How do you win a tender: 8 useful tips

By Daniil Filipenco

How do you win a tender: 8 useful tips

Most businesses will have to tender for a particular contract at some point – whether this is to develop a new relationship or to carry on working with a specific supplier. Tendering is the most popular method of obtaining work in both the public and commercial sectors.

Above all else, it entails rivalry whereby the winner is the most economically advantageous tender bidder selected to engage with the buyer on the contract via the tendering process. This is why everyone wants to stay ahead of the competition. Indeed, there are certain tips experts share that can shed some light on how to write winning bids.

1️⃣ Select the bid carefully

Only apply for tenders that you have more chances of winning. Tendering takes a certain amount of time and this time should be spent looking for the “best fits”. You might consider bidding on a contract with limited competition.

2️⃣ Read the tender documentation (more than once)

You must read the entire package of tender-related documents before you start to write the bid. The documents feature the precise specifications, contract scope, and the tendering procedure you should follow. How you organize your bid will be determined by the tendering procedure.

It is critical that you read the tender materials carefully. Moreover, it is important to go through them several times to ensure that you fully comprehend the project at hand.

3️⃣ Set up a dedicated team

Tendering is not a task for one person. Set up a team comprised of experts, coordinators and communicators, and think about bringing in consultants from outside.

4️⃣ Gather information early on

Maintain contact with the buyer and follow the indicated communication guidelines. If you require additional information, ask questions. Consider choosing a proactive approach to tendering by ensuring early engagement with the buyer but don’t be too pushy or informal. Before submitting your bid, you will be offered the opportunity to ask questions concerning the tender materials. This aspect is critical for making certain details in the documents clearer and being certain that all the information is accurate and well-phrased.

5️⃣ Get your tender response ready

It takes effort, time, and practice to write a tender response but it is key to increasing the chances of winning a tender.

Using diverse employees with varied skills is common practice in successful tenders. Thus, when you decide to respond to a tender, pay close attention to what is being requested and then make sure you deliver everything in the correct sequence and format and include all the required content. This will significantly improve your chances of succeeding.

  • Keep it straightforward and concise without any waffle.
      • Spelling is crucial. Double-check to ensure there are no errors and everything looks professional.
      • Consider using images that could clarify more complex ideas.
      • Avoid using jargon or slang.
  • Be sure to sign all the obligatory tender documents (Terms and Conditions, Declaration of Interests, etc.).
  • Choose the appropriate references. Ensure they are relevant to the task you’re bidding on.

6️⃣ Overnight trial

Prior to submitting your bid, carry out an overnight test. Stop working on your bid after you’ve reached the point where you believe it to be finished then go over it again the next day with a fresh pair of eyes. The point is that when you get tired, you tend to rush things, and therefore the chances of making mistakes considerably increase. In addition, people frequently see what they believe is written rather than what is actually written. As a result, spotting errors becomes challenging. The ability to identify mistakes increases after a thorough overnight break.

It is important to prepare ahead which in turn will prevent you from rushing your bid at the last minute and hoping for the best!

It is also critical to have an independent proofreader as an extra layer of quality assurance.

7️⃣ Tender response submission

After you’ve finished writing your tender response and your team has double-checked it, make sure you submit it before the deadline. If your tender is late (even by just a few minutes) it will be automatically disqualified and all that work you put in it will have been in vain.

8️⃣ After submitting the bid

You have submitted your bid and now it’s being analyzed. The contracting authority may ask you for an interview or a site visit in order to gain a better understanding of how you will meet the project’s criteria. Following this procedure, you will receive “an award decision notice” that will include one of two results.

1st result: You did not succeed.

There might be a variety of reasons for this. Always ask for a debriefing from the contracting authority in order to understand why you were unsuccessful and learn from your mistakes for the future. Constructive comments will make the following bid simpler.

You may consider challenging the award decision if you believe your company was treated unfairly during the tendering process.

2nd result: You were awarded the contract.

This is an outstanding achievement. Get ready for more meetings with the contracting authority as you prepare to start working on the project. Even if your tender was successful, you have the right to ask for feedback on your performance. Nobody gets perfect grades, and you can always learn new lessons for the future.

See also: Top 3 challenges in tender participation and solutions to overcome them | Post Webinar Release

Final word

Your bid begins the minute you engage with a potential client so make each email and phone call count, and address questions that will help you with your tender.

You can’t win every contract and it’s important to understand that. However, examining the tender and your competitors, writing a decent submission and offering reasonable pricing can increase your chances. Even if you don’t succeed, always seek feedback and analyze how the bid could have been improved then work towards those improvements.