Tender writing is a complex process which can be overwhelming. Quite often mistakes are made which prevent contracts from being won, but there are a number of actions companies can take to win more tenders. In line with recent Government regulations and targets, it is becoming increasingly easier for SMEs to secure contracts and be more successful at tendering. Alongside this, Executive Compass provide our tips to help improve your success rate
Winning Bids – What to gain
Bid writing is by no means an easy task, and a lot of tenders can be both large and very complicated. It is very common to make mistakes whilst trying to cut through the mass of questions, requirements and demands in a submission, and the overall process can leave the writer both confused and disheartened.
It is important to look past the initial complexities and focus on what you have to gain from winning a tender. For many companies, securing a contract not only means more business, but the chance to work with larger companies and contracting authorities and form ongoing working relationships with them.
Large companies are increasing spend for buying services
As large companies start to recover from the strain of the recession, spending is increasing on contracted services. New rules and regulations from the EU have been implemented in an attempt to encourage large firms to work with more SMEs and increase the number of smaller firms successfully bidding for contracts. This is being done through a more transparent process, whereby companies will have to give reasons for not splitting large jobs into lots.
One large UK firm has already allocated £1bn to SME contracts in 2014, which normally would have been awarded in favour of large firms. Although a surge in smaller companies tendering is good, it also creates higher competition within the market and quality submissions must be produced to win contracts.
Why companies lose out
In order for smaller firms to bid successfully for major contracts, “suppliers must be prepared to do their bit in terms of raising standards and delivering value” stated Adrian Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Achilles. The cost of losing a tender can be considerable and companies need to make the best use of their resources to make sure they don’t lose out to the competition. In our experience, companies tend not to make the cut due to the lack of case studies and examples; not including the right policies and procedures and writing generic responses which lack quality. It is easy to make the mistake of getting caught up in the jargon and think making a considered response is too onerous but with proper planning and organisation you can make sense of the specification.
How you can improve
Even though there is increased encouragement for large companies to favour SMEs, you should not rely on this alone. A good submission needs to be organised from start to finish, keeping your eye on what you need to do to win the tender. You need to showcase your strengths and capabilities as a business, and why you can add value to the contract. This can be achieved in a number of ways: make sure your response is evidence based and always include good examples; differentiate yourself from the competition through quality policies and procedures; pay attention to detail and above all review all of your work thoroughly.
We work with many clients, both SMEs and blue chip companies, who have all of the competences necessary to deliver a contract but just need the right guidance to win the tender. For further information about how Executive Compass can assist with your next submission please fill out our contact form.
Check out this video for more tips on how to keep winning tenders: