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Tendering Top Tips

Review and Approve

In terms of objectives, there is a difference between asking senior staff to review a tender and asking them to approve it.

‘Review’ implies that constructive feedback will be given, leading to content changes, while ‘approval’ relates to financial sign-off and risk evaluation.

A good bid manager will ensure each stage is allocated to the correct people, at the correct time.

Presentation

While it is important that a document is well presented and looks attractive, do not work on this aspect at the expense of producing strong content.

What you write must be compelling, address all parts of the client’s requirements and clearly describe the benefits of your offering.

Good content may partially offset poor presentation but the reverse is not true.

Methodology

When you are asked to describe your methodology in a bid, it can be tempting to provide extensive detail about your processes.

Remember, the evaluators may not all understand what you are delivering.

If you describe the benefits of your methodology as well as giving evidence of what it has achieved in the past, you are more likely to score highly.

Bid Process

A good bid process is easily understood by all staff and is adhered to in all departments.

It should capture the steps needed to take the bid from initiation through production and approval, on to the final wash-up and tracking.

As with all processes, it should be reviewed annually to ensure it is fit-for-purpose and revised if necessary.

Paragraphs

Good use of paragraphs will help improve the readability of your writing.

Remember that each paragraph should contain information about one topic; multiple topics will require multiple paragraphs.

The length of the paragraphs will vary but shorter ones tend to be easier to read than longer ones, particularly when they contain detailed information.

Compliant Case Studies

It is not always possible to meet all the requirements set by a client when presenting case study examples.

The client may request project examples which are similar in size, scope, duration, location or delivered by the same project team.

You need to make a considered judgement about the likely impact of the non-compliance to the client and then select the ‘best’ examples thereafter.

Project Management

Writing bids and tenders is time consuming and can be quite stressful.

If you project manage the process, you will reduce the likelihood of unwelcome surprises regarding availability of resources.

It helps to know how much time each task will take e.g. drafting a four page reply or reviewing a method statement, so that you can plan accordingly.

Structuring

If you are producing a proposal for which there is no given structure, spend time planning before you start writing.

You need to decide on the sections you will use, the order in which they will appear and the relative length of each.

These decisions will save a lot of restructuring time later on and will avoid any last-minute “this is key information but where do we put it?” debates.

Adapting CVs

It is sometimes necessary to create a CV which suits the client’s requirements for a role.

As an example, you may need an Account Manager but don’t have that role within your company so will have to adapt a CV from a Sales Manager.

Ensure their CV highlights all their relevant Account Management experience and does not just look like a Sales Manager’s CV with a different title.

Scoring Analysis

Before deciding to proceed with a tender, it is sensible to review the scoring criteria and think about the likely competitors.

Buyers often weight the scoring towards the areas they feel are most important.  This gives you valuable information which can link to your likelihood of success.

If you are not as strong as your competitors in a key area, decide whether you can balance this in other areas and if not, consider withdrawing.

Innovation

If you think of innovation as a new idea, device or method in this situation, you will find it easy to identify examples which can be written into a bid.

In the context of tendering, ‘new’ means not expected, or not the normal.  It does not have to be newly created or invented.

A good way of identifying innovative practices is to compare your method of operating with competitors’.  You can also introduce methods from other sectors.

Technical Compliance

/ Articles, Bid Process, Bid Strategy

The quality section of a bid usually includes areas such as methodology, H&S, sustainability, people, credentials and experience.

When writing these it is important that you make it non-generic, consider different reader types, describe benefits, include proof and ensure it is a pleasure to read as well as encompassing a win theme.

Above all though, you must ensure the response is technically compliant otherwise the bid will be rejected before it is evaluated.

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