Tender and bid best practice – knowing what to avoid

Whilst some companies are great at parts of the tender response process, very few, if any, are good at the complete end-to-end tendering process.

In our business, we see clients who are excellent at deciding Bid/No Bid, at developing a response strategy and show strong tender leadership, for example. Other clients excel at writing tender response content. But often, where a company is good at one thing, they fall down in other.

So, it is possible to have best practice across all elements of the bid or tender response process?

Well, it depends on what you mean by best practice. For some, getting the tender in on time is enough. For others, having every step well-honed, documented and streamlined is essential.

Whatever best practice means to you, it always starts with knowing what to avoid. It doesn’t matter if you responding to government tenders or to other types of tenders, if best practice tendering is something you’re pursuing, here’s what not to do:

· Deciding to submit a tender when tendering is not part of your company’s business strategy or when the tender you’re considering is not part of your business development strategy. If the organisation that’s issued the RFT is not in your target industry or sector, or doesn’t match your perfect persona, tendering is, very simply, a waste of time.

· Failing to work out a response strategy. When you’re uncertain about your offer (key selling messages), your tender won’t convince. Successful tenderers work out the response strategy early (that is, decide what their tender will articulate in terms of the offer, be it time or cost savings, expertise, track record etc). And they stick with the strategy.

· Writing poor responses to questions. Not answering the questions thoroughly and failing to point out the outcomes or benefits the recipient will gain will make your messages unclear.

· Forgetting to appoint a bid manager or tender leader to run the end-to-end tender response process. When you’ve got someone in place to manage the tender, there’s less risk of missing addenda, missing the deadline, or submitting a tender or bid riddled with errors and typos.

· Don’t appoint a bid manager or tender leader who has no authority. Putting a junior in place to lead the tender or bid will result in – well, not very much. Your tender leader needs to be appointed by management and have authority to make decisions, decide on strategy and chase up colleagues who’ve failed to deliver their contributions.

· Don’t let management, whether it’s the company CEO, MD or similar, decide to get involved two days before the deadline. If management starts deciding on changes at this late stage, they’ll cause excessive stress to their tender leader and team. If you’re in management, keep an eye on the tender progress and content earlier.

· Ignoring the important step of editing and proofreading. It’s not a luxury to have someone read through the entire tender response. They should be

skilled enough to pick up inconsistencies, errors, typos and grammatical mistakes. They’ll give you comfort that your tender or bid is the best it can be.

For help managing your tenders, contact Proof Communications on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216. We’ve been managing and writing tenders for over 20 years, so we’re bound to be able to help!

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