The ability to submit a successful and compliant tender often depends on the ability to plan the submission quickly and effectively, from the storyboard stage through to final tender submission.
Guidance from our professional tender writers below will help you to plan, and also complete, a tender submission.
Understanding all the tender documents
The first step in the bid writing process for a successful tender submission is to read and understand all of the tender documentation. This documentation contains all the information that you need in order to produce a fully compliant response, such as: page, character and word limits, submission requirements, evaluation criteria and how to communicate with the buyer. Each tender is different, and ensure you approach your submission as such.
By understanding all this information you will then be in a position to understand the needs of the contracting authority and how to meet them, along with how to demonstrate successful delivery of the required services better than any of your competitors. If you do not read the tender documentation you are likely to produce a rushed and disjointed response that will not highlight the strengths of your company, and won’t be what the authority are looking for.
Use the tender specification to plan your response before you start drafting the tender. This will help to formulate the structure of your tender submission, ensuring that you address all points and answer the question.
Organise your bid team
The quality of any bid also relies on the quality and experience of your bid team or bid writers, and their ability to understand and meet all tender requirements. Make sure that you allocate experienced staff to each tender submission that you bid for – the time costs of this will be outweighed by the benefits that come with winning the contract.
If you do not have a bid team, outsource your tender writing to a professional tender writing firm to improve your chances of success. Professional tender writers specialise in the completion of bids, tenders and proposals, and can efficiently work through documents that your team may not have the time or resource to complete inhouse.
Once bid writers are allocated, ensure they have access to subject specialists or members of the organisation with more technical knowledge. This is necessary to answer questions to a high quality, which includes relevant and specific information. This may take time, but it does produce a winning tender, rather than the alternative which is guess work or using copy and paste from previous tenders – a big no.
When preparing a tender response it is important to store all documents centrally, in clearly marked files, so that the information can be accessed easily when required by anyone involved in the bid. This central store should include the tender documentation, any information or supporting documents and your prepared response.
What to consider when compiling a tender
Once you have understood the tender requirements and have a suitable plan in place, the next step is to start drafting the tender submission. A few pointers at the writing stage:
- Give yourself sufficient time to work through the tender response
- Ask yourself regularly whether you have fully answered the question
- Have you used the majority of the allocated word or page limit? If not, we would suggest revisiting your response, as it is unlikely that you can answer a question with one or two lines
- Is your narrative clear, and is information easy for the evaluator to find?
- Can you use images or diagrams alongside your narrative? If so, this is a great way to add flair to your tender submission
- Does your tender differentiate your organisation from the competition? Here you should be focusing on any unique selling points and positioning your company ahead of the other bidders.
Maintain an ongoing tender checklist
When completing any tender, develop a checklist of all information and supporting evidence and circulate this to all relevant departments within your company so they are aware of all the information they need to provide. This list should also contain details of each response that is required and the progress in completing this. Update the list regularly so that you can easily track the progress of the submission and any remaining elements, and make timely requests of your staff for outstanding information. This also ensures that you don’t miss anything, minimising the risk of your submission being non-compliant.
Establish a working bid library
When storing the tender response, use clearly marked folders for your responses, relevant information and supporting evidence. Staff can then access this information quickly and effectively and continue working on the submission without delay.
Information and supporting evidence stored in an up to date bid library can then be revisited for future submissions and amended as necessary; this method again speeds up the bid process, especially for documents such as policies which do not need to be updated for every bid.
Characteristics of a good tender
As we have mentioned, each tender is different and it is important to recognise that. A good tender submission is well written, answers the question and is driven by the contract specification to score the most marks available.
All too often we see clients fail a PQQ or tender due to lack of planning and a rushed tender response. For bespoke tender writing advice and support for your organisation, call us free on 0800 612 5563 or fill in our contact form to talk to our team today and see how we can support you.
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