PROCUREMENT NEWS How to write a tender response that really wins

You’ve found a great opportunity for your business. You’ve got a product or service that can really deliver what the buyer needs. Everything is falling into place.

But you still need to write a tender response before you win the contract.

Putting together a tender proposal is tricky, and the truth is there’s no tried and tested template to follow each time you bid for a contract.

Every tender is different, and your tender response should be different too.

While there’s no perfect template, there are great tips that you can use to make sure that your tender response shows off what you can do and makes the buying authority really take notice.

With these tips from Tracker, we’ll ensure your proposal stands out and show you how to write a tender response that really wins.

1. Sell the benefit

The first thing you’ll want to do when writing your tender response is describe your product or service. You’ll list what it does, how much it costs and how long the project will take.

This is all crucial stuff, but there’s one thing missing:

The benefit.

While it’s absolutely fundamental to list the features of your product or service, you still need to sell the benefit of what you’re doing.

Do your research. Find out what the contracting authority really needs. What’s important to them? And, most importantly, what will they get from you that they won’t get from anyone else?

A tender response which not only outlines exactly what you can do but also explains exactly how the buyer will benefit from your product, service, your experience or expertise will stand head and shoulders above a proposal which just lists the facts.

2. Emphasise the impact

Tied to the idea of selling the benefit of your solution is this:

Focus on the impact your solution will have beyond the scope of the contract.

One area of tender writing which can be forgotten is examining the current market, relevant legislation or the social impact of the solution you’re offering.

For example:

In order to carry out the work required by the contract, your firm might need to hire additional staff to help deliver the project on time.

This means you’re creating jobs. It means your solution is having a real social impact in the community. You could be helping apprentices learn new skills or helping to boost local employment.

By describing exactly what additional, positive impact your solution will have on employment, the environment or the community, you stand a much better chance of winning the bid over a competitor which doesn’t think of this in their response.

3. Prove it!

Your company is the best at what you do, right?

Prove it.

It’s not enough to make an assertion, you need to go further. Back up what you’re saying with examples, statistics, awards you’ve won, charts, supporting information. Anything that proves that you can do what you say.

Don’t assume that the buyer will simply take your word for it. Even if you’ve worked with this authority before, don’t assume that they will remember the last time you won a contract with them or how well you performed.

Remind them and back it up every time.

4. Keep it personal

Never reply with a stock answer. It stands out like a sore thumb and, worse still, it looks lazy.

Always tailor your responses to this particular bid. Take the time to read the questions, answer them in full with this particular contracting authority in mind, then write, rewrite and write your response again.

Every tender is different and so is every buyer. If you aren’t sure what a particular question means, just ask! The more you know about the bid, the better placed you’ll be to answer the questions in the best possible light.

As well as this, if your company hasn’t been successful in its bid, this doesn’t need to be the end of the process.

If you feel you’ve been unfairly treated during the process, you can challenge the award decision. If you want more information about why your tender wasn’t successful, seek further clarification and information on the specification and learn from those who did win.

The Cabinet Office will provide you with best practice examples and information on why certain firms were selected over others. Use this information to your advantage next time around.

5. Go offline

It might sound crazy, but bear with us.

Online procurement is becoming more and more popular and for good reason. However, it can also make it really easy to introduce errors in your bids.

Completing your tender responses online means it’s easy to skip a step, miss out a page, submit the bid before you’ve completed the whole response and so on. It might sound unlikely, but it happens.

By taking the response offline first, it adds an extra security step. Complete the form offline then upload it in sequence, giving you a chance to double check everything.

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to proofread everything before you submit it. After all the hard work you’ve put in, giving a bad impression with a typo or bad grammar could ruin an otherwise winning tender.

Anything else?

Public sector procurement is a massive topic and we could spend days going through everything you need to know in order to really get your business ready to win.

Thankfully though, Tracker makes it easier than that.

With 30 years of experience in helping businesses grow, our industry expertise and knowledge is what sets us apart – and we want to share it with you.

Our learning library of articles and market reports will build your understanding of the procurement landscape and expand your industry knowledge.

Read our reports now

In addition, our Business Growth Programme is designed with one goal in mind: to help your business profit and grow with a fantastic range of additional tools and exclusive offers.

Whatever your business, Tracker is here to help

Jul 03, 2015.