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Tendering Top Tips

Tendering Top Tips


Traditional written responses are still essential in many areas of bidding however there are times when a more innovative approach will be welcomed.

You could give a dynamic team presentation, invite the client to evaluate you ‘at work’ or submit video footage as part of the tender.

Think about the client and their working environment, then decide what format(s) to use.

Project Management

Good bid managers have many of the same traits as effective project managers.

They know how to set deadlines and adequately resource their project but they are also aware of other business demands.

While tendering does have a high strategic importance, it is sometimes necessary to juggle priorities and be flexible.

Section Headings

You will help the reader retain concentration if you use plenty of section headings and sub-headings in your document.

These titles can be used as little snippets of content to help the reader see what is coming next.

By encouraging them to keep reading and not just skimming, you are more likely to get your message across.

Winning Content

Your bid and tender documents should be designed to win and not just to be compliant otherwise the client’s selection will be made on price.

To structure a winning bid, you need to agree a win theme at the outset and then ensure all contributors weave it into their parts of the response.

A win theme is the compelling reason the client will award the work to you and not to your competitors.

Standard Templates

It can be very tempting to produce standard proposal templates and give staff rigid guidance about what to insert in each section.

While this can help with consistency, it does tend to lead to very generic proposals.

It is better for staff to understand what needs to be written so they can produce tailored material, all-be-it within a standard structure.

Presentation Interview

Increasingly, clients are evaluating potential suppliers during a presentation interview, rather than just by their written submission.

To prepare for interview you should think about the areas which are likely to concern the client and decide how to address them.

This will ensure you are ready to answer any difficult questions and can have relevant evidence to hand.

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.

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