Having been in this business for quite some time (over 15 years now), I’ve seen firsthand how winning a tender has the ability to take a business to new heights. It’s also important to acknowledge that not every business is destined to be a successful tenderer. When we look at successful tenderers, we focus on win rate ratios and the best tenderers have proven themselves capable of utilising their extensive experience and industry knowledge to not only win tenders but to deliver on what’s promised.
Here are my top 3 key ingredients a business needs in order to be a successful tenderer.
#1: They need to be organised
If your organisation doesn’t have a great track-record in terms of preparation, you’re unlikely to thrive when it comes to tender applications. A number of relevant documents need to be on-hand and prepared prior to the commencement of a tender response. Once you have documents such as Financial Statements and key policy documents ready to go, you’ve got more time to focus on other areas of your application. Most importantly, you’re not cutting it too fine in terms of dealing with anything that needs to be re-worked or adjusted ahead of the deadline.
#2: The ability to project manage the submission
The tender process can be gruelling for any company. There’s only a small percentage of people out there like me who actually enjoy and thrive off this process (most people I speak to loathe it!). It is really easy to become stuck during various points of the submission and to find yourself drafting and redrafting certain pages. You need to have a good project management system in place that will ensure you stay on track and don’t miss any key deadlines. If you find yourself getting caught up in the actual writing side of things, reach out for help and at the bare minimum, make sure someone who’s never seen your submission (so not a team member), proofreads the document. This not only weeds out any spelling or grammar errors, it gives you the opportunity to get objective feedback and to amend anything that doesn’t make sense to someone outside of your business. I’d say this is one of the most critical steps in the process and too often, businesses cut it so fine in terms of having everything ready by the deadline, they forget this step which makes a huge difference.
#3: Planning and systems
For most tenders but especially when we’re talking about government tenders, the application process will require you to provide systems and planning documents as part of your response. So be prepared to produce documents and be sure to read the application guidelines and requirements carefully. Not winning a tender could come down to an oversight such as failing to provide a certain planning or systems document that’s been requested (trust me, I’ve seen it happen more times than you may think over the course of my career in tender writing). The more prepared you are to produce this documentation, the better chance you have at winning the tender.
If you know your business has what it takes to win highly sought after tenders in your industry and to follow through with the task at hand, that’s great news! It’s important to understand that tender writing is a specific skill and that understanding the tender process and requirements is vital in your ability to win any tender.
I’m passionate about all things tenders – I love helping businesses to win tenders and I know what a difference it can make to their bottom line. I’ve started this free online tender community because I want to help more businesses with the tender process. I’d love to connect with you!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the tender process.