Tendering for new business is a time consuming and complex process, but it is a necessary component for a successful business. A thoughtful and considered plan will ensure the tender process isn’t a stressful event.
To Bid or Not to Bid
A ‘bid or no bid’ matrix will assist in determining your chances of success. Some questions to include in the ‘bid or no bid’ analysis are:
- Is this opportunity a strategic fit with your organisation?
- Can you differentiate yourselves from the incumbent and other bidders?
- Do you have an existing relationship with the potential client?
- Can you complete the tender response by the submission due date?
- Do you have the resources to undertake the service or provide the product if you were to win the business?
Once you have determined that you will bid, you need to formulate a plan.
The first thing to do is establish a team and develop a strategy. Your success will hinge on your strategy so it’s important to get it right.
Establish roles and responsibilities within this team so you can divide the project in to sections and allocate key tasks to team members. Allocating tasks based on expertise ensures you are channelling the skill sets of your team to the most appropriate tasks. Develop a timeline for the tender team to work to and set up regular meetings to discuss progress.
The next step is to gather information. Firstly, tick off the mandatory criteria, then look at your relationship with the potential client, identify your strengths and weaknesses, identify your point of difference and value added services, identify conflicts of interest and understand your competitors. Without this background information your response will stall.
Responses are evaluated according to whether they succinctly and completely address the Evaluation Criteria. Extra narrative will only cloud the information that is most relevant. Incorporate elements of the question in the response and continually refer back to this, this will ensure you remain on topic. Always substantiate any claims you make, either through examples of your work or evidence such as statistics or references.
Be realistic with your pricing and ensure that it represents value for money. It is important to remember that the lowest price is not always the best offering or will result in a winning tender. Ensure you note any assumptions you have made when formulating your pricing, specifying the inclusion or exclusion of GST or any other variable costs.
To ensure you summarise all the essential elements of your response, make sure your Executive Summary is your final task. It should not be longer than two to three paragraphs and should provide an overview of your organisation, a summary of your offering, relevant experience, differentiators and your aspirations for the partnership between your organisation and the client.
Every tender is unique in its requirements, so organisation and planning is the key. Remember this and your odds of success will be greatly increased.