Submitting a tender is about putting yourself in line to supply goods or services to another business, organisation or government body.
A tender answers the question, “Why are you the best match for this task?” Whether it’s supplying computers to a state school or building a road, you need to convince the tender issuer that you have the skills, experience and tools to do the job.
To do this you need to first understand what you do best and why. Do you have the best IT techs in the business? An intimate understanding of infrastructure projects?
Knowing your strengths is the first step to a winning tender submission. Let's explore this and other tender tips.
Identify who you are
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the answer to the question, ‘What can I do that no one else does?’ Your USP is the marketing statement that you use to sell your services and products. If you don’t have a USP, it’s time to get one – it’s why the market wants to connect with you rather than a competitor. Ideally, you have no competitors because you have created a niche market for yourself.
Once you have your USP and have done some soul-searching about your business identity, ask yourself if you qualify for the tender. Do you address its core requirements? Do you have the skillsets required or will you need to attach a consultant in a certain field to comply with the tender application? Finding your USP helps you answer these questions.
Detail your business reputation and skills
Tender submission readers pay lots of attention to the experience and skills of your staff, which is why it’s sometimes necessary to engage a consultant. But it's far better for your bid if you can show that you have a permanent member of your team with the necessary skillset, and that they have worked on similar projects. Are they recognised leaders in the industry? Presenting assessors with a dedicated team is important because it shows cohesion and collaboration skills are included in your offer.
Is your business an innovator in your field? Sometimes the tender request will ask for fresh thinking, for example new ways to improve the sustainability of a project.
Choose past examples that show your business adapting to changes in a situation. Adaptability is important when things go wrong. The tender issuer wants to know how you will respond in a crisis.
Demonstrate that you build relationships with your clients. This shows that you have a good reputation in the industry. Which clients can give references to show your track record of successful outcomes?
Show how you deliver outcomes
In terms of delivery, show you understand what the tender requires. Put those goals in context by focusing on delivery objectives and how will you achieve them. If you are providing construction services for a school, how will you achieve this without disrupting classes? What special considerations will be taken for student safety?
During the course of a project, how will you measure your performance? Think about milestones that you can include in the bid and indicate how you will meet each one. It could be as simple as providing completion dates for certain elements and what “completion” means in each case. Be as specific as possible, since attention to detail in your bid indicates how you will approach the tasks ahead.
Set yourself up for future bids
If this is your first tender, it's important to produce well-crafted staff profiles, equipment inventories and client testimonials. After the current process, these should be kept on file so the next tender team can draw on them. You may also have sourced documents for proof of industry and government standards compliance that can be filed away.
You now have a database of information, references and in-house strengths to use when preparing your next bid.
Finally, think positive! Even if you don't win the tender this time, going through the process clarifies your USP, strengths and weaknesses. In addition, you have put yourself on the customer’s radar. Next time you will be a known quantity with a much better concept of a winning tender.
A little outside assistance can also help. Contact us to find out how we can help you write your next tender.