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Article Details

Published Date: 1-05-2015
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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Tendering for public and private sector contracts is how many firms secure work however, it can be a difficult process.

One of the biggest difficulties when writing a tender for a new contract is beating the incumbent. When a contract is renewed after the stipulated amount of time, the incumbent will no doubt bid to re-secure the contract. Obviously they have a distinct advantage over the competition as they currently provide the service and know the contracting authority.

It can be very hard to beat a strong incumbent, to the point where it is sometimes not worth bidding. But do not be afraid, it can be done and there is a method to winning the contract.

Competitive intelligence

The first step is to know your competition. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Were there any issues on the current contract? What will they talk about in their bid?

Do your research and find out everything you can about the other company and how they operate. The aim of this is to find where you differ. Do not mention the other company within your bid, but do talk about your own company in relation to your findings.

If the incumbent has certain weaknesses, discuss your strengths in this area. Find differentiating factors to emphasise and use them to your advantage.

Focus on your strengths

As mentioned you should not be talking about the other company. Focus on the benefits you have to offer and how this will improve the service of the contract.

What will you do differently? How can the service be improved?

Use your past experience and evidence to back up every point you make. Thorough case studies will show the evaluator how you operate and give them the information needed for a comparison with the incumbent.

Find similar contracts that you successfully delivered and discuss how you excelled and can improve the current service.

Innovation and price

The contracting authority are always looking for better and innovative ways to deliver the contract. Describe any innovations you can offer and exactly how these can benefit the service.

Look for things that can improve quality, benefit the local area, save time and also save money. The latter is often a large contributing factor to the award of the contract. If your company can provide a high (or higher) quality of service, whilst offering a more cost effective delivery, then you will be a sure winner.

For more information and tips on beating the incumbent, contact us free on 0800 612 5563 or email

For tips on writing a winning tender, watch the video below:

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