We wanted to take this opportunity to talk more about what level of detail you put into your tender responses. Sometimes you may have to be guided by the word count, but where there are enough words, or perhaps no word count to stick to, we advocate going above and beyond with the level of detail in your tender answers.

You may be asked something along the lines of:

What is your solution and why are you recommending this solution?

Really break down this question and work out what they want to hear from you. We recommend:

  1. Write out in detail what your solution is and how it will meet their requirements. Make sure that you really detail that solution – what it is, what it does, how you will operationally manage it – in the context of how it will meet the buyer’s requirements/stated needs.
  2. Include what added value your solution may bring to the buying organisation, this is in addition to meeting their requirements e.g. is your solution also time saving, or cost saving, or does it have multiple uses?
  3. Outline your reasons for recommending this solution and make sure you back up the reasons you are recommending it, based on previous good examples of a similar application with another client or customer. If word count is tight you could link to case studies but if you do have the word count available a brief synopsis of where you have put this solution into practice before and what the outcome was will really reassure the buyer that you are committed to your offering and proving your credentials to them.

Other tender questions where bidders sometimes overlook going above any beyond could include when buyers ask for biographies/CVs to be provided for the people involved in the delivery of the contract. If you are asked for CVs then definitely include these in the appendices and signpost to them within your response. Also make sure to include a synopsis of that person and pick out some key points that are directly related to this tender. For example, you could include your team members’ involvement in launching the product or service you are specifying, or their personal experience or qualifications related to the subject of the tender e.g. their passion for environmentally friendly solutions or similar.

When preparing team CVs for a tender submission, we recommend adapting each CV so it isn’t a full personal CV, but details employees previous experience and qualifications and how that experience directly links to the contract you are tendering for and they work they will be doing on it. Also consider a standard layout and format of CVs, with your company branding and a headshot of the individuals.

A topic we see many tender questions upon is about Added Value and what you can bring to the contract. Really think outside of the box with this question – rather than regurgitating your company’s selling points, brainstorm with your colleagues some additional added value you could provide. For example, if the contract was for Website Design & Development, could you offer the organisation free training on website management basics, maybe a “how-to” guide to understanding search engine optimisation (SEO) and Google. Research the buying organisation and what matters to them, if they are environmentally conscious you could put in a scheme whereby for every year of the contract with them you support a cause of their choice with a donation. Or in the example of a Website Design Agency, you plant 100 trees for every new website you put live on behalf of your clients. All of these things are ‘nice to haves’ and we aren’t suggesting incur cost your business cannot afford to pay out, but there are numerous low-cost schemes or benefits you could offer that simply only take up your time to provide if you tender is successful.

Do you need to include a cover letter? Again, if there are tight restrictions on word count and what you are allowed to include within the submission, we would absolutely recommend that you include a personalised cover letter detailing your passion for the work you are bidding for. Perhaps include some key points within your submission that you think help you to stand out from the crowd, if you’ve been requested to submit numerous attachments, use this letter to signpost to key attachments or explain the file naming conventions you have used. Keep the cover letter professional and informative but with that personal touch. Remember it will not be scored (unless the instructions explicitly state otherwise), but it is an opportunity to create a good impression and to help the buyers navigate your full submission.

If you require any assistance or advice in preparing your business for tendering, please do contact us.

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