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Is a Tender Just Customer-Focused Marketing?

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If you’re feeling unsure about all things tenders, it might be worth considering some tender training or an online course.

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And don’t forget about our closed Facebook group The Tender Hub – learn more.

Kristine Daw is the Managing Director of Dawtek, a Melbourne-based company specialising in tenders and proposals, tender training, copywriting, editing and creating business templates. Kristine and her small team have a range of clients including small businesses, multi-national corporations, all levels of government and not-for-profits.

1300 DAWTEK or dawtek.com.au

Customer-focused Marketing — a strategy where products and services are developed around individual customers’ preferences.

Every now and then, I am asked this question:

Is a tender submission basically a marketing document?

My answer is always, “Yes … and No.”

customer-focused marketing
To be, or not to be?

My tender writing services focus on showcasing your company’s strengths and offerings. I work alongside you to translate complex ideas into something that’s easily understood by people who may never have heard of your businesses and the services you provide.

My job is to help you get down on paper what makes your offerings unique, and persuade the reader that your business is capable of delivering the tender outcomes outlined.

Simply put, we do this by describing and evidencing:

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. When?
  4. How?

In terms of putting together a concise and relevant contract bid that gives you a professional edge over your competition — then yes, a tender response is similar to a marketing document. However, I find it pretty dangerous to explain a tender solely as a marketing document because I’ve seen it lead people down paths that do not help them to win the contract in question.

Traps to avoid

Here are the most common mistakes I see people making because they mistakenly believe a tender is “just” a marketing document.

customer-focused marketing

Trap: Failing to carefully consider the offer

The best form of marketing, the one that delivers the highest Return on Investment, carefully considers its audience. Unfortunately, way too many businesses these days drive their marketing activities from the belief that their audience is “everyone”.

Whenever I work with someone (in any capacity) on a tender bid, I always ask them a set of questions to ensure the contract suits their business and its capabilities.

Questions such as: have you considered the amount of time and resources needed to properly prepare for and deliver this tender response and then cater for a winning bid?

Think of it this way – you wouldn’t try to wear clothing that didn’t suit your body size, right? So, it’s important that you’re not wasting effort on contract bids that aren’t the best fit for your business.

Trap: Becoming distracted by waffle

This is a really important one: in your response, you must address just the outlined criteria. Carefully read what is required. And then re-read it. Make notes. Write a checklist. It’s a fact that many submissions get caught out by something silly, like forgetting to attach a document.

I’ve seen too often how people can veer off from what is actually being asked of them and how easy it is to descend into waffle. A question you are struggling to answer might take you back to consider: is the tender really the right fit for your business?

Be clear, be concise and know that ambiguous or long-winded answers probably aren’t going to work in your favour.

Trap: Failing to critique your tender

In my book, there’s nothing like another set of eyes to look over your tender response. Preferably someone (or multiple people) who can offer an unbiased perspective.

My tender review and critique services ensure you’ve completely addressed each of the tender requirements; highlighting what makes you unique and why your organisation should walk away with the contract.

You’d be surprised by how many companies spend copious amounts of time putting their submission together and then fail to do something really simple like getting a professional proofreader to read through it. No one wants to wade through spelling or grammatical errors; these minor details are just distractions.

So, what’s the answer?

So… back to the original question: is a tender submission basically a marketing document?

Yes, but it’s also so much more. Every contract is different. Remember that you’re likely to be competing with hundreds of other businesses. Use it as your time to shine and always consider whether you’ve done enough to make your organisation really stand out.

The new financial year is when many companies look to incorporating tender bids into their existing marketing strategy. During the 18 years I’ve been in business, I’ve helped my clients win over a billion dollars’ worth of contracts. So – if you ask me, if tender bids aren’t part of your existing business strategy, it’s well worth considering!

Help! Where do I start?

customer-focused marketing
Tendering 101: Where do I start?

A good place to start is to consider the client’s mission and values. If this information isn’t provided in the Request for Tender documentation, get online and research their website. I recommend doing this for every tender contract anyway!

Linking aspects of your solution to the client organisation’s vision, showing how your company values align with theirs and using the same kind of language as the client
are all great ways to make a strong connection.

Finally, remember everything you do is marketing – from the way you present your tender response document, to the language you use … right through to the presentation of USB sticks, envelopes and the packaging of your response. Don’t let anything out the door (or email outbox) which isn’t a reflection of your business and how you will perform once you’ve been awarded the contract.

Everything you do and everything you create is a reflection of the attention to detail, professionalism and customer care your client can expect to receive.

My passion from day one has been writing tenders that generate big-dollar contracts. If you’d like to discuss your company’s tender strategy with me, get in touch today.

Blog: How to Become Tender Ready for 2020

Don’t forget about our closed Facebook page The Tender Hub learn more.

Or download my free Tender Cover Letter, to get you started.