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Trade Comment

Writing a Successful Tender

By bidding for high-profile work, you can increase revenue and get your name out there. Carys Evans asks: “What is the key to writing a successful tender?”

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Chris Martin, creative director, Tenders UK

Read, read, read again

First and foremost in terms of advice, read it, really read the things that have been asked. As a whole to understand whether to go for a tender and also to understand the questions that have been asked. That buyer has made a choice to ask those questions in those ways and it will show you something about what they’re interested in.

It’s very easy once you’ve been through a couple of tenders to decide: ‘Oh, this is a question about product quality, or shipping, or whatever it happens to be, I’ve got a shipping answer. I’ll put my shipping answer in’, but actually it is always more than that.

That particular buyer has asked a certain question in a certain way because that’s what matters to them

That particular buyer has asked a certain question in a certain way because that’s what matters to them and that’s what they want to know to in order to make a decision. So, absolutely read it so that you understand whether you can go for it, but also read it so you understand what they want from you in terms of the submission.

Again, this is where just getting an expert pair of eyes, as a sounding board more than anything else, very early on in the process can make a massive difference. If the commissioner gives you four weeks, six weeks or eight weeks to do this, it is because that is how long they think it will take, not because they think you can spend six weeks deciding whether to go for it and then knock it out in a weekend.

Make it count

David Hatmil, director, Tender Assist

Public Sector tendering is a wonderful mix of form filling and meeting deadlines.  It is often a time-consuming and frustrating procedure loved and un-loved in equal measures.  I have the pleasure of working with several companies both SMEs and larger organisations alike and heling them through this minefield.

Public sector organisations include: local authorities and councils, the NHS, education, housing associations, the emergency services, Ministry of Defence, government departments and charities.  They procure over £230bn annually in the UK which result in hundreds of contracts being issued daily.

Contract Notices are published daily on a myriad of web portals which allow prospective suppliers to register and start the process of bidding for a contract. The skill is to select opportunities that are a “perfect fit” for the business which means a mixture of relevant experience and the ability to deliver the services/products.

It is often a time- consuming and frustrating procedure loved and un-loved in equal measures

Having chosen carefully and registered an expression of interest, access is gained to a combination of Selection Questionnaires, Specification documents, Invitations to Tender and Terms and Conditions.

Key to starting down a successful route is to read these documents carefully and re-affirm that the bid is absolutely right for the business. Suppliers have typically three to four weeks to complete these documents and it is vital this time is used wisely and fully. Suffice to say, it is not sensible to leave completion until the eleventh hour.

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