A winning bid isn’t just a replica of your company website or brochure with an attached price list. It’s a far more detailed document that goes into who you are, why your company can meet the criteria of the bid and yes – your pricing, More specifically how you structured your costs and why. Along with a little magic that we like to call persuasive bid writing, which you can find out more about here.
Before sitting down and hitting the keyboard, we’ve put together a handy checklist of actions you should consider so that the bidding process is as smooth as possible.
Preparation is key in winning tenders.
- The team
Make sure that everyone who needs to work on the tender bid with you is available for the timeframe allocated to meet the deadline. If people are away, or tied up on other projects, check to see what other options you have to create a winning team.
Make sure you have a complete version of the tender document and once in hand, distribute to all of the team members who will be working on this bid with you.
- Read and reread
Ensure everyone has read the document in its entirety at least twice if not more. Ask everyone to use sticky notes and highlighters to flag areas where they have additional questions, they notice something interesting or that they feel comfortable preparing.
- Questions to ask
Prepare a list of questions which are still grey areas for you and your team even after internal discussion. Send your questions to the organisation that issued the tender, or the relevant body. Try to do this only once and only if needed – so make sure you have collated everything in one go.
- Know your client
Make sure you take the time to research the organisation or company you are bidding to. This information should be shared with each person on the bidding team. Background like this is vital to preparing a tender that’s shaped to that company and not just a generic response.
- List the requirements
Build a comprehensive list of the requirements listed in the tender in a separate document. Try and make this list as detailed as possible, even breaking down into sub categories of deliverables. You should also include here the supporting documents they have requested copies of.
You will undoubtedly need to submit resumes of the team members who will be handling this proposal. Make sure each member is responsible for having their resume up to date and tick off the ones you’ve received.
- Past references / projects
It’s important to support your bid with documentation that includes references from previous (or existing) clients. You might also consider submitting case studies of successful projects you have worked on. Always make sure you have client approval of the exact information you include.
- Outline the proposal
Before you start writing, draw out the way you’re going to structure your document. This will help you understand how much work is involved and how it might look when all put together.
- Create a responsibility/time matrix
Each person working on the tender needs to know exactly what they have to deliver, in what format and by when. You should consider putting one person in charge for collecting this information. (Hint: Allow some lead time for yourself, should people be delayed in submitting their content to you)
- Keep your notes and workings
We’ve learned that it’s important to keep every scrap of paper with your workings or notes. This way you can refer back to them when putting your proposal together and should someone question a certain price or piece of information you’ve provided. Suggest that your team do the same.
- Check the financials
Check your pricing over and over until you are absolutely certain no basic or complex mistakes have been made. Price is often at the crux of what will win a bid, the last thing you want to do is have a glaringly obvious problem in your quote that the evaluators notice.
- Proof your work
We can’t stress this enough. Spelling mistakes, jumps in sections or content that is in the wrong place brings down the quality of your pitch. Check for the instructions on page margins, font sizes and so on. You should also make sure you have signed all the documentation as requested. Don’t let a missing signature put your hard-prepared proposal into the excluded pile. Have a look at this helpful guide on how to master writing a tender which you might find useful.
- What – Where – When
Check that you have followed all instructions to the letter. Whether it’s the number of copies they need of your bid or where you have to deliver to and by when. Leave nothing to chance. If your bid needs to be delivered to a specific person, make sure your envelope is clearly addressed and it’s handed in at the right location. If it’s via a web portal, ensure you have access in advance and you know how to work it.
- Keep records
You should always keep two copies of the same documentation that you delivered to the organization. Along with all the notes and files you used to prepare it. If your company is shortlisted, it’s likely the client will have additional questions that you need to be able to answer
promptly and easily.
As with all tender proposals, a structured approach ensures that you have left no stone unturned or more specifically, that no requirements have been overlooked before you make your submission.
Ultimately only one proposal will win each tender. How well thought out your approach and response is will determine if you are that winner. Our advice is take the time to do this properly. It does get easier with experience, but it never hurts to bookmark this article for a little refresh from time to time.
Are you itching for new avenues of growth for your business? TenderFinder is Malta’s first comprehensive tender database where you can easily search for tenders relevant to your business. Find out more.