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Thursday, 22 October 2009

Top 10 Tips: For successful tendering

by Matthew Worman, Bid & Tender Manager, Kinetic plc

1. Devise and implement a robust ‘tender workflow process’ and assign a Tender Manager to both project manage and monitor tenders from initial request through to creation and submission. A simple Gantt Chart is effective if a full project management system isn’t available.

2. Proactively establish and maintain an up to date hard and soft copy library of all professional documents, certificates and formal policies (e.g. insurance, accreditations, H & S, equal opportunities, audited accounts, etc) as copies will be required for most tenders and advance preparation will save much needed time.

3. Ensure that the individuals responsible for producing tenders continuously network with all internal departments to form strong relationships with key colleagues. This will ease and speed up the process of sourcing difficult to find and last minute information when required.

4. Assign relevant topical tender questions to recognised ‘experts’ within the organisation – a Tender Manager cannot be a master of all topics; knowing who to approach in the organisation for specific information is key. However, the Tender Manager must act as an ‘editor’ to ensure that responses mirror the tone of other sections.

5. Encourage the Tender Manager to maintain an awareness of key developments within the organisation, such as company news, financial results, sales success and award wins, etc as these topics can add value to tenders.

6. To aid tender response time and methodology, form an on-going indexed bank of standard answers and commentary for common topics, and organise these by subject area. It is useful to save such content in a ‘tender folder’ and set up hyperlinks from a spreadsheet index.

7. Use a successful tender as the basis and format for future ones. Utilise the appendix section of tenders, include case studies, testimonials and mobilisation plans, etc to strengthen the submission.

8. Fully relate the tender to the environment that the buyer is based in - don’t adopt a generic approach. Use relevant terminology to connect with their procurement team. Write in the third person tense, be concise and cover both features and benefits of the proposed service. Demonstrate current and historic success in the buyer’s sector by referring to appropriate supply experience and support this with key sales figures.

9. Proof read, proof read, proof read and ask two other people to do the same before producing the tender in the required format (printed in colour, on quality paper and professionally bound if a hard copy is required).

10. Seek feedback when unsuccessful and implement relevant changes with future tenders. As ever, price is a major determining factor for the buyer, so conduct competitor research and don’t lose out on this factor when other areas of the tender score highly.

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