5 Top tips for responding to tenders

  • Published on: 6 June 2016
  • By: Admin

It does feel that Social Media is currently being inundated with “Top Tips” and “Main Pitfalls” articles and blogs.

Unlike the “You won’t believe what happens next…” articles which are also invading social media, like an evacuation scene out of a 90’s disaster movie, these articles do actually hold some helpful tips. The issue I have is with these articles, is that the same top tips are being regurgitated and they are not all relevant to the changing environment of tenders and the OJEU regulations.

With the OJEU Public Contract Regulations changing back in February 2015 enforcing the use of the internet, majority of tenders are now electronic submission. A lot of the portals used for submissions, are structured responses with strict limitations on uploads and word counts.  So the top tips of recommending the use infographics to highlight key statistics and always include your professional produced sales brochures are as obsolete as a top loading VHS Player.

The top 5 tips which I believe apply to any bid or tender, despite the submission format are as follows:

1. Follow their structure
It is important to follow the specification of how to structure your response. There is often an urge of a bid team to produce an all singing and all dancing response document, but if the tender states “DO NOT ALTER THE ISSUED DOCUMENTATION” you have wasted valuable time.    It also shows you have taken the time to read the tender carefully and that you can follow instructions.

2. Address the questions
When requesting information from Subject Matter Experts (SME) the responses can tend to go off at a tangent, either being far too technical, or becoming a sales pitch. But if the question is asking if next day delivery is possible for Inverness, ensure that is the only point your response addresses. The assessor does not want to read filler responses. If the question is an ‘open’ question, ensure you answer it fully and sufficiently, not too little and certainly not too much. 

3. Make sure each paragraph is about them
The ideal way to begin each paragraph is with a strong statement about how you will help your prospective client and their own business. Tell them what’s in it for them in a compelling and relevant way.

4. Give an example after each point
Every tender the assessor reads, will be promising the prospective client the world. Ensure you can provide evidence to support your statements. It is a basic concept but it goes a long way in the assessor’s eyes. If the portal allows it always provide well referenced appendix.

5. Make no mistakes
Finally, ask a colleague or a professional to proofread your final draft to check for errors. Typos could be costly mistakes so make sure you take the time to review every word, check you’ve addressed all questions and met all of the prospect’s requirements.

For further information on responding to tenders please visit our Bid Response page

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