You will often find, when looking at the evaluation criteria of a tender, that meaningful evidence and examples are needed in order to achieve the higher scores. Understanding how to include evidence is your responses is therefore of utmost importance.
Why is it important to include meaningful and relevant evidence in a tender response?
General statements within tender responses that don’t contain evidence expose the bidder to the risk of scoring low marks and ultimately losing the contract.
When preparing your response to a specific requirement, technical question or method statement, think about how your business is different to that of your competitors and how you want your response to stand out. Bidders often make the mistake of keeping their evidence short, thereby neglecting to include the more important elements. For example, when discussing the processes or procedures deployed or your approach to service delivery, don’t just pay lip service to them, go further and include details such as the following:
- where you used this approach, and to what effect
- who the client was
- what the client’s expectations were
- how you managed the client/their staff
- was there any conflict, if so how your company overcame and resolved it
- how many stakeholders you worked with
- over what time period this occurred
It is important to tell a story, albeit non-fictional!
Bidders sometimes assume that everyone on an evaluation panel is a subject matter expert, when often they are not. The panel typically consists of a subject matter expert (or two), an end user, and representation from procurement and/or finance. It is vitally important to ensure that your responses are meaningful, informative and that they inspire confidence in every member of the panel – not just those that are familiar with your industry.
Another area in which bidders often miss an opportunity is by merely stating ‘we are highly experienced in the provision of xx services”. This needs to be evidenced and quantified. In your response tell the panel:
- How you are experienced?
- What challenges and engagements you have been involved with that have informed your level of expertise?
- What was good about the projects you have worked on, what did your company learn from them?
- Did you implement or introduce innovation? Detail this.
In addition to the inclusion of relevant and meaningful evidence, the characteristics of a good tender include being:
- Free of significant errors and/or omissions
- Tailored to the exact requirements of the contract
- States what benefits you can bring to the buyer and their organisation
- Demonstrates commitment
- Shows you have put theory into practice
- Clearly written and legible
- Clearly committed to continuous improvement and best practice
- Clearly detailed in terms of possible variations and innovations (where relevant)
- Inclusive of added value (where relevant)
- Compiled in line with instructions
These are all things that a buyer and the wider evaluation panel want to know.
One of our pet hates as buyers was reading irrelevant sales information –a bidder’s total global sales for the last financial year is all well and good, but unless a buyer has specifically asked for it or it is relevant, don’t include it, it will not attract additional/higher marks.
Finally, remember, cut the waffle/sales pitch, but ensure you sell your company, its attributes, ethos and experience – particularly where it mirrors the buyers aims and objectives. A buyer, and the organisation for which they work, are looking to partner/contract with a company they believe in and who have inspired confidence, so evidencing an end-to-end linear process or approach with meaningful detail is key.