If you don’t fully understand the bidding process and what buyers are looking for, it will negatively impact your chances of success.
As humans, we tend to make assumptions based on what we experience, which means a trial-and-error approach to bidding could lead to poor decision-making. Of course, if you’ve won tenders, you might be able to identify what worked and then try to apply it in your next tender. But what about the contracts you didn’t win? Was it due to a wrong answer or simply because the competition was better suited? Unless you know what you’re doing, you might end up making assumptions that cost you work.
Companies can level their success rates in responding to RFPs by observing and acting on the guidelines below. We formulated a set of rules after talking to two of the Direct tendersthe best advisers of , Lukas Prince and Andrew Watson. Together, the duo bring decades of experience to the entire tendering process, having advised and guided many thousands of companies in their work to win larger public sector contracts and best quality.
Do the foreplay well
Companies that want to win contracts need to have processes in place to decide which are the best opportunities to pursue. These do not need to be very sophisticated but should cover essential questions such as:
- Is this invitation to tender in line with our commercial strategy?
- Do we have a realistic chance of winning the contract?
- Can we actually deliver what is requested?
This is called a Go/No Go assessment, and you can visit the Tenders Direct blog for a more complete list of questions.
Be generous with time
“There is a direct correlation between the time you spend on a tender and your chances of success,” Andrew said. “Given the contractual values […] it weighs heavily in your favor to spend more time on your auctions. It is worth spending two extra days working to increase [the] probability of winning a £500,000 contract, regardless of your pay rate of the person working there.
What we can take from this is that you should give each tender the time it deserves. Look for opportunities that have manageable deadlines and don’t rush bids just to get them on time – instead you can focus on finding other suitable contracts. If you want to see what difference it can make, enjoy a two-week free trial of Tenders Direct. You will be notified as soon as the relevant contracts are published and you will have the maximum possible time to submit an offer.
Some companies will be attracted to a particular tender “because of a networking event or an announcement online or on social media. And then they go for the lowest fruit in a way, but the scope of bidding may be too big for what they can actually offer,” Lucas told us. It is suggested that companies do their research, understand the market and bid on relevant opportunities.
There’s the problem that opportunities can be posted on hundreds of different sites, meaning many providers only see a small preview of what’s actually available. Tenders Direct brings together all public sector opportunities in the UK and makes them accessible in one place. With an overview of everything out there, you can be selective and opt for opportunities that are less competitive and more relevant to your business.
Quality, not quantity
It’s tempting, Watson and Princ said, to pursue as many public sector tenders as time allows. However, Lukas advised: “If your strategy is purely volume-based, the quality of your responses will suffer, unless you have great resources behind you. [you] in the organism. »
Your chances of success are greater with one strong offer than with several weak offers. If there are multiple tenders you could bid on, it’s worth doing your Go/No Go assessments and identifying the most suitable opportunities. This can help you prioritize and allocate the appropriate resources. Also worth noting is the value of industry expertise. A third-party advisory partner could offer support, allowing you to prepare several offers at the same time. This could be a great strategy if there are opportunities that are too good to pass up.
Make friends from the start
Suppose your company is unable to meet all the requirements or does not have the required credentials to bid. In this case, it is beneficial to identify areas where your business is lacking and set up partnerships with complementary businesses to submit joint bids – with the partner business taking responsibility for work that you could not provide solo .
There is also a good argument for simply outsourcing to large companies that have won major tenders. Rather than responding to RFPs far beyond your company’s capabilities, you can use contract award notices (CANs) to identify contract winners and approach them for subcontracting opportunities. This then allows you to develop the necessary track record with the public sector which you can later reference in your own offers.
Learn to communicate
“There’s an aspect of the tender response being two interconnected pieces,” Andrew said. “What is our real capacity to deliver? And how good are we at telling people we’re the right company for the job? You must answer positively to these two questions to win work. More often than not, companies are pretty good at delivering, but not very good at using RFPs to tell stories and really sell themselves. »
While some organizations feel they would be more successful if they could only get to the decision-making committee sooner, the fact is that written submissions require a special skill set. Fortunately, these skills can be learned. Writing great auction responses isn’t necessarily an art form, but it’s certainly a craft that can be tweaked and improved over time with the right input.
Most companies that send out notices of available opportunities are little more than an entity that sends emails to subscribers. Tenders Direct is different in that it offers a complete tender support solution that includes direct support to tender writers and tender managers. “We can be smart for you,” Lukas said. “We can review your current or past offerings and highlight areas where you can do better. It could just come down to how you structure your response and highlight your differentiators and USPs against your competition. Tender writing is a learned skill and with the right support, you can eventually set up a more efficient tendering process for submitting your future tender responses. »
Working with experienced bid writers will help hone existing skills and provide opportunities to learn new ones. Having an advisory and educational influence on submission teams can mean the difference between success and failure. Having helped governments and wider public sector buyers set up their procurement portals (Public Contracts Scotland, Supply2Wales, myTenders), Tenders Direct knows how to help businesses find and formulate winning bids.
“The past two years have been tough for all of us, and we want to help SMEs get into the public sector market and get jobs they may not have known existed.” Lucas said. “We hope these points will be useful and help people to improve their offers. I really recommend getting a two-week free trial of our platform. We are the UK’s most accurate tender alert service, and over these two weeks you receive full access to our service. This means that you can browse our database to learn more about the market, explore CANs and be informed of relevant contracts.
Ask Tenders Direct what options are available for your business, and get in touch with a representative to know more.