What makes a successful tender?

Tenders can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you are not familiar with responding to them, or if it’s a must-win tender. A question with a response limit of two sides of A4 and a blank sheet of paper can be a terrifying process of creating and then reducing.

The first thing to do is read the full tender document; highlight key deadlines and tasks you have to do. Sometimes you can get so caught up in the big questions that you completely miss the straightforward yes/no questions that have an instant pass/fail score.

Within the tender document there is a scoring matrix, dissect this information and see where you need to focus more effort.

Form a small core team that is completely embedded in the tender and then assign writers and specialists to draw on for information. Plan in review points and as well as reviewing as a core team, allocate additional resource to review as a ‘fresh pair of eyes’, and really listen to their feedback – you may not have written what you want to express.

With that in mind we think there are six critical elements to producing a winning quality tender:

  1. Answer the questions in the Invitation To Tender (ITT). This seems obvious but too often responses go into great detail but don’t actually answer the question!
  2. Make it simple and enjoyable for the assessor to follow and easy to understand. Split the response out with subheadings that correlate to parts of the question.
  3. Plan the response around the scoring scheme. As mentioned earlier, use the scoring system to help plan which areas you should spend more time and invest more resource.
  4. Make it easy to mark. The assessors have a big workload with lots to read over and above their day job. So if it’s hard for them to find the answers they are looking for they will move quickly on to your competitor’s tender or bid.
  5. Make it a joy to read. Use of infographics, empathy, space planning, hierarchy of information and creativity will make your submission stand out from a sea of potentially dull responses.
  6. Remember the Mad Cow – BSE:  What are the Benefits to the customer, what Skills do we offer and what Evidence can we use to prove it.

We’ve got a pretty good track record with tenders and we’re always happy to have a chat, get in touch if you’d like to discuss what makes a successful tender in more detail.

Posted by: Kylie Elson

Date: 27 February 2018

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