Top Tips Copy

Tendering Top Tips

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.


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.

Scottish Public Procurement

The Quick Quote facility allows buyers to ask for quotes for low value/low risk procurement without the need to go through a full tendering process.

To be considered for a Quick Quote invitation, you need to register with Public Contracts Scotland as a supplier.  This is open to suppliers from all countries.

Pay particular attention to your keywords and your company description in the Supplier Finder profile.  The keywords are searchable by the buyer and will lead them to the description (which is not searchable).

Gaining Technical Input

Motivating subject matter experts to write responses can be tricky but it is essential to get their contribution.

You can make it easier for them by breaking the question into its constituent parts and simply capturing what is required.  Another option is to ask them to contribute verbally to an outline planning session.

Finally, you could link the value of their section to the contract value as a way of demonstrating the importance of the task.

Achieving Word Count

When trying to achieve a tight word count limit, it is false economy to cut narrative which explains the benefits of your solution or shows previous experience.

There is always a danger that you will end up with a generic, factual response which can only ever be marked as ‘average’.

You must balance the requirement for technical detail with the need to appeal to different reader types, all of whom can award you marks.

The 12 Days of Christmas

My colleague gave to me:

Twelve apostrophes that possess

Eleven proper hyphens

Ten unsplit infinitives

Nine Oxford commas

Eight proofread pages

Seven corrected typos

Six unneeded words deleted

Five style books!

Four participles that don’t dangle

Three grammar rules

Two subject/verb agreements

And the proper use of “I” versus “me.”

(credit Stern + Associates)

Singular Plural Tangle

We’ll begin with a box; the plural is boxes,

But the plural of ox is oxen, not oxes,

One fowl is a goose, and two are called geese,

Yet the plural of moose is never called meese.

You many find a lone mouse or a house full of mice,

But the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If I speak of a foot and you show me two feet,

And I give you a book, would a pair be a beek?

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say methern.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him;

But imagine the feminine…she, shis and shim!

(credit – anonymous)

English Pronunciation

Dearest creature in creation, study English pronunciation.

I will teach you in my verse, sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Suzy, busy, make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I!  Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard and heard, dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain, (mind the latter, how it’s written).

Now I surely will not plague you, with such words as plaque and ague.

But be careful how you speak: say break and steak, but bleak and streak;

Cloven, oven, how and low, script, receipt, poem and toe.

(credit Grammarly, Facebook)

Top Class Writing

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.

Proposal Training

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.

Tender Interview

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.