Starting to submit tenders is often on the to-do list of SMEs. If this sounds like your business, here’s some advice to get you started.
Policies, processes and procedures
It’s a rare tender that doesn’t ask for evidence of your quality management processes, diversity and inclusion policy, risk management strategy and sustainability credentials. And, if it’s a government tender, there are likely to be more.
Ensure all policies have been written in the same business ‘voice’ for consistency and clarity. If you haven’t created these before, consider hiring a professional to create them for you. You’ll be able to tweak the same content for use in other tenders, so it’s an investment in business services that will pay for itself in no time.
If any of your processes or procedures give you the edge by making your product or service faster/better/cheaper/ than your competitors, don’t hesitate to bring these points to the fore throughout your responses.
Information on your key personnel will be asked for, so it’s a great idea to include a professional head-and-shoulders shot or a team photo. Keep an up-to-date record of your team members’ relevant skills and qualifications so you can highlight those of particular benefit in each tender.
And, if anyone on your team has won any business awards, industry-specific recognition or worked on similar recent projects, make sure to mention these important factors, too.
Proof you can deliver the goods
What an assessment panel wants to see is evidence that you have a successful track record. For instance, if you’re a courier company and your on-time delivery rate is a steady 96 per cent, then don’t be afraid to say so. Other statistics that can back up your claims are also useful, such as customer satisfaction rates and positive reviews.
Case studies and qualified testimonials are always an excellent way of proving your worth. They don’t need to be long, but they do need to be useful by pointing out the benefits of working with you. “ABC Couriers are excellent” is nice, but far more powerful is something like, “ABC Couriers’ willingness to work with me to meet a very tight schedule ensured I didn’t disappoint my customer”.
Other selling points
Think about other points that will appeal to the prospect. For example, if your warehouse is only 15 minutes away from the prospect’s premises, so you can easily drop in spare parts or whip up last-minute orders, point this out. Likewise, make mention of your connections with other local suppliers and businesses. These days, being part of a strong, reliable local network is considered to be a positive sign of a healthy business.