Winning tenders isn't easy, but it's a skill we can all learn.

If you remember the acronym PCPC (position, comply, persuade, competitively price) you’ll have the perfect starting point for learning to survive out there in the tendering wilderness.

Last month we covered the importance of positioning as a basis for developing a more efficient bid/no-bid strategy. The next step is to make sure you’re dotting your ‘I’s and crossing your ‘T’s, showing your potential clients that you’ve got all the essentials nailed.

Tip #2: Compliance

Compliance won’t win you any tenders, but without it you’ll definitely be knocked out of the game early on.

So, what does a compliant bid look like?

  1. It answers all the questions: A good bid takes note of every little detail of the tender and shows that you’ve addressed and understand all of the client’s needs. It provides all the information required, in the format required.

    Too often our customer services team get asked, “How can I get past this compulsory question so that I can submit my bid?” The answer should be – you shouldn’t!
  2. It’s submitted on time: It’s not compliant if your bid arrives late, even if it’s only a minute, and in many cases it’ll go straight to the bin.
  3. It’s relevant: Take note of the key focus points, the language used and any x-factor components of the tender and attempt to match these with your bid.
  4. It’s clear and concise: Does your bid give the client an accurate and succinct picture of your organisation and your bid? Spend time refining it and cull unnecessary information.
  5. It meets industry standards: It almost goes without saying, but showing you meet all relevant standards and have an exceptional track record will help lay the foundations of trust that lead to future work.

Compliance is the most important in all of our four tips: if your bid doesn’t make it past the first check, which is - have all the compulsory questions been answered? - then the buyer won’t even look at the rest of your bid submission.

Don’t lose because of a technicality. Make sure you tick all the boxes, provide all the information requested and - most importantly - submit your bid on time to ensure you get shortlisted more often.

Tendering survival challenge:

It's important to treat bid compliance as seriously as the bid evaluators do. Focused practice helps, so try:

  • Find a tender, access the documentation and print it. It’s amazing what you miss when reading online. Ideally, the tender should be different to your normal line of business, so you don’t get caught out by your familiarity with the subject matter.
  • Read the documentation from cover to cover, making no mark-ups or notes at all. Just focus and read.
  • Read it again, this time highlighting every submission item that’s not negotiable. Closing dates, submission methods, required documentation, submission formats, site visits (if applicable) etc.
  • Write a checklist of every item, categorised if it helps. You can use this to double check your compliance prior to submission.

Standardising your compliance check processes ensures that you’ll leave nothing to chance. There’s nothing worse than spending a huge deal of time on your submission, only to discover that you missed a compliance item and that your bid has been disqualified.

Want to become a bid master?

Master the tender writing process and improve your win rate by attending a tender response workshop!

Want more tips like this?

Our Tendering Survival Guide provides a clear strategy to help you out-perform your competition.