No two tenders are the same. There is no “one size fits all” method for how to write a tender, but there are systems which, if you make full use of them, will give you an effective framework you can use.
Drawing on these techniques will help you undertake the task in a structured way, with the overall effect of increasing your chances of success.
Plan the tender writing process effectively
One pitfall that many business owners fall into when writing a tender is to charge into the process head on. Invitations to tenders may be lengthy, often asking for between 10,000 and 100,000 words of narrative, as well as a large number of attachments and items of evidence. Trying to tackle the process without a robust planning process is setting yourself up for failure.
Before you start, it is essential to gain a detailed overview of everything you need for the submission. You must closely scrutinise not only the questions but also the specification. Once you have done this, you can begin the process of drawing together the evidence, information and resources that you will need to write the tender. Storing these items in a Bid Library will provide you and other team members with easy access to items which are routinely requested in tenders, such as policies, accounts, staff CVs and case studies.
You should also consider which people in your organisation can support the application as part of the Bid Team. Look for subject matter experts, such as frontline staff, for practical “hands-on” detail to support the top-level, global overviews of the management team. A good plan will detail who will be doing what, as well as when the Bid Team Leader will receive different pieces of evidence and information from members of the team. Don’t forget to appoint a co-ordinator to act as a central hub for all information and to remind everyone of deadlines.
Take a targeted approach to writing the tender
By always having a strong plan in place, you can take a more targeted approach whenever you write a tender response. One benefit of this is compliance. Many authorities can and will disqualify a whole tender submission if you have missed out a mandatory attachment. Checking off everything that you have sourced against your initial plan will help prevent anything being omitted, and will support you in creating a compliant bid.
A targeted approach will invariably yield better results than a “blunt instrument” methodology. Refer back to your Bid Library for high-quality source material and address the specific points requested in each question. Your aim should be to make it as easy as possible for the evaluator to award you marks, so provide the information that they are looking for in a digestible format.
Be persuasive through your bid writing
There is a danger that, when trying to address specific points in a question with a restrictive word limit, you can lose sight of the overall purpose of the tender process. The whole exercise is designed to be competitive. Everything that you write should contribute to the aim of persuading the Buyer that you are the best provider for the contract.
What can help you here is to identify your Bid Themes. These should be your key differentiators: the innovative practices and behaviours you have that make you go above and beyond the specification. Once you have identified these, they can be woven throughout your whole tender submission to provide a strong picture of what sets you apart from the competition.
Alongside this, you should continuously link the descriptive narrative that you create back to the Buyer’s needs. Letting the Buyer know how your ways of working will guarantee their satisfaction will secure you more marks, and improve your overall chances of success.
This is a simplified version of the same approach that our own team of bid writers take when working for our customers. Our 87% success rate across all industries is testament to the effectiveness of the structured, targeted approach to tender writing. If you require any support or assistance with writing a tender, contact us at 0800 612 5563.
For more information on the contract tender process, check out this video below: