Letters of regret hit the doormat somewhat harder than letters informing you your organisation has been successful in a tendering process.
It can be hard to stay optimistic when you’ve invested time, considerable resource and finances into writing a tender, or even writing multiple tenders, only to find that again, your tender hasn’t met the mark.
One lucky organisation in each process has the edge over their competition so it always means that there are more losing tenders than winners. Losing a tender doesn’t have to be a negative issue though; it can be harnessed as an opportunity to identify, and more importantly, understand the reasons why your tender wasn’t successful this time in order to write winning tenders in future.
The following stages should be followed to ensure that constructive information is taken on board and utilised in future tender opportunities.
-Many buyers, particularly in the public sector, now identify in the Letter of Regret all of the areas where your tender was weaker than your winning competitor. The letter is likely to identify the characteristics and advantages of the winning tender over yours, offering vital clues as to how you can present your company and what you offer in future. Did the winner’s tender offer something over and above what your offering was? Did they offer the same product and service yet differentiate it from yours in some way? Were they cheaper? Were they innovative? Keep this information to hand every time you write tenders in future and use it to your advantage. Sometimes it can be one tiny detail that differentiates their tender from yours – perhaps you both offer the same computer system but theirs has an extra 20GB of memory for the same price.
– Find out who the winning organisation was and gather as much information as you can about the company and how they operate. Are they a bigger organisation with better economies of scale? What is it about their business that set them apart from the competition? What are their faults? You should never point these out in future tenders but you can demonstrate clearly how your company does not have those particular faults! Understanding your competition thoroughly is a valuable tool in writing winning tenders. Awareness of how your competitors present themselves will enable you to present your business from a new perspective.
– Debrief – gather together everyone involved in the tender writing process and analyse the submission thoroughly. Was anything omitted? Were there any presentational or grammatical errors? Was the writing style clear and concise or muddled and ambiguous? Were all of the questions understood correctly and answered accordingly or were there areas of ambiguity? If so, always remember you can contact the client for clarification rather than attempt to answer something you don’t understand. Ensure that any findings from this process are documented and integrated into your writing process in future.
– Undertake a thorough audit of your offering. Did your tender just outline your basic product or service to the client or did you demonstrate added value and innovation? Buyers want as much bang for their buck as they can get but it doesn’t always come down to price. Social and Environmental responsibility, synergies between your organisation and theirs and high performance standards are all non-product related offerings that appeal to buyers and can help raise your tender above the bar.
Taking time to deconstruct a tender that did win not can be a valuable learning tool. This process can help to negate some of the time and expense invested into writing the tender because it can provide a solid foundation on which to build your future submissions. This in turn should increase your chances of being successful in future tender opportunities.