24 reasons why you lost your last rebid

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If you’ve just suffered a lost rebid, plenty of people might be getting the blame. But unless you look clearly at all the possible reasons, you might be risking losing your next rebid too.

If you did lose, you probably got feedback from the customer. You might even have completed an internal review to understand the causes. But we find that most companies don’t look at what we’ve found to be the most common reasons behind rebid losses, even when they do run a review.
We’ve reviewed dozens of contracts lost at rebid (as well as a number that were won), across several countries and a lot of sectors. We’ve also talked to bidders about their wins and losses – and procurers about why they chose to change from their incumbents. Here’s what we’ve found to be the most common reasons for incumbents losing their rebids – and the questions you might want to ask the next time you lose.

 The rebid isn’t always lost at the rebid

 One of the main lessons we’ve learned is that your rebid can be lost well before you submit your final price and solution – even before you start writing your submission. Or perhaps more accurately the seeds of a loss can be sown earlier. The official feedback you get from your customer will be about price and the evaluation scores you got in your rebid submission. Bhe reasons for your price being too high, or your marks being too low to win can come from actions taken (or not taken) well before the official rebid process began.
That’s why when we are reviewing rebid losses we look beyond the bid process and content and go back into the preparation period, and the delivery of the contract.
You can certainly lose a rebid through not submitting the best bid, or from errors in your solutioning, pricing or writing. But sometimes even the best writers, proposal developers and commercial analysts are so far behind by the time they start the submission that they just can’t make the ground up sufficiently to win. That’s why we always encourage our customers to look at three specific areas when reviewing their rebids and start by asking the questions:
• What could we improve in our rebid submissions?
• What could we improve in our rebid preparation?
• What could we do during our contract to improve our chances of rebid success?
Of course, these aren’t the only questions we ask, but they are the main areas to look at. Below we cover each of these areas. And what can go wrong that can lead to a rebid loss.

 During the contract

 Our own survey of procurers showed that 88% saw performance during the contract as having an impact on their decision on who would win the rebid (for 18% this was the most important factor of all). If you haven’t performed during the contract, and haven’t built strong and positive relationships with your customer as a result, you can be on the back foot by the time the rebid comes around. Some of the questions to ask yourself, and your team, to establish whether you could have been in a better position would be:
• Did we deliver everything we promised in our original bid?
• Did we meet and beat all the customer’s KPIs throughout the contract?
• How much improvement – that made a real difference to the customer – did we deliver during the contract?
• Did anything go wrong during the contract – and if it did are we sure we solved the problem to the customer’s satisfaction?
• Did we build strong, positive relationships with the customer stakeholders who ended up having influence and decision making power in the rebid?
• On a scale of 1 -10 (where 1 is worst) how much did the people in these decision making and influencing positions want us to win?
For more detail behind some of the areas covered in these questions, take a look at our articles on:
Measuring what really matters

Delivering strategic customer benefits

Incumbent credibility gaps:

 Preparing for the rebid

 You should have a lot of advantages as you prepare for your rebid. You have access that your competitors don’t enjoy. To the details of the existing contract and operations, to the customer. And you have time to get everything ready, well before the ‘official’ rebid starts. Unfortunately a lot of incumbents squander this advantage by not putting in as much effort as they could. Ask yourself:
• Did we start our rebid preparations early enough (i.e. before the customer was starting to make their own decisions about what the rebid would contain)?
• Did we put the right team onto the rebid early enough (with the right leader and enough resources and motivation)?
• Did we have a clear plan for our rebid preparations that we stuck to and resourced sufficiently?
• Did we review the contract early in our preparations to uncover all the information we could about the customer, their needs, our performance and the contract, and the details of the contract such as volumes, changes, etc?
• Did we make the best possible use of our contact with the customer to uncover their needs for the future and particularly the changes they wanted for the next contract period?
• Did we know what was going to be in the customer’s rebid documents well before they were published?
• Did we have input into and influence on what went into those documents?
• Did we have at least an outline solution (that met the needs the customer expressed for the future) before the customer rebid documents were published?

For more on preparing for the rebid take a look at:
Implementing a Recapture Plan

The rebid submission

 If you have already asked and answered all the questions above, you might be starting to get a view of potential reasons why you didn’t win. But ask yourself the following questions about the rebid process and submission:
• How much was our solution based on a clear review of the customer’s future needs and the chance to innovate vs a variation on our existing delivery?
• How much did we really challenge all aspects of our existing delivery / solution to test if they were really the best value for the future?
• How much did we take into account what our competitors might offer?
• Did we answer all the questions with the same freshness that we would for a new customer?
• How much did we align our solution and submission to the customer’s evaluation criteria – rather than what we thought they wanted from our existing contract?
• How much did we challenge our existing costs and margins to get to a genuine best price – rather than base our price and margin on the existing contract?
• Did we use the right examples of performance and knowledge built from our existing contract – and did we focus these on the benefits they would deliver to meet the customer’s future needs, rather than benefits we had delivered in the past?
No doubt you will have other questions for this area taken from your reviews of bids for new business, but these are the common areas that we often find lacking in rebids.
To see more on this area take a look at:
Six things to check in your rebid submission 
Discriminators, Differentiators etc:


 By asking these questions in your rebid review you might just uncover some different reasons for your loss than you initially expected. By asking the same questions (but replacing ‘did we’ by ‘how can we’) before you start preparing for your next rebid, you might avoid another loss

We can help you understand why you lost your last rebid, and how to avoid losing the next one. See here for details