Most organisations will encounter a time when they need to tender for a specific contract – it may be to expand and grow, or it may be to continue working with a certain supplier as the incumbent. In both the public and private sector, tendering is the most common way of securing work.
Above all, tendering is a competition, and the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) bidder will be selected through the tendering process to work with the buyer on the contract. Experts at Executive Compass have worked with thousands of companies tendering for contracts and shed some light on how to win tender contracts.
1. Review your chances of success
Drawing upon our experience of why companies don’t secure contracts, the first place to start in the tender process is with identifying the correct tender opportunity. But before diving straight into writing your tender, you must undertake a thorough review of the tender opportunity, to determine your chances of success.
At this stage you can evaluate your likely competitors, pick apart the specification and the buyer’s strategic aims, and look at your company’s experience and differentiators, to determine if it is a good contract for your organisation. For example, do you meet minimum criterion such as a financial threshold, or have the correct accreditations – if not, it may be a non-starter. Alternatively, if you do meet the minimum criteria, but feel you do not have the experience, resource or skills to win, it may have to be a ‘no bid’. Be realistic in your analysis as this can save valuable time that could be used to improve more competitive submissions.
2. Tender writing and planning
Once you have assessed your chances of success and found them to be high, next comes the actual tender writing. Considering how to win a tender through your writing is all about planning, being persuasive and always keeping the questions in mind.
Do not fall into the trap of writing a bid that reflects the services you would prefer to deliver – winning tenders have to be what the evaluator wants to read and what they have asked you to include. Stick to the evaluation criteria and let this guide your winning tender submission for the individual tender opportunity.
3. Ensure you cover the ‘must-haves’
It is good practice to ensure your tender submission includes everything the buyer has requested in a clear and accessible format to remain compliant.
Typically, this will be the following:
- Trading history including trading name, duration of trading, turnover/financial soundness etc.
- Relevant experience, usually shown in case studies that are relevant to the tender contract. These can be both public and private. Please note that when using case studies to demonstrate technical and professional ability, the organisations used as case studies can be contacted to provide a reference.
- All suitable memberships and certifications for your industry sector
- A unique selling point (USP) to set your company apart from competitors
- Solid organisational structure and appropriate staff for the contract.
4. Bid review
The bid review process applies to two stages of tendering. Firstly, when submitting the bid, have someone from your organisation who has not been involved in writing the bid review the submission key elements such as does it answer the questions? Have we portrayed ourselves favorably? Have all the documents been completed and attachments provided? This will provide a good foundation for self-verification that you have submitted a potentially winning bid.
If there is an occasion when you are not successful with a bid, learn from it! This is key when you are considering how to win a tender. There are several steps for continual improvement that can help achieve higher success rates the next time you complete an invitation to tender:
- Always request feedback from the buying authority
- Undertake a post-bid review to determine what scored well and what didn’t
- Review underperforming areas for your bid and actions – Do you need to review your social value strategy? Were your case studies not up to scratch?
- Enlist support or improvement plans ahead of the next bid – do not leave it until the last minute
- Review your tender writing – is the style, win themes and format as best as it can be?
And, most importantly, make sure you don’t make the same mistakes on the next tender opportunity.
If you still have questions about how to win tenders, then get in touch; we are always happy to help!
And if you don’t have the time to complete a bid, you can turn to expert Bid Writers at Executive Compass. Our professional in-house bid writers have years of experience and know what it takes to win tenders.
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