How to write a winning tender:

Many of these tips seem simple on the face of it, but following them can really make a difference to how you can write a winning tender. When the buyer scores your submission, you should be aiming for top marks, not average marks. Look at their scoring criteria and understand what the buyer is looking for to award the top scores. These all important scores and the way in which they are weighted make the difference between an average response and a winning tender.

1. When the SQ or ITT documentation is released, read it with a highlighter

  • Highlight key areas, this will help you identify points of importance that will inform the drafting of your responses
  • Are there topics that crop up a lot? Make a note of these, its important you cover them off in your response
  • Also, make sure you read it when it is released – DO NOT put it in your “in tray” for a week or two….

2. If you have questions on the content of the tender document, raise them with the buyer.

  •  It is better that you understand what they are saying and asking, rather than misinterpret their meaning
  • Are there any silly questions? No! If you have read the documentation thoroughly and your query remains, then it is a valid clarification to raise
  • Quite often bidders prefer not to raise clarifications, which results in their misunderstanding tender requirements and questions and so not answering them correctly
  • Be mindful of the tone of the clarification, if information is missing or unclear in their document, raising an aggressive clarification does not create a good impression – ensure questions are asking politely and professionally (do not expect phone call or personal email communication unless you have been advised otherwise, generally all questions need to be put through the tendering portal)

3. Put a timetable together for completing your tender response

  • This enables you to work back from the deadline and allow sufficient time for proof reading before submitting
  • It will also help you to organise any other supporting information or details you need to write your tender

4. Consider colleagues and team members who may be able to contribute to the responses with you

  • Do you have customer facing members of staff who can provide useful examples and evidence?
  • Are there employees with specific qualifications in H&S, Sustainability, First Aid etc. that may be able to help with any questions on these topics

5. Think about how you will make your response reader friendly?

  • Carefully consider how you are going to present the document
  • Are there page or word limits? Or restrictions on the fonts to be used?
  • Can you use images or screenshots? See our blog on including graphics in tender responses here

6. Provide good, relevant evidence and proof from your experience in delivering your product or service in each of your responses

  • Telling them that this is what you do is not enough. Provide facts, figures, and relevant details about your experiences with other customers
  • A cut and paste from your brochure or website is not enough to gain good marks
  • See the examples from our website Review & Analysis page

7. Always ensure that you are answering the question that they have asked

  • Use the information that the buyer provides in their introduction and specification to inform your response
  • Take into account their use of language
  • Also, pay regards to their aims and objectives in this tender process Read our handy blog on How to score higher in your tender submissions here

8. Ask yourself and your team, how through this process you are going to make it easy for the buyer to award the contract to your business?

  •  Consider theming your responses, using key areas of importance to the buying organisation
  • Think about how the document presents visually, is it easy to read and decipher? Can the use of fonts, colour, visuals, headings etc. help the buyer find key information in your responses?

9. Get a fresh pair of eyes to proof read your responses

  • Checking for good use of language and punctuation, readability, layout
  • How do the response documents present?
  • Do the responses flow well?
  • Do they keep the reader interested?
  • This is a service that we provide! See our Review & Analysis page

10. Prepare the submission of your response

  • Ensure all attachments and supporting information is included
  • For online submissions, have backup copies saved to a separate device
  • If your IT lets you down, the deadline won’t be extended
  • ALWAYS plan to submit a day or two IN ADVANCE of the deadline

Follow these top 10 tips and we are sure you can write a great tender. However if you are in any doubt please do get in touch, we would love to help you write a winning tender!

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