Tender Triumph – 5 Strategies for Winning Bids
Do tenders overwhelm you? Are you wondering if they’re worth going for? Never think you’re out of the running to secure a lucrative tender opportunity being a small business – sometimes small and agile can play in your favour. But you’ll need to prove your capacity and capability to make sure you’re in with a chance.
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. KNOW WHAT’S AVAILABLE
Subscribe to a tender aggregator and set up alerts for industry keywords that are relevant to yours. You will be emailed when suitable opportunities arise. Sign up for free alerts from the Australian Government or the state government you operate in (links are here for QLD, VIC, NSW, TAS, SA, WA, NT, ACT). There are also many paid versions available, which can capture enterprise opportunities available outside government agency procurement. We personally use Australian Tenders which costs us $150/quarter.
2. READ EVERYTHING
Take the time to read every document before deciding if it’s a tender to go for or not. Tenders often come with a suite of documents outlining why they’re looking, what they’re looking for, the tender process, and more, and often there will be a lot more information in the supporting documents than the Request for Response.
3. ESTABLISH A TENDER TEAM
It’s pretty challenging to compile, write, and proofread a tender on your own so where you can, set up a tender team of 2-5 people. Review and brainstorm the tender together (highlight keywords, concepts and criteria to refer back to) and allocate responsibilities and timelines. You can reverse engineer from the close date to establish your own milestones.
4. WRITE GREAT COPY
When writing, the number one rule is to know your audience. Step into the shoes of the panellists assessing your tender application. A tip for writing with purpose (in this case, win a tender) is to inform,inspire, and influence.
- Inform using facts, anecdotes, case studies, statistics, results – first impressions count so put your best foot forward, but be clear and succinct. Pay attention to the elements of your business that will reassure them – security, information privacy, policies, procedures, processes etc.
- Inspire using case studies, expanding on your methodology, outlining KPIs or ways to measure – create a sense of opportunity and possibility.
- Influence comes through all of the above, plus great copywriting skills. Use the Rule of Three (a pattern of three words or ideas, like this list), active voice, and storytelling to take the reader on a journey from raising awareness of who you are to raising the roof for what you do!
5. COMPLY WITH CRITERIA
Meet word limits and deadlines and format your response according to their instruction. Don’t try to be overly creative if there’s no request for it. Most government tenders use online portals now use a system which helps judges read through the entries with consistency. If you are submitting a private tender, using a graphic design company, like Outsource2Us, can help you maintain brand consistency, and help you stand out from the competition.
Why stop at 5? I’ve added 2 bonus tips to complete the list:
1. **BONUS: ASK FOR FEEDBACK
Ask to receive the judge’s feedback so you can learn and adjust your response where necessary for your next submission.
2. **BONUS: OUTSOURCE2US
If you know you can deliver but don’t know how to communicate it, professional copywriting and design would be a wise investment. If you can afford to outsource a tender or two, you can repurpose that quality copy for future tenders (and awards and grants, too!), so it’s the gift that keeps on giving. If it’s not in your budget, see if they can train you to write and build your internal capabilities.
Written by: Jackie McRae – Director, Copy Cred
If you want more specific coaching or have a tender in mind you wish to be in the running for, reach out to Jackie at COPY CRED.
At COPY CRED, they don’t just take a brief and write. They consult, conceptualise, and craft communication programs that align with your commercial and communication goals.