Writing a tender response can be very time consuming, frustrating and sometimes downright annoying. If you're going to tackle a tender response though, go all in. Don't approach it half-heartedly or as if it's a chore. Give it your absolute best shot - if you don't , you can't expect to win!
What sets a winning tender apart from a non-winning tender? It's not all about the price (although obviously if your price doesn't represent value, don't expect to win). Usually it comes down the attention you've paid to the tender requirements, and how well you've been able to craft your response to meet those requirements. Here are my top tips to writing a winning tender:
Use the issuers template
If the tender document asks for responses to be submitted on a specific template, make sure you use it and complete it fully in accordance with the instructions. DOn't be afraid to ask questions if there are any issues with the template itself - I've seen these provided as PDF's (which can't be edited) and also as word documents where the document is locked for formatting changes. If you encounter something like this, ask the tender issuer if you can have the template in an unlocked word format.
Make sure you read the response template and instructions carefully, and if the response has word or page limits but allows for additional information to be included as attachments, use the opportunity to demonstrate the strength of your offer and the robustness of your business policies, methodologies and practices.
Structure and Strategy
Think about your offer - what it is, what is going to make you stand out from others who are responding to the same tender, and how you can present your credentials in a way that really demonstrates you meet all of the criteria the tender issuer is looking for. Include an introduction section that is clear and persuasive, and that describes exactly what you have to offer.
When it comes to describing your service offer, make sure you very clearly detail exactly what you are proposing to provide. Never miss an opportunity to demonstrate how your offer is innovative or adds extra value.
Always keep the selection criteria in mind when writing your response. Sometimes the selection criteria are stated in the body of the tender document but are couched in different terms in the response template, so I always print them out and stick them on the wall next to my computer so they are close at hand when I'm writing a response for my clients.
Pay particular attention to the weightings for each of the selection criteria if these have been provided - it's usually a good clue as to how much effort you should put into your response for each.
Spelling and grammar checks are good but they don't pick up everything so make sure you have enough time to proof read your submission from start to finish. Don't do this when you're likely to have distractions - the cone of silence is your best friend when it comes to proofing your submission. If possible, get someone else to also proof read it to confirm it reads well and covers all the important points you should get across.
Submit it on time
Plan to have everything completed the day before the deadline so you have plenty of time to submit your tender. Most Government tenders are submitted via a tender portal, and since the response can be quite large, it's a good idea to get it submitted early.
If a tender closes at 2:00pm, assume that the tender box will be disabled at this time (and the last thing you want is for this to happen when you're still trying to submit your response - because once the door shuts, it's too late to for your bid).
Follow these tips and you're on the right path towards tender success. But if you need a hand, I'm here to help - just give Pauline a call on 0400 514579 for an obligation-free chat about your tender requirements.