Tendering is a fierce competition. How do you write bid content that wins?

Posted by Oliver Hogue on 15/11/2023

It doesn’t matter how concise and technically correct your proposal is. Only outstanding bids are likely to win. That’s the real challenge of writing a tender. How do you move beyond the mandatory criteria, to ace the game?

The tendering process is a competition, and a fierce one at that. Think of a football match. Both teams can worry opposition defences and show some fancy moves. Yet only one team scores the winning goal.

A process of elimination

You get through each round of the competition by going above and beyond minimum requirements. What does it take to survive the knock-out stage, reach the final, then score?

Getting to the start

Be sure you have a realistic chance of winning the bid. If you struggle to meet even one of the mandatory criteria, you’re not ready. This is about opportunity qualification and your bid/no-bid decision. Do you want to play?

Meeting the mandatory criteria

Every tender submission is expected to meet these essential benchmarks. This is compliance. The basic requirements needed to earn you a pass mark, getting you through to the next round.

Acing the comparative criteria

This is where competition really hots up. If you pass the mandatory stage, you are pitted against other smart tenderers, all hungry to win.

Your answers or deliverables will be evaluated - assessed and rated - according to a comprehensive system of scoring. This is your responsiveness. Each bid will be matched with the customer requirements, to see how closely and completely it meets the demands of the tender and the customer's needs.

If two or three bids all meet these demands, it goes down to the wire. This is where your unique selling point (USP), value proposition and innovative extras come into play.

Just in time to kick the definitive goal.

Getting it over the line

Look at it in three stages.

Stage one

  • Pay attention to bid structure.
  • Answer every question completely.
  • Cover all the necessary deliverables.
  • Use clear, simple language.
  • Fact check for technical accuracy.

Stage two

  • Align your solutions with project objectives.
  • Address and customer's hot buttons and issues.
  • Show how you manage project risks and challenges.
  • Present evidence to back up solutions.

Stage three

  • Demonstrate how your USP will enhance project outcomes.
  • Highlight areas of excellence/innovation not offered by competitors.
  • Point out how you can save money or provide a market-leading service.
  • Be persuasive, be compelling, be impossible to ignore!

How to blitz the opposition

When you know the do’s and don’ts of bid writing, you are well placed to succeed. It’s a question of understanding the customer's hot buttons, demonstrating your ability to address them, then adding unique extras to ensure you stand out from the competition.


Make sure your bid demonstrates outstanding value for the customer. No matter how good individual parts of your offering may be, the complete bid needs to present a compelling, cost-effective case – and a comprehensive solution for the customer's project demands.


Try to impress with industry jargon and buzzwords. The judges will be looking for clear, simple, easy-to-understand language. If your organisation is confident of meeting deliverables, let the facts speak for themselves. Those who dress up their bid in jargon may be seen as having something to hide or not much to offer.

Why be ‘acceptable’ or ‘good’ when you could be ‘excellent’? Talk to us about writing a winning bid. We know how!



Certified Bid Writer