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Tips for writing tenders

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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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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

To bid or not to bid

It is tempting to pursue every bid that presents itself, but it can often be a false economy. As the resources involved in producing a worthy response are significant – and if your response is not up to standard – you could potentially do more damage to your brand, than if you decline to respond. This is why it is just as important to know when NOT to bid, as knowing when to bid. Ensure that your business can meet all the requirements requested in the tender before spending the time and money on your tender response. There is much to consider when making this decision. It is important to determine if it is worth responding to the tender, as the process can be time consuming and requires an investment of resources that cannot be recouped if there is no chance of winning the business.

It’s a go!

So, you have decided that you are going to submit a tender and are confident that you could easily meet the requirements of the contract. So how do you put a winning tender response together? A winning tender response needs to demonstrate experience and capability but also effectively communicate why your company should win the contract. Using simple strategies, you can sell your solution and get a winning result. It may take you longer, but it could be the difference between winning and losing.

Tips for Tendering

Attend Pre-Tender Walkthroughs

Attend all pre-tender meetings and walk throughs whether or not you have any questions. The pre-tender meeting can give you an idea of your competition and any special items not highlighted in the RFP. The question-and-answer session can open your eyes on significant issues in your favour or help you to decide whether you might not be ready to respond to that tender just yet. The pre-tender meeting can change your response’s focus so make sure you attend.

Address the Evaluation Criteria

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.

Demonstrate you understand what the tendering body want and need

When responding your response must demonstrate that you understand what the tendering body needs and you need to ensure that you match your solution to this. Consider their goals and any challenges they are facing in maintaining their operations. The evaluator wants to know what your offer gives them and the benefits to them if they choose your company. Your response must highlight your point of difference and that you are not just another business. Demonstrate that you’ve thought about the requirements and are willing to go above and beyond to ensure you can meet and exceed their expectations.

Writing to win

When writing a tender submission you should always write in the first person, for example ‘We are a leading writing company with over 10 years’ experience’. Do not use ‘I’ there is no ‘I’ in team! When making statements about your capabilities ensure that you can substantiate your statement. Whatever claims you make about your organisation – always provide evidence. If you don’t your submission will come across as puffery, and will not be taken seriously. Avoid using negative statements for example, ‘A schedule for the reporting and acquittal of funds will be included in the work plan to ensure regular monitoring and oversight.’ As proud as you are of the work you’re doing on other contracts, always try to ensure you get the maximum amount of relevant information across with the minimum number of words. This is an art, so do not be afraid to ask others to help with the wording. Check for inconsistencies in your response including spelling/grammar as well as i.e. number of years’ experience, number of offices and locations. Lastly, don’t ever assume that the evaluator knows your business or industry.

Substantiate your claims

Unsubstantiated claims stand out like a sore thumb in tenders. A statement such as ‘strong commitment to safety’ is meaningless without evidence to back it up – such as your safety record, HSE system or induction process. Sometimes all it takes is a sentence (and perhaps a reference to more information later on). But you can do much more than that to prove your worth – such as photos of specialised equipment or staff training sessions, scanned procedures or accreditations, staff training registers, customer testimonials and letters of support.

Your offer must provide value for money

Providing value for money is particularly important for government and council tenders. If you can show the evaluator how you’re willing to help them be more efficient or add more value, you’ll do well. 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. A lower price will not necessarily be better than value added outcomes, innovative service, increased efficiency or unique tools or systems. Any time you can deliver greater performance, reliability, safety or quality, or transfer benefits or knowledge to the purchaser, you’ll be improving your offer. Ensure you note any assumptions you have made when formulating your pricing, specifying the inclusion or exclusion of GST or any other variable costs.

Summarise the Essential Elements

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.

Supporting Documentation

Before you even consider submitting a tender response you must know that there are a number of supporting documents that most tenders request, including: Health and Safety Policies and Procedures, Quality Policies, Environmental Policies and Procedures, Corporate Governance and Customer Service Procedures just to name a few. Unless you have this in place you will not be short listed or considered for a contract. The good news is that Docuhub have already written these for you. We have created a suite of tender response templates and all your supporting documentation that are professionally written, meet legislative requirements and are quick and easy to customise.

The Bottom Line

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.