Reviews should not be something to be dreaded. They are a process for finding areas of improvement, missed opportunities and development. Until the document is ready to be submitted, view it as what it is – a work in progress. Don’t take review feedback personally and when reviewing always try to be constructive. A bid document is like any other type of creative literature, it doesn’t simply come into being fully formed and ready for use. It will need continued work; rewriting, editing, structuring, proofing.
With this in mind it is important to select the right people to review the bid. We recommend that there should be at least two reviewers. One should be someone senior within your company, someone who understands the mechanics of your organisation, your bid objectives and aims. Ideally, this person should have been involved from the beginning of the process and should have helped develop the messages, win themes and strategy. This person will be a good judge of how the bid is moving towards the original ideas and vision and serve as a valuable touchstone.
The second person we recommend is someone external to the bid. This person may be part of your organisation, such as another Bid Manager or non-writer; or can be brought in as an external consultant when the draft is ready. The role here is editorial. This person can monitor that the messages, win themes and strategy are actually getting through. Can they understand the document? Is it telling them what they need to know? Does it leave them with any gaps or questions? In other words, this person imitates the role of the client.
The results from both these reviews, taken correctly, are opportunities. A skilled writer can weave feedback improvements into a document based upon these findings. They will not treat the feedback as criticism or an attack; rather it is part of the process of collaboration, an essential part of producing a compelling bid document and one that can only lead to improvement.