Did your Win Theme get bronze, silver or gold?

The client has a problem that it can’t solve itself. So it submits an invitation to tender (ITT) in order to discover the best available solution to that problem. In order to attract the client’s attention, a bid writer needs to have the most compelling solution to that problem, and that should all be encapsulated in the Win Theme which needs to run through the entire bid proposal.

Brainstorm the problem

If you are having trouble coming up with a win theme, consider the client. Is it a public sector tender or for a private company?

  • What does the client want?
  • Why do they want it?
  • What are the client’s priorities?
  • What are the client’s long term goals?
  • What worries the client?
  • What skills or products do I have that can answer those questions for the client?

Focus on the client

The client’s problem isn’t going to be solved by a detailed description of your company, its history and achievements, or even the quality of your general services. It needs a specific solution, which your bid writer’s win theme should address. Is there one primary focus – cost, regulatory compliance, innovation?

What can you offer the client that beats your competitors?

Make it the theme of your bid proposal

Once you’ve decided on a win theme, weave it through your document – not just the executive summary. Your bid writers should emphasise how your technical solutions reflect the theme. Highlight how your solution will allow the client to meet the goals you have identified.

If you or your bid writers are having trouble finding a compelling win theme, Win that Bid can help you find the answer!

Tender checklist – Reviewing you tender

Once you have written your tender the importance of reviewing it cannot be overstated.  Although you may feel sure that you have met all specifications these mistakes are among the most common reasons for bids being rejected.  Here is a checklist to help.

  • Be critical of what you have written, there is always room for improvement.
  • Make sure everything included is consistent.  When cutting and pasting text have any formatting changes arisen?
  • Have you used uniform and correct font, size and formatting throughout?  Does the style and order of your document meet with the requirements?
  • Seek written permission if you want to include any additional information about your company which is relevant and may help your bid.  Add these as appendices.
  • Number your paragraphs and ensure the accuracy of your contents page so everything can be easily located.
  • Create a front cover with the project title, date, name of organisation requesting the tender and the name of your own organisation.
  • Confirm that there are signatures wherever required, by the correct member of your company.
  • Once you feel sure that you have completed the document hand it to a colleague to check for spelling, punctuation, grammar and meaning
  • Consider getting the document professionally printed and bound if the client has requested it in hard copy.

Choosing the right opportunities for your business

Part of the art of tendering is choosing the right opportunities for your company.  The tendering process is used with the buyer in mind and not the supplier.  You need to make sure that you have the following in place and you also need to be confident that you can win the tender.  Your confidence needs to be based on reality which is backed up by your documentation and writing a compeling case with the buyer in mind.

Is my company big enough?

  • Buyers will be checking that the tender contract value does not exceed 20-30% of the tendering company’s turnover (NB this is a guide, not a rule)
  • This is because the buyer wants to be sure the contract value will not be too much for the company to handle
  • The size of your company dictates the maximum size of contract it is likely to win

Can my company meet the buyer’s needs?

  • You may look at a contract and think that your company can do most of the work but if there are areas that it cannot manage, your chances of qualifying or winning can be seriously reduced
  • This may be in terms of specification, geographical location/coverage, mandatory accreditations etc

Can I show relevant experience?

  • Buyers like to see that suppliers can prove they can do the job, therefore references from similar organisations for similar work are ideal
  • If you haven’t got these, you will need to show you have ‘transferable skills’ from customers with similar needs
  • If the work you are bidding for is not a ‘core competence’ (ie it represents only a small element of your company’s overall turnover) it can reduce your chances of success

Has my company got sufficient trading history?

  • As shown in the above Tender Documents Checklist, public sector buyers generally ask for audited accounts for the last 3 years (sometimes 2 years is enough)
  • This means that Start-Ups are not always in the best position to win bids

Has my company got sufficient resources, time & tendering expertise?

  • Tendering is time consuming – you will need to invest a lot of your time and resources to create a winning bid
  • Tendering can also be a daunting task – especially if you do not have the right skills or expertise.

What can I do?

  • Wait for the tender opportunity that is right for your company – it is a waste of time tendering for contracts that you are not going to win!
  • Continue to grow your company until it is better positioned to tender
  • Collaborate with another business that can complement your company and help minimise any of the ‘gaps’ mentioned above
  • Use consultants or other resources to help you through the tendering process

Fit to Tender Checklist – Getting Through the PQQ

Companies often ask us where to start in the whole process so we have put together a checklist of some of the key items you will need to look out for become commencing.

We feel it is very important that a company should strategically plan to take part in the tendering world as a long term vision and not as a quick win scheme.

Whatever level of tendering you are operating at, whether for public or private companies, the higher the contract value the more rigorous the process is.

Do you have sufficient understanding and capability to give credible answers to the following in any Expression of Interest, PQQ, Proposal or Tender?

  • Administrative information
  • Business probity and professional conduct
  • Economic and financial standing
  • Health and safety
  • Quality assurance
  • Technical capability (eg operations, specifications, manufacturing process)
  • Customer care & service levels
  • Equal opportunities
  • Environment
  • References

Do you have the following documentation in one place?

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Organisation / company / group structure chart
  • Audited accounts for the last 3 years (with a minimum of at least 2)
  • Certificate of Employer’s liability insurance
  • Certificate of Public liability insurance
  • Health and safety policy
  • Quality assurance policy
  • Equal opportunities policy
  • Environmental policy
  • Documents supporting technical capability
  • Accreditation documentation