For many SMEs looking to begin bidding for public procurement contracts, the process can appear daunting, and putting together a tender can often seem overwhelming. While there is no ‘right way’ to approach tendering, we have put together a few useful tips to help you through the process and give you the best possible foundation for a winning submission.
Stay in the know
Stay ahead of the game and subscribe to pre-market engagement opportunities. This can be done by:
- Signing up for email alerts on Contracts Finder
- Registering your interest in future procurements
- Attend information days and public sector ‘product surgeries.’
Do your homework
Carry out some research into the opportunity and make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are bidding for – there’s no point in writing a tender and then realising at the last possible moment that you’re ineligible.
Bid for what you can win
The quickest way to build up a Government customer base is to start with low-value procurements. To start with, aim for opportunities under £100,000 where the Government has abolished pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs). Building up your base this way is a great foundation for competing for bigger sales in the future.
If in doubt, ask! All tender processes include a window for clarifications. If there is anything you think is unclear, or any issues you encounter, make sure to put in a clarification – it’s in your best interests.
Play to your strengths
Recent studies of public sector procurers show that they see SMEs as flexible, quicker to react and able to offer better prices. Use the pre-market engagement to show this by reacting quickly to questions, offering options and evidence of where you’ve responded to change in the past. Recognise that you are likely to be cheaper than bigger players and show evidence that you offer value for money.
Give yourself time
Remember that if you want to give yourself good odds of winning, make sure you set aside enough time and don’t leave it until last minute.
Make sure you look good on paper
You may be the best at what you do but if you don’t make that clear on paper you won’t win. Take time to deconstruct the question and plan your response carefully. Keep it personal and ensure you reiterate the benefits and expertise of your business and cite evidence where possible. If you say your system will show or do something, prove it: include a screenshot of how it works or other tangible evidence.
The submission date is fixed – don’t be lax and try and submit after the deadline because your tender (no matter how good) will not be assessed and all your time and effort will be wasted.
If you think you could benefit from some support or advice on the tendering process, please contact our team today to discuss how we can support you throughout any stage of the PQQ or tender process. In the last 12 months, we have helped companies secure over £3.5 billion worth of public and private sector contracts. By working in partnership with you we can help you to get the results you want. Call us now for an informal chat and to see if you can benefit from our services.