Key steps to writing a tender proposal

The following are tender writing steps to remember if you about to write your first tender proposal or if you are an experienced tenderer:

1.   Read every page of the document

You may be thinking "I already know that" but this step is crucial, as a clear understanding of what the customer is looking for is important.  Key elements to focus on include: 

  • Tender Specifications: It will provide you with what the customer's key requirements are from the successful Supplier;
  • Contract terms: Each term creates obligation on both parties to follow, failure to do so could lead to legal action. Get legal advice if you are unsure on what the terms mean or how it affects your contractual responsibilities;
  • Tender response details: It's the how, what and when that customer wants you to provide  your tender proposal; 
  • Tender key criteria: Provides what are the mandatory/important criteria for the tender and guidance on how it will be evaluated.

2. Create a tender response plan

Highlight the document key points, and identify (where applicable) who you will collaborate with and/or team members you will task to assist with the tender response. Identify the submission date and create task due dates to ensure you have adequate time to complete tasks, review and refine any part of your tender response.

3. Tender templates are provided for a reason...use them

If there are templates provided make sure to use them and never leave blanks.  You may be required to submit in various formats (e.g. Excel, PDF, Word).

4. A clear and focused response

Your primary goal in participating in a tender event is to win by convincing the tender evaluation team that your proposal meets their requirements. So, make sure you submit a document that is logical, well organised and clearly demonstrates your ability to meet the customers' specifications.

5. How you write is very important

You have to write to a high standard and ensure you are presenting a capable and professional business. If you are not a confident writer then get someone who can. Remember make sure you give yourself enough time to review your responses and documents that you are going to submit. Understand your potential customer and use language that is clearly aligned to your customers requirements.

6. Consistent and professional standard

Review your document and have other people proof read your responses. It is important to be consistent in the formatting you use, and make sure your grammar and language highlight the professionalism of your business. 

7. Understand and provide all information requested

All tender processes will request various information from you, and in short provide what is being requested. Endeavour to respond to all questions, never leave a blank. Can't meet the requirement don't give up, reflect on work examples that demonstrate your ability to meet the requirement, and explain why you used that document or response.

If you are unsure about what is being asked communicate with the tender key contact person to get a clear understanding what is required.

8. Get supportive referees

Yes, I know another obvious suggestion but equally as important in your tender response. Contact referees who will give you a good report and make sure to gain permission to use them. Discuss your tender response with your referee so they are aware of what to expect.

9. Get that tender response in by the tender event closing date/time

Customers depending on the size of the tender will request your tender response be delivered in various ways including by mail and electronically. Make sure you allow enough time to review your response and deliver the proposal to the customer on time as most of the time late tender responses will not be accepted. Keep in mind time differences (e.g. daylight saving, etc) and technology sometimes has a habit of going down at the most inappropriate times.

Tagai Management Consultants is a dynamic management consultancy specialising in procurement, business development and community development services focused on empowering relationships and achieving results that meet and exceed our clients requirements in Australia and the Asia/Pacific region.  Get in contact with us today.