I’ve found an open tender that’s perfect for my business – so how do I write a winning response?

As a supplier, responding to a tender and earning a place on the buyer’s shortlist is certainly no easy feat, and RFTs and tender responses can vary hugely depending on the industry. While there’s no one-size-fits-all template for a successful bid, there are plenty of best-practise tools and techniques that may help improve your tender win-rate. 

Let’s take a look at some of our top tips for developing a winning bid.

Understand and focus on the Buyer’s needs

Before you even put pen to paper, you’ll need to make sure you’ve fully understood the challenges the Buyer is facing, and exactly what solutions they require. Download and read through all of the tender documents they’ve provided, and make sure you clarify anything you’re unsure of by asking questions, whether that’s in an online forum, or directly via phone or email.

Once you have an in-depth understanding of what’s really important to the Buyer, you can tailor your response to highlight the areas where your skills, experience and expertise line up perfectly with their requirements. Showing off with sales jargon won’t win the bid – you need to focus on what you can do for the buyer, and how working with your business will benefit their project. That way, they’ll understand it’s a true partnership you’re putting forward.

Position your business early

Realistically, a Buyer is more likely to award the contract to a business or brand they’re already familiar with. If you put some quality time into building a relationship with potential Buyers before the tender is even released, they’ll be more comfortable and familiar with your business and its position within the market.

Make sure you’ve done your research to understand both the Buyers and key competitors in your industry, and take any opportunity to strengthen your connection with the decision makers within Buyer organisations. Help familiarise them with your unique point of difference, and where your business is positioned relative to the other competitors in the market. Check out our blog on Positioning here.

Tell a persuasive story

Multiple competitors are likely bidding for the same tender, and want to win the contract just as badly as you do. Put yourself in the Buyer’s shoes and ask: why should they pick us?

Using persuasive writing techniques can help you create a narrative that stands out from the crowd, convincing the Buyer that your offer is superior to the rest. Create a connection to the cause by reiterating the issues to demonstrate your understanding, before detailing how your business can overcome those challenges. Tell a compelling story of the benefits your business will provide, highlighting the strengths that make you ideal for this particular job. Keep the language relatable, clear and concise to get maximum impact from your words.

For more about story telling in tender responses, read this blog written by our friends over at BidWrite.

Pitch your price as best value for money

While it may be a significant factor in evaluation, tenders aren’t won solely based on price, so the cheapest doesn’t always equal the best. Your pricing needs to be within the acceptable range the Buyer has in mind, but more importantly, it needs to match the value that your business has on offer. A high value tender with a cheap price tag will only leave the Buyer asking “what’s the catch?”.

Pricing competitively is less about low cost, and more about demonstrating the added value that you’ll bring to the table, and how your business goes above and beyond to improve efficiency and minimise risk. Give the Buyer a sense of confidence that they’re making an excellent financial investment when choosing to work with you. We talk more about competitive pricing in this earlier blog.

Be compliant – you have to be in to win

Compliance may not be what wins tenders, but without it, your response may be disqualified. You don’t want to lose based on a technicality, so make sure you meet every compliance requirement the Buyer has set, in order to stay in the game.

Answer every question, fill in every form, and provide every piece of evidence that’s requested. Check, double check, and triple check that you haven’t skipped any compulsory steps, dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Most importantly, submit your response on time! A tender that arrives even just a couple of minutes late will quickly be deemed non-compliant, and non-compliant bids may not even be read at all.

Don’t be afraid to invest in upskilling

Winning tenders is a hugely important part of your business, especially when it comes to growth, expansion and sustainability. Yet the individuals responsible for writing your responses may not have the most adequate skillset, and training opportunities in this area are often overlooked.

Remember, tendering is a lucrative and rewarding process, so you’re likely to get a great return on investment for any budget you allocate to upskilling your team. Take advantage of any opportunity to invest in yourself, your staff, and your company’s future, so you’ll become faster and more efficient at winning more tenders, more easily.

Tendering is tough, but winning a new contract makes it all worthwhile. Applying these strategies to your next tender response can make the process run smoother, and ultimately help you get straight to the shortlist more often. If you’re still looking for the right opportunity to tender in your industry, search our open tenders here.