This informal CPD article on 5 Steps for Tender Success was provided by Lisa Raftery, CMOO for Orbidal, a tender management tool designed to simplify the tendering process for small business.
No one grows up with the dream of becoming a tender writer, but many people grow up with a dream of running a successful business of their own. Here are our tips on how you can combine the two!
In its simplest form, tendering is the process by which an organisation who is in need of good/services invites other parties to submit a proposal or bid to provide these goods/services. The organisation that publishes the request and needs the goods/services is called the Buyer, while the organisation that responds to the request and provides the goods/services is called the Supplier.
This article gives you an overview of 5 essential steps to be successful in tendering.
Step 1: Familiarise yourself with Tendering Jargon
Buyers, often with the best intentions, sometimes include terminologies that are quite difficult to understand. If you are new to public sector tendering, the first step would be to familiarise yourself with the jargon in the world of tendering. It can appear confusing, but once you get the basics, you’re off to a strong start.
Step 2: Find Opportunities
Now that you are familiar with the tendering jargon, you could proceed to find tendering opportunities in your industry based on the locations that you would be interested in. For instance, for UK tenders, Contracts Finder is the main portal, while for Irish tenders, you could check out eTenders. For all the European tenders, you may visit TED. It’s important that you have visibility on what contracts are published, by whom, and for how much.
Step 3: Qualify Opportunities
Create Bid/No-Bid criteria for your company to use as a decision support tool to tender, or not. Rigorously qualify each tender opportunity to focus solely on winnable opportunities. Tendering is a time-consuming affair and hence by learning to rightfully qualify tenders, you may end up saving a lot of time, effort and money. Understand if the opportunity fits with your overall business strategy, is it in the right market, is it economically viable for you to compete and importantly, if you win, can you actually deliver on the project.
Step 4: Tender Submission
Develop the core skills to produce best-in-class tender submissions, with a detailed tender plan, win strategy, writing and reviewing task-list and submission checklist. The proposal needs to be about the Buyer so put their needs at the centre of the Tender document. Explain why your solution is ‘fit for purpose’, with a bespoke response in the buyer’s language. Do not hold back and ensure you sell your key skills, expertise and experience which delivered past projects, similar to the buyers’ needs. Keep it short and simple with jargon-free language. Always assume that the evaluators know nothing about your goods/services. Last, but not least, proofread the proposal before submission to rectify any errors that might have slipped through the cracks.
Step 5: Post-Mortem
Tendering is a skill that you develop over a period of time. Learn from the mistakes made in the past, gain useful insights from your previous submissions to make informed decisions in the future. Use all the available feedback to improve your next Tender.
Competing for tenders should not be a reactive busines decision. Tendering can be a time consuming process, and the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful tender can often be the level of commitment and time that went into the response document.
In a time where face to face selling has virtually disappeared, and our conference and events diaries are empty, public sector tendering can be the perfect fit for your company to win new business – but it must be right for you!
We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Orbidal, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.