For many sectors, there is a whole world of competition when tendering for work. From construction projects to accountancy to marketing support, projects won via tendering can have a massive payoff, but can also prove complex.
Last week, our HR and Health & Safety experts Citation worked with us to take our network through how to ace their tendering applications - from safety and process improvements to acing the application.
Whether you've tendered for work but not seen the success you’d hoped for, or you’ve had some success and are now looking to go for bigger contracts, here are five ways to ensure you're putting your best foot forward when you tender for work.
Tendering: Identify the Right Contracts
Firstly, tendering takes up a huge amount of time and effort. As such, it’s important to make a tender as good and successful as it can possibly be. In many cases, businesses have a strategy in place and then ‘bolt on’ depending on the tender. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is worth revisiting those decisions and reviewing what might need updating - after all, things have changed significantly in the world in the last two years.
People are looking for more accreditation and certification, so have a think about the last time you reviewed your tendering strategy.
To ensure that you have a good chance of winning, it’s essential that you source contracts that are relevant to your business. Ask yourself if you have the right skill sets, capacity, and proven work experience that you could use as selling points in your application.
A large value tender can be very attractive, but you should be realistic about your chances of winning it. You need to consider what impact it would have on your business if you did win. Will you need to take on extra staff? Will you need additional facilities/equipment? And would you be able to maintain these extra resources once the contract was completed?
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Express Your Interest
Showing an Expression of Interest (EOI) lets the buyer know that you are interested in submitting a bid and doing business with them. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can get started on getting your policies together so that you’re in the best place possible to produce a high-quality bid.
Important to note - expressing interest doesn’t mean that you’re under any obligation to process! You always have the option of opting out later.
A PQQ is a document that you have to fill in at the beginning of the tendering process and typically requires someone to include things like confirmation that you meet the minimum standards required for the project.
You will need to make sure that you can give:
- A top-level description of your experience
- Your skills and resources
- Information on your Health and Safety policies and procedures
- Financial and insurance information
- Any certifications that you have in place
A PQQ is designed to let your potential customers know all about your business before they decide whether to formally invite you to bid for the process. The customer needs to know that you at least meet the minimum standards, have ISO certification when applicable and know of your business details.
An ISO certification is a really good way of having some kind of external endorsement, and that you are operating your business in a certain way to extremely high levels and standards. You may have heard of ISO 9001 for Quality Management System, for example. Many tenders will ask what ISO certification you may have, to the point that it’s almost becoming a prerequisite, and something businesses are expected to have, and we're seeing more and more that certification is being built into the tenders.
Health and Safety accreditation is also widely expected from businesses in the tendering requirements. Companies like to see that you’re taking Health and Safety seriously, and you’ve got the evidence to prove this in some form of accreditation.
Invitation to Tender
Following the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire, if your company is shortlisted, the buyer will produce a formal document which outlines the scope of the project to further assess what you can potentially offer if you win the contract.
The buyer will expect you to produce real evidence of your Health and Safety policies and procedures etc. You not only want to just meet the basic requirements, but you also want to demonstrate that you’re on the same page, you’ve got a similar ethos and you run an effective business.
You need to ensure that you are accurate in your application. It may sound common sense, but make sure to check spelling and punctuation. Use clear and easy to understand language, avoid using jargon.
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Common Mistakes When Tendering
We’ve rounded up some of the common mistakes when tendering and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: The Scatter-Gun Approach
Don’t go for everything that vaguely fits under your portfolio. It can be a massive waste to your team. You need to make sure you meet all the criteria. If someone is asking for ISO 9001, and there are 20 companies and have it and two that don’t, the two without will obviously be eliminated.
Mistake #2: Missing The Big Picture
It’s important to look at the bigger picture. Consider how the contract will interact with other relevant services and demonstrate this, visually or in detail.
Mistake #3: Not Going Above and Beyond
Go above and beyond. Don’t just state what you have, emphasise how you stand out. Make sure you’ve got a document library, including financial figures, insurance certifications and policies, testimonials and client lists, ISO certification etc. Make sure they’re ready to go.
If you’re wanting to win more business and drive efficiency, here are the key takeaways from this article that you can put into practice today.
- Ensure that you have the resources, capacity and experience to deliver the tender
- Do you need to consider outsourcing or use external professionals?
- Review your HR documentations to reflect any key changes to the way you’re now working
- Have a full set of up-to-date and compliant Health & Safety policy and procedure, including COVID-19 business continuity plan
- Make sure your application is accurate, and that spelling and grammar are correct
If you would like to learn more about how our partner, Citation, could help you, the please get in touch with the GO! team here.