Not planning your tenders in advance? Your competitors probably are!
Preparing a tender response is a time consuming, often high pressure task involving numerous content contributors. Timeframes are being increasingly compressed while documentation has become more complex. Tender questions have evolved from simple yes/no answers and straight forward company background and credentials, to being oriented towards process, risk management and problem-solving capability.
There are significant benefits in conducting an audit of Request for Tenders relevant to your sector (begin by either going back to your previous tender submissions or jump on to government tender sites and start collecting examples). Doing this will give you a general feel for the types of questions that are frequently asked so that you are better placed to assess your ‘tender readiness’.
Being tender ready means passing the minimum requirements before you even start – things like insurance cover, quality processes and specific policies and procedures are typical ‘mandatory requirements’ that most government expect of their suppliers. Given these are frequently asked questions, you should be able to prepare these in advance, freeing you up spend more time on developing your pitch strategy on future tenders.
Having a library of generic text or key messages around your capabilities, service offerings, pricing structure – and even case studies and testimonials – provides a solid base with which to work from with when tailoring one-off proposals and credentials. It can also evolve to become a highly useful knowledge centre where vital company information can be stored, updated and accessed.
Examples of generic text and/or subject areas which are most suited for a library of key messages include:
- Company history / background
- Management structure
- Case studies / Testimonials
- Supply chain / logistics
- Time management
- Quality Assurance
- Workplace Health & Safety
- Triple bottom line / corporate governance (including environment, social, financial)
- Value added services
- Product innovation
- CVs and biographies.
By appointing someone to be in charge of the developing and maintaining the content (and ensuring key messages are consistent) the quality and timeliness of your tender responses will improve. From personal experience having a resource such as a tender library also helps junior (or even new) personnel to become far more empowered and motivated to contribute to a tender if they have precedent information to get them started.
As your organisation grows and more personnel are involved in the business development process, having a library also gives you greater control over what messages are going out to the external market, thereby greatly reinforce your company’s core brand values and value proposition.