Robust Go No Go Decision Making Process

Maximise your return on tender investment through bid-no bid decisions

Every tender or bid submitted to clients and customers, is done so with the aim of placing your organisation in a better position, whether that position is strategic or financial. 

Decisions not to submit have the same aim. However, no go decisions can also be taken as a way of making sure you focus on the areas where you will get the best rate of return, or avoid a potentially worse position that may come from any unreasonable project or contact risks. 

With smaller projects, the risks and rewards are generally also lower, so bid-no bid decisions can be easier to make. As project values rise, or contract conditions become more onerous, the decision on whether to bid or not becomes much more important. 

Go decisions for high value or more risky contacts will often need to be reviewed and revisited at different points in time. This is often called decision gate reviews, and are worthwhile undertaking as more information becomes available and capture planning actions are completed. It may be that marginal go decision becomes a no go.

No matter what scale contracts and projects you are  in your pipeline of prospects, we recommend putting in place a robust go no go decision making process. This process should include:

  • A go-no go template or decision sheet.
  • Agreed sign off limits or delegations, based on contract size.
  • Decision gates at which go-no go decisions need to be reviewed. 
  • The level of investment (time and actual spend) agreed to for each go opportunity.
  • The creation of a Tender Review Group or Tender Evaluation Committee tasked with overseeing any tenders recognised as being strategically important or as large value by your organisation, or that bring undue risk.

Critical experience in guiding tender decision making.

Shed Light's director, Richard, spent many years honing his skill set in the tender space. As well as being a bid writer on a wide array of submissions in multiple sectors, he regularly took on roles as Tender Manager and Tender Director. This culminated in him being appointed as the chairperson of The Tender Evaluation Group for an organisation with in excess of $50 million in revenue per year. 

How to break the 'no bid' news

If you have been shortlisted after submitting an ROI or EOI, or have been directly invited by a client to tender on a specific opportunity, you'll want to spend some time considering how you respond if your tender decision making process comes through with a no go decision. 

This response becomes particularly important if it's to a client you currently do work for, or are hoping to secure contracts with in the future. Here are some points to consider:

Prepare a no-bid letter

Formally communicating your decision not to proceed is essential. In the letter, explain the reasons why the decision was reached. In our article titled 'Tender Decision Making: Should I 'no' or should I 'go' now', we highlight some of the reason that are commonly sited for making a no bid decision.

Be as positive and professional as possible

No matter whether the client organisation is one that you want to pursue in the future or not, make sure your letter is as positive and professional as it can be. Individuals move to different organisations, and organisations change over time, so best to keep relationships in tact, or even use the no bid decision as a way to enhance a relationship.

Follow up on the letter

If you are not able to deliver the letter in person, which is often the case given there is an active tender underway, then make sure to follow up when appropriate. This is a great opportunity to have a deeper conversation about the reasons for not submitting, but also the chance to talk about how to move forward, what steps you are taking to be prepared for the next opportunity and to listen to any advice from the client on their expectations.