It can be frustrating to be asked slightly different versions of similar questions by different clients in different tenders.
While the temptation is to use a standard response which covers all aspects of a topic, you should approach each question as if it is the first time it has been written.
Ask yourself what has been requested, why it has been requested and what information you have to give before selecting the text you have which might be suitable.
Writing bids and tenders is a skill which does not come naturally to most people, particularly those who come from technical disciplines.
An in-house training course is a cost-effective way of improving the quality of bids and increasing win rates, without engaging additional resources.
Once trained, staff are confident and skilled at producing highly relevant responses in a time-efficient way. This also means more people are willing to contribute to the documents.
At interview, the client is looking for evidence of a cohesive team which will work together and not a group of individuals who are only interested in their own area of expertise.
When preparing for a tender interview, make sure everyone in the presentation team is familiar with all aspects of the tender document.
This approach will help the team to direct questions confidently among themselves. It also avoids one person’s answer conflicting with another person’s.
ISO certification such as 9001 (quality management), 14001 (environmental management) and 27001 (information security management) used to be seen as an added value item when tendering and gained additional marks.
As more companies gain these certificates, many clients now expect them and deduct marks from those which do not have them.
To maximise the impact of your ISO certification, describe the benefits that implementation of the various standards has brought to your clients.
Where a client asks for certain capabilities or qualifications, it is foolish to submit a response which lacks these.
If necessary, ask the client to confirm that they are essential and also make suggestions about alternative resources before submitting the document.
If this is not acceptable, consider outsourcing one or two elements of the work or engaging a consultant advisor as part of the project team to ensure you comply.
It is normal to include staff photographs on CVs which are submitted with bid, proposal and tender documents.
A good head and shoulders shot is all that is required but you should ensure these are up-to-date and look professional.
If you present an assortment of selfies and outdated images, the client will probably form an undesirable opinion about your delivery team.
Many people think they have been unfairly evaluated because they were not awarded high marks, despite being able to do the job.
Being able to do a job is not enough to score well. You must write down everything that is needed to convey the right information.
Analyse your responses critically and compare them to others before making a judgement.
Resist the temptation to include standard promotional text in proposals or to provide details of additional services which are available.
Your proposal should be tailored so that it focuses on the client, their project and their needs.
Any generic marketing material and sales statements are likely to be ignored or viewed in a negative light.
A flow chart is a great way to show potential clients the key stages in a complex process.
The flow chart should be clear and detailed yet not contain so much information that makes it difficult to digest.
Ensure you include all steps which are relevant to the contract such as feedback or continuous improvement.
This is not always the case as many evaluators are time-poor and others may have been drafted in at short notice.
Being aware of this will help avoid embarrassing the evaluators and allow you additional opportunities to highlight your key messages.
Clients often give clues about the level of detail they require in their ITT documents however many respondents miss them.
If questions include words such as “describe”, “explain” or “step-by-step”, you should write a descriptive response.
Where questions simply ask for “confirmation”, more concise answers are likely to be appropriate.
As you read the client’s questions, you should try to read between the lines to interpret their requirements.
Think about why they might be asking the questions, what they might be looking for and which elements of your service they would value.
By answering these questions you will formulate comprehensive and persuasive responses.