tips  |  16 Aug 2021

10 steps to successful tendering

10 easy tips that will allow you to be expertly prepared when it comes time to bid on tenders.

staff discussing bid

If you have ever tried to apply for a tender, you know first-hand just how difficult it can be to understand Government requirements as well as how important it is to use the right language – not to mention the complexity of working your way through all the different tendering portals.  

Government departments want innovative, customer-oriented suppliers who stand out from the competition. Suppliers who are focussed entirely on providing solutions to their customers and delivering on their needs.

That's why we've created a basic guide to successful tendering with ten easy steps to follow to prepare your bid.

Before you start writing

Step 1 – Get all the documentation

Go to the tender notification website and download a copy of the applicable conditions of tendering and the evaluation criteria to have with you before you start writing.

Step 2 – Confirm the tender plan

Set tasks and timelines. This is essential in the tendering process as you will need to place other work on hold to find the time to prepare your bid. It is very easy to underestimate the amount of time it will take to prepare a bid that conforms to the criteria and one that gives you the best chance to a successful tendering work.

If you have more than one person working on a tender response, it is important everyone knows what they are accountable for delivering and the associated deadline.

At Bidio we’ve developed a special tool to manage the entire tender process: Manage Tender. Here you can shortlist tenders you wish to apply for and you are provided with steps and deadlines to guide you all the way through your tender response. This enables you to save precious time and ensures your submission stacks up against the evaluation criteria – and your competitors. 

Step 3 – Data collection

It is important you collect all the data that is requested in the tender and have it easily accessible. During the tender review phase, you should have a list of all the requirements in the tender including the additional information the Government department has requested you to provide with your response. These additional attachments could include:

  • Certificates, licences, accreditations, or evidence of qualifications
  • Table of contents or evidence of a management system (Quality, Work Health and Safety etc)
  • Audited financial statements or profit and loss statements

If this is your first-time tendering, be sure to set up appropriately titled folders in your company’s shared drive so your tendering information is always easily accessible. This way, you will always have the necessary documentation and right information at the ready for any future tenders you participate in - being organised will save you a lot of time.

Write a winning tender with Position, Persuasion & Price

To be successful when tendering you have to produce a compelling tender response, conforming to requirements and meeting the three P’s of positioning your business to stand out, persuading the tender evaluation committee and being competitive on price.

To achieve this, the following steps will guide you in producing a highly competitive tender that makes your business stand out from the rest.

Step 1 – Address the criteria

Address each criteria point as a heading in your response - or use a template if it is supplied by the department. This is usually called a Returnable Schedule.

Step 2 – Use simple English

Use simple English to ensure your tender is easily and clearly understood. It is best to avoid using too many technical and industry jargon terms. However, if the main tender document uses certain keywords, ensure to use these in your response. For example, if the words “value for money” or “quality assurance” are repeatedly used, be sure you use them wherever it is relevant. Another example is, if you are discussing your management systems, part of the value could be the fact your systems enable value for money and your business is continuously improving its processes through your quality management approach.

Step 3 – Provide relevant examples

Provide examples of how you have previously met the same criteria in similar jobs you have successfully completed. This is your opportunity to sell yourself. A written reference from a client will add additional weight to this. Make sure you identify areas within your response where you have specific and highly competitive expertise.

Step 4 – Communicate and ask for help 

You may come across certain response requirements which you don’t understand or are unclear. It is acceptable to ask a clarification question of the Government department. 

In the tender notification you received, there will be details of a tender contact. All questions will need to be addressed to the tender contact or as specified in the main tender document. The tender document will also advise when questions will no longer be accepted which is usually a few days before tender closing time. This is because answering questions goes out in the form of an Amendment or Addendum (see step 5). These responses can take some time to formulate and are communicated to the whole group of tenderers.

Step 5 – Track amendments to the tender

Keeping track of amendments is particularly important because this could change the way you respond to the tender. Government purchasers often amend the tender documentation during a tender period and call them Addenda or Amendments. These are usually issued because of clarification questions being asked by respondents.

You will need to ensure you know what they are and how to reference them in your response . In the returnable schedule document, there will typically be a section known as a “Addenda Acknowledgement” table. In this table you will list all the “Addenda” or “Amendments” issued throughout the tender period. This table is important because it satisfies the evaluation panel or committee that you have received, understood, and acknowledged any material changes to the tender scope.

Step 6 – Price

To ensure your price is in the ballpark to be competitive, it is vital you know who your competitors are, what they have won, and the value of that contract.  

With Bidio.ai, you can conduct a competitor analysis or industry spending analysis using our Focused Analysis Tool. For a quick view of the top competitor in your industry category you can also visit the Competitor Analysis Report and check who are the top competitors in your particular industry, what contracts they have won and the value of those awarded contracts. 

When finalising your price, don’t forget to consider any additional requirements and costs that may apply in some circumstances when supplying to Government, such as ongoing reporting requirements, and ensure that you have included these costs in your quote. 

Step 7 – Put it all together

At this point, you would have produced all the content required for your tender response. Now it is time to put it all together as a final draft, ready for a stringent internal and/or external review. The following tips are important to ensure you have produced a conforming tender response and made successful tendering efforts:

  • This is a good time to make sure you have understood how the Government department wants the tender response to be submitted. Tender responses often have multiple returnable schedules, and generally these are broken up into a pricing schedule and a non-price schedule. The reason for this is that price (or the way the purchaser is evaluating value for money) is treated separately to the other evaluation criteria.
  • If the tender response has asked you to include additional attachments with the response, check to see if they have asked you to label these in a certain way. Re-save your documents accordingly.
  • If labelling has not been specified, it is recommended to include all the attachments into one PDF document labelled “Associated Attachments”. Make sure this document includes page numbers and a table of contents. This will make it easy for the evaluation panel to review your response.

To get this right, go back through your tender response and wherever you reference an Associated Attachment, you can direct the evaluation panel to the appropriate section. For example, you could say something like:

 “For more information, please refer to our Profit and Loss statement on Pg. 7 of the Associated Attachments document”.

Once your tender response has been put together and checked over for conformance with the Government department’s requirements, it is ready for internal evaluation prior to submitting it by the due date.

Alternatively, you may use one of Bidio.ai’s tendering affiliate. For advice and recommendations, Bidio.ai uses Procure Spot Pty Ltd, a professional services consultancy firm with over 22 years of experience in Government procurement. Procure Spot is the industry experts in knowing what you need to prepare and submit a successful tender, for more information visit www.procurespot.com.au