Top tendering tips stage by stage

‘We are regularly asked to provide our top tendering tips. Often the questions come to us from different parts of the tendering process. We thought it would be helpful to list some of out top tendering tips stage by stage to help you through the tender bid process. So with that in mind here are the tips, stage by stage.

Pre-Tender Stage

Pre-tender work is equally as important as the during tender work itself. What do you need to consider at this stage? Consider the following:

  • Clearly identify the ideal opportunity you wish to go for – you’ll invest time effort and energy bidding so make sure you have a good feed to supply you with appropriate tenders from which to choose.
  • Market Testing gets you involved – Many local authorities do go to market to test ideas to see what the take up and interest there might be in a tender opportunity. If you find market testing opportunities in your sector, it might be good to get involved.
  • Know the buyer – do you really understand what the buyer is looking for? It’s really surprising but most bidders don’t. They know the title and content but have little concept of the context of the buyer’s needs. Take time to research and review before bidding.
  • Read the documents – Make sure you read the documents thoroughly. Is the opportunity for you or are you just shooting from the hip? To have a good chance of winning you need to fit the opportunity, focus on outcomes can you really deliver?

Tender Writing Stage

The next most important stage. This is where you scope up your response to the buyer’s questions, the point at which the answers you provide will mean a win or not.

  • Write down a list of requirements – Make sure you compile a good response requirements list. And we mean an exacting list that will not miss any items or skate over the top of things. Failure to comply will leave you stranded and out of the running.
  • How much time do you have – Generally bidders never leave sufficient time to respond, leaving everything to the last minute. We know because we are often engaged to complete a return with 5 / 7 days for completion.
  • Check the eligibility requirements – Most buyers will put in place some requirements and you need to check what these are before you start to respond. Don’t waste your time putting a response together only to find you don’t qualify.
  • Can you deliver the tender by yourself? – Understand the delivery requirements, have you got all of the skills in-house or do you need help to deliver.
  • Is there a specification? – some tenders will have a detailed specification. Make sure you know what they are so you understand fully the requirements. Read the specification, once, twice and even a third time to ensure you know the requirements.
  • Plan the tender preparation work – Never ever underestimate the resource implications of the tender. If you do you will either underestimate the resource requirements and fail to price high enough. Or, you may overestimate the resource required and price yourself out of the running.

Compliance questions

There will always be questions of compliance and due diligence. Tendering might be a risk for you but it’s also a bigger risk for the Public Sector. Understand that these kind of questions are not personal; compliance questions will always need to be asked. In the new Supplier Questionnaire, the questions are more or less standardised, some are a mandatory fail, some not, but do look at them carefully.  But check the following too:

  • If you can’t answer or provide in exactly the way that’s being asked, make sure you use the clarification question process and ask the buyer.
  • Read and respond to the questions fully – Always make sure you supply all the information being requested for every question. If in doubt, ask.

Technical Questions

Technical questions are an important aspect of any tender. These type of questions should be your strongest technical points. After all, you are responding to a tender to deliver core products or services, you need to be the expert. But:

  • Read the question – Answer the question, seems logical but many respondents do not answer the question. Respond with the correct answer not just what you want to say.
  • Don’t ignore questions – all questions requiring a response need a response and to ignore may not simply lose you a score for that question, but could lead to your tender being disqualified.
  • Give the customer what they want – Not what you want to provide.
  • Tailor your answer to the specific organisation – Write content for the buyer, try not to cut and paste. We have seen some awful copy and paste efforts, it’s not pretty.
  • Stick to any word limits – It becomes increasingly impossible to go beyond word or character limits on digital and portal responses but with a paper response you have to watch the word count.
  • Understand the evaluation and marking scheme – Put effort in across the whole response but if particular set or sub-set of questions is worth 20% of the marks it needs more work than one that has just 5%.
  • Write clearly and with meaning – Be clear and concise with your responses.
  • Honesty is the best policy – don’t make claims you’re not able to meet or give delivery times beyond your control. What you write in your response will hold up as part of the contract award. You have to be able to deliver what you said you would in your response.

Commercial / pricing / costing model

  • Be clear on your pricing model – State any assumptions you have made when pricing.
  • Make sure you price for all elements of the specification.
  • Ensure you have taken into account all elements of the bid
  • Be realistic with your pricing – scrutinise your costs. Get the price right first time every time, you don’t get a second chance.
  • Check your pricing – You may be too close to the pricing model, ask someone to check your figures before submission.

The above is a good list of top tendering tips, as with all of these type of lists we could go into much more depth. These are the regular difficulties we encounter when we do a desk check for clients. Check out other top tendering tips to provide even more help

Lastly, in addition to the BIZphit online resources, we also provide a full business consultancy service. We are experts who provide hands on practical help, either at your site or remotely. The content you see online demonstrates our expertise and our professional approach to doing things to a very high standard and helping clients to win more business. Happy Bidding!

© The BIZphit Tendering Team 2016

Categories: Fit to Tender, Tender Preperation, Tendering Tips

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