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Tendering Top Tips

Tendering Top Tips

Celebrate Success

Producing a bid or tender can be very stressful and it usually involves significant effort from those involved.

A good time to reflect on this is immediately after the document has been submitted.

This timing allows you to recognise the successes rather than wait for a final outcome, which may be influenced by factors which are out of your control.


It is not usual to add figure or table numbers to graphics which are included in proposals.

Your graphics should be introduced in the text and simply given a strong title which describes its key features and benefits.

Figure and table numbering is normal in technical reports, where they are also shown alongside the table of contents.


Bid and tender software can be very valuable when compiling large documents with multiple contributors.

Most packages allow you to build a library of reusable material and will automate the notifications going to reviewers.

However the quality of the response still relies on individuals thinking about what to include and tailoring it to individual clients.

Lost on Price

If they lose a tender, the majority of people will tell you that they lost it due to the price.

While this is occasionally true, it is more likely that they failed to persuade the client that they would gain sufficient benefits to justify the price.

A client’s objective is to solve a problem, not to spend money, so there is usually scope to present persuasive text about the quality of your product or service alongside the commercial section.


Microsoft Word has excellent functions which allow you to see the readability scores of your tender responses.

These can be found in the “check document” option, once preferences have been set in “settings / options / proofing”.

In general, sentences should be kept as short as possible, using simple words and written in the active voice.


When a tender asks for CVs, the evaluators are likely to want a reasonably detailed narrative about each key person.

A CV should describe the person’s skills as well as their qualifications.  It should show their client-related achievements as well as the roles they have undertaken.

This information illustrates the person’s ability to perform well, not just their qualifications and availability.

Pricing Structure

Beware of providing too much detail in the commercial section of your proposal.

If you give a breakdown of the price, the buyer may try to haggle over hourly rates or deselect key parts of your service.

To avoid allowing them to negotiate on individual items, simply offer an overall price for the whole project.

Opening Sentence

The first sentence in each section of your bid should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read on.

To do this, work out “what” it is they want and “why” they want it.

This will show that you have been listening to their requirements and are not just trying to promote yourself to them.

Market Intelligence

It can be worthwhile monitoring public sector portals, even if you do not want to bid for the jobs.

You will find out which companies have been awarded contracts, allowing approaches to be made for partnership working.

It is also possible to gather market intelligence such as details about which technology areas are receiving funding.

Embedded Videos

There is no definitive answer to whether it is advisable to embed video clips in your tender or bid.

You should seek guidance from the individual buyer because there are differing views, even within the same industry sector.

If you do add clips ensure they are directly relevant to the response, as generic marketing material will never be seen in a positive light.

Between the Lines

Most invitation to tender documents describe the work scope but few comprehensively capture the client’s objectives.

It is very useful to find out why they are tendering the work and how the contract impacts on other parts of their business.

Once you know this, you can offer a solution that provides added value and has a targeted win theme.


It is worthwhile remembering that Latin is not widely used in many workplaces.

When writing tenders and bids, make the text easier to read and avoid potential misunderstanding by avoiding Latin words and abbreviations.

There are English alternatives to all the commonly used ones such as “per diem”, “quid pro quo”, “i.e.” and “e.g.”

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