How to win a tender – the procurement process explained

The procurement process can be lengthy and complex depending on the value of the contract and the requirements of the contracting authority. If you are reading this guide, we assume you already have experience in the procurement marketplace and are looking to gain further understanding of how to win tenders. Tracker Intelligence helps organisations in the UK and globally win tenders in a range of sectors through implementation of business intelligence tools which organisations can use to their advantage throughout the procurement process.

1. Find the contract that is right for your business

With thousands of public sector and private sector contracts published every day, it can be an extremely time-consuming process just finding a contract that your organisation may be interested in. Tracker’s Tender Alerts service sends you tenders that are relevant to what your business is looking for, straight to your inbox, every day. These daily alerts save your organisation valuable time and resource, maximising productivity. Simply open your emails and you will have all the contract notice information, including the project start date, requirements and where you can access the full tender documentation all there and ready to go.

2. Get the tender documentation

The Contract Notice will specify where you can access the tender documentation. Before you apply for a tender, you will need to read the full tender documentation. It will state the specific requirements, scope of the contract (for example, if they are placing an emphasis on environmental factors), and which tendering procedure is to be used. The tendering procedure will determine how you as a potential supplier structure your tender bid.

It is crucial that you read through the tender documents thoroughly and more than once to ensure that you understand the project that is involved. Pay attention to the evaluation criteria and weightings that will be used to score responses. Tracker’s Bid Manager tool will help you to do this efficiently, as it centralises all documents related to your tender into one place which you can access anytime and anywhere.

3. Engage early with the buyer and ask questions

Early engagement between buyer and supplier is crucial to enabling a proactive approach to tendering. In every tendering process you will be given the opportunity to submit questions about the tender documents before submitting your bid. Your questions and answers will be available for everyone to see (but published anonymously) to encourage a tendering process that is fair and equal for all parties involved. This stage of the process is hugely helpful to clarifying details in the documents, ensuring that all information is correct and phrased well. Making the most of this stage is vital, because your active contribution may help you win the tender.

Tracker specialises in early engagement strategies to increase your chances of tender success. By providing named contacts on thousands of contracts across the public and private sector, Tracker encourages direct communication between potential suppliers and the contracting authority outside the question and answers stage of the tendering process.

4. Prepare your tender response

Writing a tender response is a skill. It takes time, practice and perseverance. If you do it well, it can be your key to winning tender opportunities within a marketplace where prompt payment is guaranteed. Before you start writing, make sure you have allowed yourself enough time to research the buyer. The more you know about the client and their requirements, the better. Tracker’s Spend Analysis and Archive Data business intelligence tools will especially help you at this stage in the procurement process to analyse your competitors and gain a deeper understanding of the marketplace. In doing so, they will help you understand what the buyer is looking for and tailor your response around this.

Contracting authorities want the best possible outcome for their tenders, so it is in their best interests to help every supplier submit the most accurate and well-informed bids. It is worth noting that contracting authorities may have worked with some of the same suppliers for a long time, but these are not necessarily the suppliers that offer the best quality goods, works or services or the best value for money. Structure your response to show the benefits you can give the buyer by solving their problems, and where you can add value, for instance by including maintenance or support within the product package. As a supplier, focus your efforts on showing that you have the skills and experience to fulfil these requirements through evidence. Above all, make sure you meet all the buyer’s requirements as without that, your bid will instantly be rejected.

5. Submit your tender response

After you have written your tender response and it has been proof-read by multiple people, ensure your tender response is submitted before the deadline. If you submit it late, even by a few minutes, your tender will be automatically disqualified and all of your efforts will be wasted. If you did submit before the deadline, you’ll enter a waiting game until the contracting authority awards the contract.

6. After you’ve submitted the tender response – what happens next?

Congratulations on submitting your bid! Now your bid will be scored and evaluated. In some cases, the contracting authority will invite you for an interview or site visit, to get a clearer idea of how you will deliver the project requirements. After this process, you will be faced with one of two outcomes, known as ‘an award decision notice’.

Outcome 1: You weren’t successful

This happens, unfortunately. There can be a number of reasons why you weren’t successful. In order to understand why and learn from your mistakes for next time, always ask the contracting authority for a debrief. You are entitled to feedback of your performance throughout the procurement process, and it essential that you are given this.

If your organisation feels they were treated unfairly during the process, you can challenge the award decision.

Outcome 2: You won the contract

Congratulations! This is a great achievement. You will have further meetings with the contract authority to prepare for the commencement of work on the project. Remember, even when you succeed, you are entitled to feedback about your performance. No one scores full marks, and there are always lessons to learn for next time.

To increase your chances of success in the procurement process, find out more about how Tracker Intelligence’s business tools can help you win business in the procurement market. Request your free three-day trial today, with no credit card required.

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