How to win a tender or bid

Tenders. They’re usually complex, often confusing and always time consuming - but the reward for winning means a lucrative contract for your business. Sadly there is no magic formula that will guarantee success in the tendering process, and each tender is different. Some tender issuers will be heavily focussed on price while others will be focussed on your approach to health, safety, quality and the environment, or how well you demonstrate your skills and experience.


But if you want to increase your bid success rate, there are a number of steps you can take to help you win. Here are my top tips:

  1. Don’t waste your time on bids you can’t win (and if you’re struggling to find bids, check out how to unearth them here). Not every opportunity is going to be right for your business so focus on the tenders that are a good match for your business, your resources and your schedule.

  2. Don’t just keep recycling the same old response material and make sure you answer the tender questions exactly as they are asked. I’ve seen loads of unsuccessful tenders where the business either hasn’t provided the evidence required, or has simply added a heap of marketing material to the response and expected the tender evaluation panel to hunt through it in order to find the answers they’re looking for.

  3. Make sure your response is complete - don’t leave any blanks and even if the answer is no, try to create a story around it. For example, if the tender asks if your Health & Safety Management System is certified and it isn’t, say something like “we have invested significantly in the development and implementation of our Health & Safety Management System. This system meets the requirements of ISO 45001 but has not yet been independently certified”.

  4. Make your your response in clear - don’t clutter it up with information they haven’t asked for and don’t leave anything out if they have asked for it.

  5. Make sure it’s well organised and easy to read - write your response in a conversational tone and break up the text with headings, tables, charts and images where relevant.

  6. Make sure it’s accurate - although it’s okay to be a little aspirational in your response, it’s not okay to say anything you can’t live up to. And on the subject of accuracy, it’s always a good idea to triple check your pricing as a little mistake can mean the end of your bid or potentially the end of your business.

  7. Showcase your awesomeness. Yes this is your time to shine so make sure you really sell your competitive advantage and what you bring to the table. Show them how you reduce risk by offering complete solutions and superior customer service.

  8. Sell the value of a long-term relationship. This is particularly important if you are the incumbent supplier and you want to get your contract renewed. Point out that you have developed strong relationships with the tender issuer and add some examples demonstrating how you have gone the extra mile or been able to utilise your existing knowledge of the contract to quickly resolve an issue.

That’s it. Follow those tips and you can increase your chance at success. If you need a hand though, I’m here to help. I’ll happily review your tender documentation and let you know what you could do better, or if you’re looking for someone to just take the whole process off your hands, I’m your girl. Just give me a call on 0400 514579, shoot me an email to or contact me here.