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Tendering Top Tips


/ Bid Strategy, Tendering Top Tips

Where a question asks you to describe a process, it is not enough just to give a generic list of steps.

As with all responses, you should make the description specific to the client or contract so they can easily see how it will work for them.

One way to do this is to write a brief paragraph explaining the benefits that your generic process will deliver.

Community Benefit

/ Bid Process, Tendering Top Tips

Community benefits are best described in terms of employment, training, supply chain and community engagement.

Wherever possible, make the activities quantifiable and describe how they will be measured and/or reported.

It is particularly effective to include evidence of community benefits delivered on previous similar projects.


It is important that you convey a positive tone in your bids and tenders.

As an example, instead of simply highlighting everything that is NOT included in your offer, try to find a way of being less negative.

You could insert a table of responsibilities showing the separate client and supplier activities.

Language and Tone

The words you use when writing a bid will result in a certain impression being created when it is read.

Factually identical statements can be expressed in different ways so select the one which meets your objective.

For example, will your telephone helpline “remain open until 8pm every night” or will it “close at 8pm every night”?

Generic or Specific

Providing a generic response to a tender question is quick and easy to produce however it will not score highly.

Customers want assurances that what you ‘normally’ provide will be appropriate for them.

Even though you may be using library material, it must be tailored to show you have considered the client and the project.

Displacing the Incumbant

When you are bidding against a company which currently holds a contract, it is easy to get disheartened as you think they have an advantage.

Remember that the incumbent’s weaknesses and pricing strategy are known by the client whereas yours are not.

Use this information to your advantage by showcasing areas which will be attractive to the client

Subject Matter Experts

/ Bid Process, Bid Team, Tendering Top Tips

There is no substitute for having people who know what they are talking about contribute to tenders.

While it can be tempting to allow busy technical people to get on with their ‘day job’ or ‘fee earning work’, it is a false economy to omit them from bid writing tasks.

Winning work is vital to any company’s future workload so the best people must always be involved.


Some tender documents appear to ask the same thing repeatedly, meaning you may think you need to write the same thing in multiple places.

While this is occasionally true, it is more likely that you have misinterpreted the buyer’s requirements.

Check the context within which the question is being asked and ensure you think laterally about different ways to respond.

Mirror Mirror

When deciding how to structure a proposal, try to make it as easy as possible for the evaluators to find the things they need.

You should resist the temptation to put the sections you find most interesting ahead of the less exciting ones.

If you stick to the order in which they ask for items and mirror their structure, you will increase the likelihood of them reading your responses in a positive frame of mind.

Objective Setting

/ Articles, Bid Process, Bid Strategy

When writing any business document, it is important to keep the objective in mind.

The objective is determined by considering who the readers will be, what level of knowledge they are likely to have and what impression you want to create.

With bids and proposals, your objective is to ensure all evaluators understand and believe your win theme.

Producing Graphics

An effective way to summarise a process or show an organisational structure in a tender is to use a graphical image.

Many people assume expensive software is needed, however you can easily produce high-impact graphics within your normal MS Office package.

Design your organisational chart or process flow diagram in Powerpoint and then use “paste special” to transfer it into Word.

Bid Tender Library

Time spent developing and maintaining your bid library will be repaid many times over.

If you have good file-copies of responses to typical questions, they will make it considerably quicker to produce a final answer.

Remember that you must still tailor the text to the individual contract and ensure that it answers all parts of the question.