Are You Ready to Tender? The bid writing process is just that, a process, and before we can get to work helping you write your winning bid, we need to gather all relevant information from you. Our Tender Readiness Check … Continue reading Are You Ready to Tender?
A formal tender will normally have strict rules to govern communication between the client and bidders. Yet it isn’t intended to be a totally arm’s length process. There are opportunities for bidders to influence the outcome and significantly improve their chances of success – without bending any rules or making your successful bid vulnerable to a challenge.
It’s simply a question of taking every opportunity that the process offers to build your relationship with the client, refine your proposition, and tune in to the real motivations behind the tender.
Most businesses fail with their first attempt at a formal tender. They needn’t, but they do. This prompts some to give up: ‘I tried it once, didn’t get anywhere, it’s a waste of time.’
This is a shame. Formal tenders are the route to larger contracts, repeat business, and the opportunity to earn more revenue while having fewer clients to manage.
One reason that businesses give up is that they fail to grasp the reasons for their failure. They console themselves with the notion that the result was a foregone conclusion, or that the winning bidder came in with a ‘giveaway’ price. This is rarely the reality.
Here are two of the main reasons that first attempt tenders fail:
It’s not unusual to receive an unclear RFQ. You find yourself having to interpret your client’s precise needs or struggling to understand exactly how different sections of the tender will be evaluated. At this point many businesses are unsure or what to do.
Some worry that asking for clarification might be seen as a sign that they don’t understand the client’s business or how to deliver the contract. Others might be concerned about irritating the client by implicitly criticising their RFQ writing capabilities.
Social value became a feature of public sector contract awards following the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act in 2013. It’s becoming an increasingly important factor that sometimes tips the balance between evenly matched bids.
It’s also an area where SMEs have many strengths they can play to. The challenge is to identify what those strengths are and present them persuasively in tender submissions.
Your first few formal tenders will be a steep learning curve. The detail required and the expectations of clients will be an order of magnitude higher than you’ve experienced before.
Even if you have excellent bid writing skills success is far from guaranteed.
Clients have to be less flexible and be seen to be even handed. They have a strict process that all bidders have to follow. It’s easy to get disqualified over a technicality even with a well written bid.
The government claims to have hit its target of 25% of government contracts going to SMEs by 2015. But how does it look on the ground? Is it really easier for small enterprises to win government contracts? What are the biggest obstacles between SMEs and success?
I’d like to share a few of the experiences we’ve had supporting SMEs to win significant public sector contracts. You might find these helpful if you’re planning to bid for opportunities or struggling to find a formula for success.
Some businesses approach the presentation stage of the tender process with trepidation; some see it as a procedural hurdle that has to be overcome; some believe it’s there to deliver the detail of their tender submission in a different format.
Smart businesses see it for what it really is: an opportunity to engage and inspire your client.
In this video, presentation skills coach Hugh Graham explains how to make the most of the precious time you get to spend in front of your clients.