Over the years of writing hundreds of tender responses, tender consultants and bid writers come across all kinds of tenders. It may be an old tender response a client submitted without much success or a DIY attempt at writing one which has been sent to the consultant for review. There are a number of common mistakes an inexperienced tender writer usually makes, and here are the ones that most often cost them the contract:
Not introducing your business
Even if you’re the leading provider of the service in your industry, never assume that the people on the evaluating panel know about you. Yes, even if they’re a recurrent client and you’ve done a lot of work for them previously! Always treat each tender response as if it is your first introduction to the buyer, as the selection criteria mostly depend upon a point scoring system. By leaving important information about your company or business out of your tender, you are risking getting fewer points for the section, something that could end up costing you the contract.
Not demonstrating your experience with concrete examples
It is not enough to merely state that you did a certain thing for a certain company. While it is good to be able to provide prior experience, you need to elaborate on how you achieved what you achieved, what the initial problem was and how your solution helped solve your client’s problem. This will help set you apart as an expert in your field.
“Our talented engineers devised an innovative solution for XX company that helped solve their water recycling problem.” This statement is not enough to provide an evaluator an insight into how you work, what the innovative solution was or what the water recycling problem the client was originally facing was.
Most tender documents come with strict format, layout and word limits that you are required to adhere to. Because you only have a certain number of words to put your point across, it is best to stick to the question asked and avoid straying away from the matter at hand. This will also allow your evaluators to see that you have the ability to follow guidelines.
Copying and pasting information from previous tenders
Oftentimes, when filling out the company information section, companies tend to pick up a description of their services from any marketing information they may have lying around, or even from a previously submitted tender response. While it can be useful to have a template of answers for the most frequently asked questions in tenders, it is very important to read through what you’re copy-pasting and ensure that it matches the specifications of the buyer. As a buyer, it can be offputting having to read through a long list of the services a candidate provides when you’re only just after one service. When in doubt, always remember the KISS principle – Keep It Short and Simple.
Deviating from the required template or format
If a set format, layout or template has been provided for you to submit your answers in, follow it to a T. You may think that a different font type or size would look better, or that a question has been repeated twice and you’re tempted to just delete it or leave it blank, but deviating from the set format even the slightest signals to an evaluator that you’re not very good at following instructions. Many evaluators may even reject a proposal if it hasn’t been submitted in the specified format without even reading it for non-compliance, and that’s something no one wants!
Misunderstanding the requirements of a tender
We get it. Understanding the various terminology and jargon of the standard tender can be confusing. But that’s what the Q/A section of the tender is for! If you’re unsure about any part of the tender, it is always better to get in touch with the buyer and seek the answer rather than assuming the meaning and getting it wrong. But before writing to the buyer, ensure you have read through all the questions in the Q/A section to see if any other candidate has asked a similar question.
Letting errors slip through
Imagine you’re on the recruitment panel for a company and have a number of CVs to assess and shortlist. You come across a CV that is not only filled with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, but has also happened to spell the name of your company wrong. The CV is likely to find its way to your Deleted folder before you even read through the entire section. It leaves a bad impression on any client to receive a tender response from a candidate who hasn’t taken the time to proofread their work. It brings into question your attention to detail and dedication to your job.
These are the 7 most common mistakes tender consultants see small businesses make time and again. Get in touch with an expert tender consultant today to learn more about how to improve your tender responses and win more business.