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5 Ways to Tackle Common Challenges in Tender Writing

by | Sep 13, 2019 | Procurement and Contracting

5 Ways To Tackle Common Challenges in Tender Writing

Writing tenders can be an overwhelming task. Tender documents are confusing and complicated. Putting the response together takes up valuable time and resources, not to mention the stress. And how do you know if you have a chance?

Yet, with some substantial procurement opportunities up for grabs, it’s worth dedicating time and effort to getting your tenders right.

The good news is there are ways to overcome the common challenges to write a strong tender and increase your chances of success.

Here are top challenges and how to overcome them.

(Are you on the other side of the process? Join our short courses to how to write specifications and evaluate tenders and quotes) 

#1 You just want to give the client what they want – but what do they want? 

You can’t start writing your tender unless you know that you offer what your client wants. That’s why it’s critical to understand the tender request properly before you start.

Get your questions answered early, so they don’t hold up the process. Attend any tender information sessions offered and contact the tender coordinator to seek clarification on any requirements you’re unclear on.

Don’t make any assumptions during the tender process. Even if you’re the incumbent supplier, you shouldn’t assume that the tender evaluation team knows about your organisation and its capabilities. Tender teams can only evaluate what you submit in your written response.

#2 You don’t know how to format the tender.

The tenderer will probably be reading through lots of submissions. So, don’t give them reason to discard your tender by not following simple instructions.

The golden rule here is to follow all instructions to the letter. Use the response forms provided. If there aren’t any, use their request document as a guide. Place your answers clearly underneath each question and requirement – this ensures you are covering everything that’s being asked. Stick to word counts and page limits, and don’t alter styles unless really necessary.

The bottom line is, if you can’t follow simple tender instructions, the buyer’s confidence in your ability to do the job will be low.

#3 You struggle to demonstrate value for money.

One of the toughest challenges when writing a tender is proving value for money. Value for money (VfM) does not necessarily mean the lowest price. It takes into account the total cost of procurement from planning to disposal and everything in between.

To show that you offer value for money, you need to first understand the customers’ expectations. Consider the benefits to the customer, extending beyond financial aspects to social and environmental factors over the long term. 

#4 Submitting tenders takes up valuable time and resources.  

The solution here is to project manage the process. Yes, writing tenders takes up time, but it’s always worth it in the long run. And strong tenders are a result of great project management.

There are usually many pieces to the puzzle. So, have a tender checklist in place, allocate responsible authors, follow up key stakeholders and keep to deadlines. Challenge key stakeholders for more information if this means you will get a better response to each individual question.

#5 You want to add in other ideas, even though they aren’t requested in the request for tender.

The fastest way to lose a tender is to make it irrelevant. So, try not to include anything that hasn’t been asked for. The only exception to the rule is if you can see that the outcome of the project would be improved if a certain service was included. In this case, offer what is being asked for first, then add the additional solution with the extra cost for that particular service.

Over to you 

Writing tenders can be overwhelming, but with strong project management and attention to detail, you can ensure you stand out for the right reasons. Remember to use every tender process as a learning tool. If you don’t win, apply those lessons to the next one for a higher chance of success.

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