make a no-bid decision when the opportunity does not meet the criteria. Ultimately, a well-executed Bid/No-Bid process can help a company to save resources and pursue opportunities that align with its strategic objectives.

A Capture Manager needs to:

  • Read relevant Requests For Proposals (RFPs) either sourced from sites such as GovWin or obtained directly from the Government.
  • Check those RFPs for risky language, FARs (Federal Acquisition Regulations) and DFARS (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplements), or other compliance factors that would create problems for bid delivery.
  • Complete a checklist or decision tree to identify which bids to go for.
  • Present these findings to key stakeholders.

And if you’re in a re-bid or contract renewal scenario, there’s an equally lengthy process to follow. You must review the new RFP carefully to ensure you can still fulfill all requirements. If you miss added conditions or changes to the current terms, your mistakes can be costly. You need to carefully compare the existing version to the new one.

The processes described above can take hours or even days. By the time a decision has been made, it’s already cost the organization time and money. And if the result is not to bid, it’s all been for nothing.

Mitigating Risk

Making bid/no-bid decisions is a crucial step in the risk mitigation process for RFP response. Using proposal software can significantly improve the accuracy and effectiveness of this decision-making process. Proposal software can provide valuable insights into the suitability of a particular RFP opportunity.

By analyzing factors such as budget, timelines, resource availability, and competition. Proposal software can help teams make more informed choices based on objective criteria. You can do this by providing a structured and data-driven approach to bid/no-bid decisions. This can reduce the risk of pursuing RFP opportunities that are not a good fit for the team. Therefore, minimizing the potential for wasted time and resources. Ultimately, using proposal software to make bid/no-bid decisions can help RFP response team

  • better manage risk,
  • improve their chances of success,
  • and reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes.

Concept Tracking in the bid / no bid process

The manual process described above is also subject to errors. After reading 500 pages of a proposal, it’s easy to miss something on p.501. Even the most capable Capture Manager will occasionally fail to catch a term that would result in a no bid decision.

Let’s say a new RFP asks for a Top Secret (TS) staff clearance. There’s only one mention of this bid condition, and the Capture Manager misses it on her first review of the RFP. Even if she eventually finds it a few days later, she’s wasted time and effort in the meantime.

That’s why the Capture Managers we work with use VT Docs’ Concept Tracking feature to shred RFPs in seconds. The solution matches and categorizes relevant keywords and themes with business areas that you’ve defined as important. For example, staff clearance. It lets you know which RFPs would be worth pursuing. Which RFPs you’re most likely to win. And it allows you to quickly eliminate those you wouldn’t have a chance of winning.

Let’s take our Top Secret (TS) staff clearance example. Our Capture Manager has already created her dictionary within VT Docs. She set up the dictionary to identify all mentions of “Top Secret” and “TS”. Then she scans her RFP and, within seconds, the solution catches the TS mention. She identifies this as a bid the company shouldn’t pursue, and she moves on to the next RFP.

The solution also allows you to compare multiple RFPs at a time. Our Capture Manager can head to GovWin and collect any RFP that might be relevant to her business. She can upload them all to Concept Tracking. Within a few seconds, she knows to eliminate three of them. Now she just needs to look through the results to decide which of the remaining bids to present.

Here’s a video showing you exactly how it works


Key benefits of Concept Tracking

It lets you do your job better

This feature allows you to be more efficient in your work. Whatever the RFP, you’re able to make quick and accurate decisions on whether or not to present it to senior stakeholders. It increases your productivity and it’s less likely you’ll make mistakes. For these reasons, it will probably boost your professional reputation as well. 

It saves you time and energy

Automating this part of the process shaves hours off your workload. And it removes the mental strain of manually reviewing RFPs, allowing you to focus your attention on other things. For example, sourcing more relevant RFPs, identifying weaknesses, and creating awesome presentations for your managers.

It saves the business money

You spend less time chasing RFPs that won’t work out. You also catch risks that might cost the business money if missed.

And in a situation where you’re renewing a bid, you’re able to catch new conditions. You can then edit your proposal to ensure it accurately reflects the RFP. Failure to spot these new terms could result in you losing the rebid. If you do get the contract, you might need to add to the overall budget to cover the extra costs. That’s not going to make you popular with your colleagues managing the contract budget.

A winning formula for making bid / no bid decisions

VT Docs’ Bid / No Bid feature allows you to easily assess your strengths (and weaknesses) in relation to any RFP. You know exactly where to focus, and where you might need to bring in teaming partners. It weeds out the bids you were never likely to win. It also improves your chance of winning the bids you go for.


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