Tenders can be an important source of new business for your organisation. But how do you make sure you stand out from the competition and win those contracts?
1. How do I find a Tender for my business?
Local Authorities are a great place to start for lower value contracts, with many of them having online portals you can register with.
For something a bit bigger, you might want to go direct to the government-run Contract Finder to find public sector contracts worth £10,000 or more in central government and contracts worth over £25,000 in the wider public sector.
There are also commercial companies out there that will amalgamate tender and contract opportunities for you, for a small subscription fee.
2. Getting a head start with tenders
Local Authorities and Chambers of Commerce often run events covering procurement processes and offer previews of upcoming work. These can be particularly useful when you are new to the tendering process because they provide a better understanding of what buyers are looking for and where they are going to publish their tenders.
This can be a great opportunity to make a memorable first impression too. Raising your visibility is valuable at this early stage because many councils operate an approved suppliers list, meaning that businesses on that list will often get first look at new contracts.
3. Completing the tender
Once you’ve found a tender to apply for, then the hard work starts. Remember:
Only use Case Studies, references and examples of work from relevant industries to the job you’re tendering for. This will make sure the buyer knows that you have experience that relates directly to them.
Make sure your spelling and grammar is faultless. You don’t want the procurer to get distracted by silly mistakes. Get somebody else to proof-read your tender once it’s written.
Structure your tender in an easy-to-understand-format. Most buyers will specify a structure, so make sure you follow it.
Use clear, easy-to-understand language without jargon. If you don’t offer a particular service, or your offering is likely to change, make sure you say so early on.
Complete the tender with care. Do your research. Alongside making sure you’ve read the requirements in detail this will show the procurer you have really taken the time to understand their needs.
Don’t just cut and paste some standard copy from a previous tender. This is your opportunity to sell yourself with real life examples specific to this tender application.
4. Which Accreditations can help you win tenders?
The vast majority of Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) ask for ISO 9001. By holding this certification, you can often increase your chances of achieving that all important ‘A*’ grade.
Companies without an ISO 9001 Certification in place often end up having to work twice as hard in the early stage of the bid, to prove that your processes are of equal calibre, and still end up with just a grade ‘B’.
ISO 9001 isn’t the only accreditation that is useful for tenders. You may also be asked for
We are seeing more and more points being awarded for organisations holding Environmental and Health & Safety certifications, driven by government initiatives from recent years.
5. What if I lose the Tender?
Quite often, your first few tender applications won’t win. It could be something small like missing off a signature or it could just be that the competition was much stronger. Either way it’s important to bear in mind that a win ratio of 1in 3 is often considered good – so don’t be disheartened if this is true for you too!
If you are looking to improve your applications, you can request feedback on your application to understand why you missed out.
There are also professional consultancies out there that can help you. QMS have recently partnered with Your Tender Team, who are a market-leading bid and tender writing firm, providing expert writing, editing, and support services to ambitious businesses looking to win tenders within their sectors.