Entrepreneur Insight: Picking the Perfect Tender

Posted on the 18 June 2019

Entrepreneur Insight: Picking the Perfect Tender

Tim Ward established Bid and Research Development in 2013 and has overseen the growth of the company to become the UK's leading bid writing consultancy. 

“How do you pick an opportunity which you have a good chance of winning?”

It's a burning question and one that we're asked a lot at Bid and Research. While we believe that picking the right opportunity in many cases is the first of five key steps to increasing your tendering success, we've decided to share some of our top practical tips for those hoping to win the perfect tender. 

1. Read the Questions

This might sound too simple, but before you even read the specification in detail read the questions. Look for trends, patterns and themes. For example, there may be a constant theme running throughout the questions such as:

Question 1. How will you deliver the contract and report against delivery? 

Question 2. How will you manage implementation and report progress? 

If there is something consistently highlighted, then you know to emphasise your expertise in this area to set yourself apart from the competition.

It's also worth looking for a question which really stands out. If every question is broad, but one question is very specific or highly technical then this is a red flag. 

2. Consider the Value

Recent regulations have removed the restriction on public sector organisations which restricted the value of contracts which can be awarded to SMEs. 

This previous legislation allowed public sector organisations to award contracts to companies worth up to 50% of their turnover (e.g. company with £100k turnover could win a 3 year contract worth a total of £150k).

Before you start drafting your bid, consider the size of your company and select realistic opportunities.

3. Remember to Focus

You are often better to focus all of your attention on one opportunity rather than lots of different ones. Just having a go is not an option. No one ever won a contract by just having a go because someone out there will be putting in a lot of time and effort.

4. Research the Service

Research the service and the current provider. It's amazing the news stories that can pop up of poor service or price increases or public complaints, and it's definitely worth 15 minutes of Google searching. 

If it is a regulated industry, reading external reports and audits often highlights strengths and weaknesses of the competition which is useful for developing your response by knowing your competitions offering. 

5. Don't Forget the Scores

Finally, look at the scoring breakdown. If this is a re-procurement of an existing service with 70% or more weighting on cost they are probably quite happy with their current provider and just want to cut financial costs. If 70% or more is based on quality they probably think the existing services isn’t too great so its probably one to go for. Typical weighting is 50/50 or 60/40 anything other than that may give you some clues.

Other factors should of course be considered such as deliverability and ability to achieve commercial success through delivery but that would be just stating the obvious.