It is widely thought that writing a tender submission is time consuming, complicated and includes a lot of documentation – and this is mostly true! However, to make your bid writing process a much simpler one, we discuss the common mistakes that most people encounter when writing a tender, and how to avoid making them.
Not reading the specification
As well as writing hundreds of bids, we review tender documents for clients, and our most common comment is that it is obvious the organisation has not read the specification, and that they aren’t answering the question correctly. Make it your priority to read the specification and any additional documentation, and use this to guide your answers.
Failing to upload all the required information
A bid submission will typically require a number of documents, completed method statements, pricing schedules, declarations, references – the list could go on. It is a very simple tip but make sure you have included all the information required – if not it is likely that your bid will be non-compliant and will fail.
Forgetting to check the communication with the buyer
The majority of procurement exercises are done via an online portal, and all communication with the buyer will be done via this portal. Do not forget to check back via the portal for any clarification questions or updates about the contract you are bidding for, as this could contain important information that you need to know. Common clarifications include confirmation of word or page counts, deadline extensions, further explanation of certain questions or financial information, and even hints at what the buyer is looking for in your bid. You can be at a disadvantage if you do not keep up to date with all communication from the buyer, or if you fail to submit a clarification question on something you are unsure about.
Not doing your research!
Would you go for a job interview without doing some research? I suspect not – and bidding for a contract should be no different. Research the awarding authority: what are their strategic aims, goals and objectives for this contract? This should in turn guide your win themes and your own strategy for the contract. Also undertake research into your competitors – how can you differentiate yourself, and what makes your organisation stand out? This should be portrayed in your bid proposal and should be a clear message.
Overlooking the stipulated word or page limits
It may sound like simple advice, but many organisations fail to read the instruction to tenderers document in full and can skip past the word or page limits for a tender. In some cases, this can mean an automatic fail, or at the least it means you are not aware how much or how little an evaluator is looking for and your answers will not reflect this.
Assuming the buyer knows you and your organisation
We often hear that ‘the buyer knows us’, ‘we already work with the buyer’ and ‘we have a relationship in place’. That is all great, but make sure you state the obvious in your tender and go into detail – assume that the buyer has no previous knowledge of your business. Another point to note is that the person you work with or have a relationship with may not be involved in the marking of your tender submission.
If you are struggling to write a tender, unsure how to start bidding for contracts or need support in increasing your success rates, contact our team today to discuss how we can help.
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