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Your micro-productivity to-do list for a successful bid

Emma Lowman

Author: Emma Lowman

Account Director

Date posted: 13/06/2022

Producing a bid can be a stressful time. There is so much to do, and so little time to do it. You need to know what to do to tackle it … start with breaking it down into small tasks.

Create a mini to-do list

When it comes to bids, it’s easy to get lost in the chaos: there are an endless number of questions to answer, stakeholders to manage and competitors to watch out for. Enter micro-productivity.

Micro-productivity is the art of making complex tasks seem more achievable and doable. Simply put, it’s breaking down the bigger, insurmountable tasks into mini ones. Here are some manageable tasks you can follow to ensure your response stands out from the crowd.

1. Stamp your identity

The first thing you need for a successful bid is an identity or a theme. Your bid needs something to make it recognisable – a single-minded message that runs throughout your proposal, presentation and all client communications.

Your audience should be left with a clear sense of who you are, and what you have to offer that’s different from your competitors.

To do:

  • Explore prospects, challenges, and motivations.
  • Assess competition and set your USP.
  • Devise a visual and/or content theme.
  • Add personalised team biographies (ultimately, people buy people).
  • Package your bid creatively.
  • Consider introducing a ‘digital experience’.
  • Include case studies and scenarios.
  • Theme the presentation environment where possible.

2. Create a clear narrative

Not everything can fit into your bid – and it shouldn’t. Once you have chosen your theme, the most effective way to tell your story is to stick to it as much as possible. And make the complex simple.

Nobody wants to read a bid full of complex information and fluffy language. Remember: your readers are going to be real people, who want to be entertained by what you’re presenting. Make it easy to understand and make it consistent. Bonus points if you can also make it fun.

To do:

  • Establish a core narrative or ‘story’.
  • Develop a presentation script.
  • Set a tone of voice and stick to it.
  • Set a design style for visual elements.
  • Choose the right imagery and graphics.
  • Consider replacing text with infographics/diagrams.
  • Add customer journeys or scenarios.

3. Think beyond the request for proposal (RFP)

It’s a crowded market. So, when there are a lot of companies participating in the same bid, a little extra effort can make a big difference. It can help stakeholders keep you in mind, when faced with a wall of submissions.

Warming up the key client before sending the RFP can be as useful as following up after submitting it. It might seem unnecessary, but creating extra material specifically catering to the stakeholders can truly improve the outcome of your bid.

To do:

  • Analyse your competitors’ offerings.
  • Gather insights and set strategic focus.
  • Profile key stakeholders.
  • Identify strategic drivers.
  • Identify and resolve pain points.
  • Create a personalised leave-behind (e.g., a physical booklet, meaningful gift, etc).
  • Create a follow-up plan and assets.

4. Find a perfect partnership

It’s true that an agency partner will never know the ins and outs of your business like you do. But they can still make their expertise work for you. Their creativity can be key to making your bid look and feel exciting enough to grab your audience’s attention.

Communication is your agency’s bread and butter. Leave the formatting, diagram development, design, and copywriting to a trusted agency, so you can focus your time on the more technical bid requests.

To do:

  • Establish your business and bid objectives.
  • Decide what it is that you want from your agency partner.
  • Assess the agency’s bid support and industry credentials.
  • Look for an agency whose culture matches yours.
  • Ensure the agency has the right skills and resources.

5. Stay one step ahead

Bids can come and go, fast. The last thing you want is to miss out on a great opportunity, just because you were too busy. A little speculative work ahead of time can help you stay on top of new projects going out to tender.

To do:

  • Build direct relationships with your prospect.
  • Analyse the market context.
  • Forecast potential incumbent/prospect value.
  • Q&A key client stakeholders.
  • Hold regular project reviews.
  • Explore incumbent/prospect drivers and issues.
  • Devise follow-up tactics and collateral.

Making the complex simple

Following these steps, your creative agency can help communicate your complex stories in a simple way, to a wide range of audiences, ensuring your business stands out from the crowd and achieves a winning outcome!


Got a challenging bid that Purple could support with? Contact us at

Emma Lowman is an Account Director at Purple Agency. She has extensive experience in building strong and lasting client relationships, working with global brands to creatively plan and strategise to achieve optimum success. With over 12 years’ experience in B2B marketing, she is inspired by technologies and services that can dramatically change our future.