But why? What were the reasons that made your bid better than the competition, or better than your previous efforts?
To ensure the win wasn’t just a one-off and can be repeated in future, there is a key analysis you should perform. To help, here is a list of reasons why that tender won.
1. You chose the right tender to apply for
Choosing which tender to expend valuable time and energy working on is key. If the skills and experience the buyer is looking for aren’t a match for your company then that will be evident in your response and you won’t be in with a chance of winning. However, choose a tender that fits your company’s capability well, regarding type of work, previous experience requested, location, policies required, pricing, contract value etc, and you’re part way there.
2. You understood the specification fully
It’s important to read all the tender documentation in its entirety and understand exactly what the buyer is looking for. The specification requirements need to be read carefully with each one ‘ticked off’ with a robust response from the business demonstrating your capability. There is always a process available to ask clarification questions of the buyer, whether by email or via an online portal. Questions asked by other bidders need to be reviewed as the buyer’s responses to those may aid your own understanding or even create the need for further clarification.
3. You gave yourself enough time to do it
Every aspect of crafting a bid takes time and in order to submit a winning tender, you need to allow yourself, and any other employees who may be helping, enough time to do so. Estimating the workload involved is key. It takes time to write compelling answers to the quality questions. It takes time to work out your pricing and fill in the pricing schedule. It takes time to make sure you have all the supporting evidence and documentation. It takes time to ensure that your policies and procedures are up to date. It takes time to keep on top of all the clarification questions and corresponding responses. It takes time to familiarise yourself with the relevant portal (if a portal is being used for tender submission) and time to ensure you understand how to submit the bid. The actual submission of the bid takes time too, especially if you must upload a large number of files. As you would imagine, some public sector portals can be notoriously slow at 11.59 on tender submission day.
4. You’ve refined how to answer the questions properly
Answering some of the questions in a tender can feel like an art form. For some questions you can be left wondering what exactly the buyer is asking for, but by reading the question, and re-reviewing the specification you can determine what they’re looking for. It’s important to always answer the question that has been asked, and not include spurious information. This is where your previous experience in applying for tenders comes in handy – particularly the feedback that you received on your answers, as the buyer should have explained what was missing from your answer, and/or the relative advantages of the winning bidder.
5. You answered all questions comprehensively and included exceptional information
In accordance with the evaluation criteria, it is usually not enough to simply answer the question posed to score maximum marks. You need to demonstrate added value, going over and above the specified requirement by including extra information or proposing extra services to really demonstrate to the buyer that this is your area of expertise and you’re the best company to perform the work. You need to persuade the buyer that they’ll be getting the best deal by awarding the tender to you.
6. Your pricing was appropriate
A full understanding of the pricing requirements of a tender is critical; always ask if there’s anything you’re unsure of. The price you submit with your tender is usually non-negotiable should you then win the tender, so it’s very important to get it right. You also need to balance a desire to submit a low price in order to win the tender with the need to make a profit on the work. Winning a tender by submitting a price that means you won’t make any money isn’t good for business and likely to be seen by the buyer as unsustainable for contract delivery. Understanding how your pricing relates to your competitors’ pricing can be key, and feeds into point 1, choosing the right tender. If you know that your prices are slightly higher than most of your competitors, trying to win a tender with a heavy weighting towards price might be a waste of time. But by choosing a tender with a larger weighting on quality and submitting appropriate pricing, you will have a better chance. Previous experience can play a part here too, as in point 4. Keep track of the pricing feedback from previous tenders – are you consistently higher priced than the winning bidder. Are you sometimes lower? Are you already submitting competitive prices but it’s your answers to the quality questions that are letting you down?
7. You demonstrated best value to the buying organisation
Everyone wants value for money and public sector organisations tendering for work are no different. Have you shown in your response that you are a fully capable company that can provide a service above and beyond that specified, at a competitive price? Have you proved that you can exceed the KPIs requested? Have you included social value initiatives? Showing that your business is giving back to the local community can gain valuable extra points.