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Article Details

Published Date: 27-01-2015
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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The first stage of the procurement process is the pre-qualification questionnaire. Understanding exactly how to win a PQQ is key to your company’s continued success.

You are asked to provide a large amount of information and data in what is often a very complex document. However, by following the steps detailed below, you can write a winning submission every time.

Remember that it’s a competition

When approaching any PQQ you should remember that you are in direct competition with your rivals, all of whom want to win the contract ahead of you. Regardless of how many bidders progress to the next stage of the process, you should always approach each PQQ with the understanding that you must score as highly as possible. Many PQQs fail to progress to the next stage by as little as one point so each response must be as good as it possibly can be.

Having the desire to produce winning tenders each time you bid should inspire you to score as highly as possible. It is not enough to want to win a contract or show that you can provide a high quality service – you need to show that you can do this better than any other bidder.


Poor planning and organisation from the start of the process and beyond will only cause you stress and reduce your prospects of writing a winning submission, ultimately resulting in a rushed and disjointed tender. By planning your bid effectively from start to finish you are more likely to impress an assessor with a coherent and well-structured document containing all the relevant supporting information with a strong persuasive theme. Successful planning should include:

Reading and understanding all relevant documents: you will gain a full understanding of what you are required to do, the submission requirements, and the needs of the contracting authority. As a result you will produce a compliant and high quality submission. Read the specification several times, making notes as you do so, before you even begin to write.

Establishing a high quality team: set up a PQQ team containing employees who are skilled and experienced in your business, and who understand and can express your unique selling points. These staff should be briefed and knowledgeable in all the documents. Have similar quality auxiliary staff also briefed and available to provide continuity in case of staff illness or absence. Make sure that everyone fully understands the importance of submitting a successful PQQ, and make sure they have the time to complete it. Too often, completing a PQQ can become a desk clearing exercise with staff failing to give the documentation the attention it needs.

Store and update all documents centrally: all required documents should be stored and updated regularly in a central file so that all staff can access them at any time during the process. Alongside this should be all supporting documents and your response, kept in separate and clearly marked folders. This will avoid time wasted on searching for information and will help you focus on writing a winning submission.

Evidence and Statistics

Any statement that you make should be supported by evidence and statistics to strengthen the response and give the assessor confidence that your company does what it says. For example, when referring to excellent performance, back this up by providing evidence of positive KPI statistics, inspection results, or satisfaction surveys and questionnaires. You could also provide copies of your policies and procedures; staff CVs; or your workforce training programme as evidence of the quality of your systems and staff in delivering an excellent service.

Give sufficient time for writing

The most important element of any PQQ submission is the actual writing of the responses required. Too many companies underestimate how long it takes to write a winning submission and therefore dedicate too little time to this process. This results in a rushed submission which is not likely to highlight the strengths of your business compared to those of your rivals.

Once you have collected, collated and labelled all the data and information needed for the PQQ, the next step is to write up all responses. This should include making sure that you answer each question fully and that every point is supported by evidence. Most importantly, you should ensure that you follow any requirements set by the authority, such as font, page or character limits. Once you are satisfied you have followed these steps you should get the work quality assured and proof read by a colleague before submitting. An impartial review of the submission will identify any areas of weakness that need improvement, and will ultimately make it as good as possible.

We have won hundreds of PQQs for a wide variety of companies of various sizes, operating in a diverse range of sectors. For more information on how you we could help you to win more PQQs contact us free on 0800 612 5563 or email

Here are some general tips to help you be more successful:

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