"When capability becomes commodity, competition becomes communication".
Think about that phrase for a moment and cast your mind back to those tenders that you have spent countless hours on, all for little or no return. If you've never done one, then you can use your imagination
This post is not about formatting documents, choosing nice pictures or great fonts. This is about thinking like the person on the other side of the table to demonstrate why they should want to choose you and your company to form an integral link in their supply chain. And remember, any chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.
So, to the bullet points!
1. Remember that your tender document is a sales tool
Don't ever forget it. Treat it like your one and only opportunity. Plan for it. Nurture it. Make sure it looks exactly how you would like it to. It should certainly talk to the benefits of engaging your business. Benefits, not features. I'll just say that one more time - Benefits - not features.
2. Looking for losers
If you are applying on a level playing field, then the panel of reviewers will be looking for losers in the early stages. Just like the hiring manager sifting CV's into 'Yes, No Maybe' piles, the tender evaluation team will subconsciously be falling back onto the negative dominance of the human psyche to push the less than favourable applicants to the wayside in order to focus on a shortlist of strong contenders. SO, don't let typo's, poor design and poor use of the beautiful gift of language push you out to the 'no' pile.
3. IF YOU HAVE A MANAGEMENT SYSTEM IN PLACE, SING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS
Yes that was supposed to be in caps. Many Government Tender application forms have a specific box to record if you have an established Quality, Safety or Environmental management system in place. This goes back to that supply chain - if you have one of these, it shows that a third party has verified that you are likely to manage your risk effectively as a link in the customer's chain. This is like gold dust. Furthermore, it should be carefully woven into your responses to other questions. If you don't have one, you can talk to us about what is involved in building one here
4. Be informative, but also succinct
World famous Jazz player Miles Davis once rightly said, "It's not the notes you play, it's the notes you don't play", as a formula for great music. Well, keep that in mind for your tender application too. Choose carefully what you want to include and organise it in a way that you would prefer to read it as if you only had the remainder of the day to finish it. Look at the picture below and decide which one you would prefer.
5. Seek first to understand, and then to be understood
That's one of Stephen Covey's 'Habits of highly effective people'. Before you start putting together what you think the evaluation team wants to see, read the tender request pack, line by line - and then take a short break before reading it again and making notes about the key requirements. Only then can you understand what you need to demonstrate to them in order to meet them. In reality, you should write your tender application as the final activity. Ensure that you address each requirement, don't stray from the topic and most importantly, only apply if you can meet the criteria.
Finally , win or lose, ensure that you gain feedback on why your application was successful or unsuccessful (If possible/appropriate). This is valuable information that will continually improve your business.
These 5 guidelines are just some of the considerations that go into standing out and winning time and time again. If you should wish to engage a professional to assist in tender preparation, or to review your submission, Peoplesafe's consultants have a breadth of experience on tender review panels and in preparing winning applications for companies across multiple sectors. Email or call us on 1300 155 605 today to open a discussion with us.