Writing a government tender is not for the faint hearted! They are time consuming, involve a lot of paperwork and the questions often seem repetitive. An enormous amount of paperwork in addition to answering the tender questions can put real stress on your available time and resources.
The upsides are great, though: having a government client looks great on your corporate CV, they pay promptly and once you’ve worked with one government agency or department, it stands you good stead for further government work.
So, what’s the secret to winning government tenders?
Well, there’s no secret – it takes organisation, discipline and time.
You could avoid doing it yourself by using expert tender writers to manage and write the tender response for you. The tender writers at Proof Communications know all there is to know about writing winning tenders.
1. Read everything carefully
If you decide to pursue the opportunity, read the Request for Tender or Request for Proposal carefully. It’s easy to be non-complying, so it’s crucial to make sure that you know what you have to do.
Responding to government tenders means doing everything that is asked. That means answering every question, completing all the schedules and attachments and signing all the paperwork, if requested.
2. Use the response schedules, if provided
Most government tenders include response schedules. You must complete these – your completion and submission of these is your tender.
If you go off piste and set up your own template or just type into a blank Word or Google Docs document, you’ll be knocked out of the running straightaway.
3. Answer every question precisely
It’s surprising how many people don’t answer the questions! Government tenders always include the assessment criteria and sometimes their weighting, so you can see what you need to focus on in your response. So it’s crucial to answer every question, even if you feel you are repeating content you’ve already provided. This is how the government will assess if you meet their criteria. Many tenderers fail to do this and wonder why they are never shortlisted or selected.
Companies also tend to reuse content they already have from previous tenders or brochures fit the question, and so their answers are not precise.
4. Keep to the point
Make your answers tight: keep them succinct and focused. A government representative recently told me that in the tenders he and his team review, 30% of the content is superfluous. That will put the procurement team that’s assessing your tender offside straightaway. So, keep to the point. Be precise.
5. Avoid too much cutting and pasting
Cutting and pasting from other documents, including tenders and proposals, is a great time saver, but it’s easy to make mistakes. For instance, it’s easy to copy over the name of the organisation to which you were previously tendering into your new tender. That looks sloppy.
It’s also really important to tailor your content for each specific tender.
6. Give comfort and assurance about your abilities
Government is spending tax payer money and has to be accountable. Government is usually risk adverse, too. So, you need to demonstrate your professionalism – that you have processes, procedures in place – that you are transparent and accountable. This gives comfort and assurance that you are a serious, professional business that understands the environment in which government operates. Likewise, they want to know you are financially viable, so expect to be asked for you last 3 years’ accounts.
7. What will taxpayers gain from your tender or proposal?
As mentioned, all levels of government are accountable. So you need to focus in your tender on what the outcomes will be for government and its stakeholders, which include us as taxpayers. What will government gain – and us by default – by choosing your solution? What are the benefits or advantages of your solution? Very simply, what’s your value proposition for your tender?
8. References are very important
Government will always conduct reference checks – another way of seeking comfort and assurance. So make sure your referees are recent, and will give you a good rap.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that your LinkedIn profiles and your website are up to date. The government procurement might check these out and you want them to be impressed with your professionalism.
9. Check it’s conforming
Before you submit your tender, make sure you have complied with everything. Factor in time for this. And get it in on time! When the tender is received, the government procurement team will review it to check it’s conforming. A massive 60% of tenders fail at this stage because they haven’t covered off all the requirements for submitting their government tender.
Understanding where to start, how to answer the questions and deal with the myriad of paperwork that comes with government tenders requires the expert skills and experience of Tender Writers. Over the past two decades, we’ve managed and written literally hundreds of successful tenders to government, helping companies to win millions of dollars in new business.
Whether you are responding to a government tender for the first time, or this is not your first rodeo, partnering with professional tender writers at Tender Writers can help you increase your opportunity for success. Get in touch or ring us on 02 8036 5532 to learn what we can do for your business.