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How to win a tender contract


Most organisations will encounter a time when they need to tender for a specific contract – it may be in order to expand and grow, or it may be to continue working with a certain supplier. 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 to work with the buyer on the contract. Executive Compass has worked with thousands of companies bidding for tender contracts and shares some light on what it takes to win.

Tender writing: where should you start?

Drawing upon our experience of why companies don’t secure contracts, the first place to start is with identifying the correct contract opportunity. Before diving straight into writing your tender, you must undertake a thorough review of the tender contract 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 also look at your company’s experience and differentiators, to determine if it is a good contract for your organisation. If you feel it is unlikely you can win, it may have to be a “no bid”.

Next comes the actual tender writing. In order to be a successful bid writer it is all about planning, being persuasive and always keeping the questions in mind. Do not fall into the trap of writing a bid that you would prefer – it needs 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 tender submission.

Check out our full list of top tips for tender writing for our bid writer’s top 10 tips.

Bid Management Notes

What is a “must-have” in your tender?

One way to ensure your tender contract is on the right track is to ensure that you “have” everything the buyer is looking for, and this is easily accessible.

Typically, this will be the following:

  • Trading history of a minimum of three years (if it is a large contract you probably want to show more length of service as a company – it is very likely your competitors will)
  • Relevant experience, usually shown in case studies that are relevant to the tender contract
  • All suitable memberships and certifications for your industry sector
  • A unique USP to set your company apart from competitors
  • Solid organisational structure and appropriate staff for the contract.

Continual improvement for your tenders

If there is an occasion when you are not successful with a bid for a tender contract, learn from it! There are several steps for continual improvement that can help achieve higher success rates:

  • 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?
  • Make sure you don’t make the same mistakes on the next bid!

To discuss how Executive Compass can help you to win more tenders, contact us today for a further chat and no-obligation quotation.

Call us now to speak to a member of our Bid Team:

0203 507 0314 or direct to mobile: 07590 276 006