Competing for tenders is an excellent way to bring about new business, and with the right tender proposal, you can land a big contract that opens up all kinds of new possibilities for your company.
Unfortunately, tender proposals can be complex and time-consuming to put together. It can take extensive resources, knowledge and experience to submit a competitive proposal. And even then, due to the competitive nature of tendering, there is no guarantee that you will get a return on your investment.
Luckily, there are many tender writing tips and tricks that you can follow in order to reduce the time and energy that you spend on your next tender proposal. Keep reading to learn more!
Make smart decisions: Not all tenders are suitable for all companies. As tempting as it may be to submit a proposal for that enticing federal government construction project, your business may not have the resources or capital to be competitive. It’s important to be realistic and make smart decisions about the tenders that you choose to apply for.
Read the tender contract specification very carefully: With a pen and highlighter in hand, take time to read through the tender contract specification and make notes as you go. Highlight any key areas that you will need to pay attention to in your response and make sure that you are aware of the technical details such as submission deadline, formatting guidelines, attachments and word count.
Ask any clarifying questions: If something is unclear, don’t risk making an incorrect guess. Reach out to the organisation (well before the submission date) and raise queries in a polite manner. Doing so will demonstrate your professionalism and reduce the risk of making any silly and preventable errors.
Structure: Many applications will include a template for submission in the accompanying documents. In this situation, you must use this template to structure your submission; failure to do so could result in your application becoming void and at the very least, demonstrates to the client that you struggle to follow instructions — not ideal!
If you are free to structure your submission as you like, then ensure you make smart use of space, colour and font. Consider putting together a company template to use in situations such as this; doing so can streamline your response process for future applications.
Requisite details: Ensure that your submission contains all of the necessary information that the client requires in order to make an informed decision. These will likely be listed in the Request for Tender, and at the very least will include:
• Your ABN
• Company profile and capability statement
• The price for each product and service you are proposing and an explanation as to whether these are fixed or variable
• Any conditions affecting the price
• Whether you propose to subcontract
• Proposed schedule
• GST and other taxes
• Applicable insurances
• Intellectual property rights (if relevant)
• References (from a reliable source)
Regarding helpful tender writing tips in the preparatory stages, ensure you make a checklist of all the information that must be included and tick this off as you progress through the application.
Language: Use simple, plain language that acts to persuade the client of the suitability of your company. Steer clear of overly showy, ‘flowery’ language and make sure that your answers are comprehensive whilst adhering to designated word limits.
Visuals: Don’t be afraid to use graphs, charts and diagrams if you feel that they could aid your submission and communicate your point clearly.
Examples: Examples are a great way to show prior success and indicate the strength and experience that your team could bring to a project. Ensure that you include relevant examples of past work and if you are including the contact details of referees, make sure they are aware and happy to give a good recommendation!
Formatting can contribute greatly to the perceived professionalism of your company. A first impression is very important, which is why it pays to spend time formatting your tender application correctly.
If there is no required template, ensure that your submission is clear, structured and easy to follow. Clearly reference any question numbers and make sure all evidence is labelled correctly.
Pay attention to any specifications regarding file format and ensure you have followed all formatting instructions carefully.
Proofreading: Have someone with fresh eyes proofread the document before submission. It can be a great idea to hire the expertise of a professional for this step of the process, as they will be able to use their insider knowledge and experience to spot costly mistakes and areas of your submission that could be improved.
Deadline: Triple check the submission deadline date and aim to have your application finished a week earlier. Tendering can be complex and so you will want to have extra time up your sleeve to account for any unforeseen delays.
Alongside these tender writing tips, consider reaching out to a professional bid and tender management expert who will be able to provide situation-specific advice and point you in the right direction to landing your next big contract.