For the majority of B2B businesses, producing high quality tender documents offers a much better return on investment than general marketing collateral like brochure ware. Tenders talk directly to a qualified buyer. And there is no doubt that evaluators are influenced by the look and feel of a tender – the quality of your proposal sets a lasting impression in the industry and can infer a lot about your project delivery.
Aside from impactful content (which should be well written, jargon-free and consistent throughout the response), the layout and presentation plays a big part in the impression you leave. Graphics and diagrams should be coherent and use a tasteful colour palette that matches your brand.
Many companies invest in typesetting their tenders. While it looks great, it can be argued that it is only necessary in some industries. It can be a time consuming and expensive exercise; eating up valuable hours that could otherwise be invested in writing winning copy. An alternative is to have the overall layout and graphics developed by a graphic designer, and then develop your response in MS Word.
Many tenderers use the customer’s logo in their proposal, but remember that it can be trademarked or even copyrighted material. A customer with stringent brand guidelines does not like to see their logo bastardised on the front of a tenderer’s response. So consider your client and if in doubt, it is best not to use it.
Allocating budget for tendering is often done on an as needed basis, when an unexpected tender comes through the door that you don’t have the time to complete in-house. Planning for tendering expenditure in your annual budget will make it easier to invest in a quality response when the need arises.
So what should you include in your tendering budget? Consider using:
- Graphic designers for either the whole response or just graphical and layout elements
- Presentation folders and professionally printed tab dividers for paper copy submissions
- Your local print shop to print the document instead of printing in-house
- Professional document editors to give your response consistency; and
- Professional tender writers to put the polish on your content.
And don’t forget to invest in the proposal presentation, which is increasingly becoming a more important part of the tendering process – perhaps a presentation coach will help you leave a lasting impression?