No one starts out as an expert job writer. The requirements for tendering can vary widely, and it can take a lot of trial and error to identify what your business needs to include in your tenders – so it’s no wonder that many of you find that difficult. In a recent survey, we asked a sample of vendors what their biggest challenges were, and 18% of respondents told us that their lack of experience and ability to write offers was holding them back.
The 4 main challenges faced by inexperienced suppliers in 2021
Understand the terminology and requirements used in notices
If you’re not sure what the buyer is looking for, we have some helpful documents that can help. The first is our tender terminology document – it has all the terms you are likely to come across and what they mean. The other is our article called “What is a call for tenders?” – Here you will find details on the different types of tenders, and what is included in each.
If after doing some research you are still not sure, remember that you will be able to ask buyers questions during the clarification period. During this time, you can post anonymous questions and the buyer will provide a public response which will be made available to all other providers. There is no shame in asking questions, getting answers as early as possible ensures that you are spending your time developing an appropriate response. More often than not, the questions raised indicate a lack of detail rather than a lack of experience on your part.
Answer questions about social value
Social value plays a bigger role in public procurement, which means suppliers like you need to be able to identify the social, economic and environmental considerations you take into account. These may be internal processes that you have in place to benefit local communities, or they may be environmental benefits that will result from the award of work. We have launched a new training course designed to teach you how to score more points for these types of questions. See our training course page for upcoming dates and availability.
If you’re struggling to get work, you might benefit from just analyzing your bidding strategy and working to identify what might go wrong. In our articles “What criteria do buyers use to evaluate offers?” ” and ‘What are my chances of winning a tender? ”, We take a look at what buyers are measuring and give you thought-provoking questions to identify what needs your attention.
If you’ve tried similar exercises before, Tenders Direct’s training and consulting team is currently offering a free RFP readiness check. Simply fill out this contact form and we’ll get back to you to see what assistance you might need.
Not knowing where to start
Getting started is the trickiest part, but if you set up a good foundation, you can set yourself up for success. Your goal should be to explore bids for low value contracts first, as they have fewer restrictions and are easier to bid on than high value reviews – which often require 2-3 years of audited accounts. While there are fewer restrictions, you may be required to have a few months of bank statements, demonstrate your business’s ability to perform similar contracts, or have certain policies in place.
If any of these restrictions create a temporary obstacle, you can in the meantime consult the award notices and framework announcements, using them to find work with contract winners. This is a great strategy to familiarize yourself with the requirements of tenders and gain indirect experience working with the public sector.
If you don’t encounter any barriers to entry, our advice to get you started is to familiarize yourself with the market and plan your responses. You can start by looking at local tenders or reviews from other regions and familiarize yourself with the expectations and even try doing a trial offer to see what issues you run into.
Whether you make a practice offer or dive straight into the offer for actual work, planning is essential. You need to know what to expect and manage your time appropriately. We won’t go into the details of the planning here and instead will refer you to the 9-step RFP writing process – which details everything you need to consider before writing your offer.
How can Tenders Direct help you?
You will learn a lot by trial and error, but it can be a long process and could cost you opportunities that your business deserved to gain. If you prefer direct support from our experts instead, we can teach you everything you need to know to bid on contracts effectively.
Online Offer Writing Training Course
Our trainers have over 10 years of public procurement experience and will impart their knowledge through a range of hands-on exercises, group work and downloadable resources.
We can help you by reviewing your offers and indicating where you could make improvements. We can also help you formulate a bidding strategy that will make your proposal stand out.
Tenders Direct is the UK’s most accurate tender alert service. We are the only service that guarantees that with us you will never miss a tender.
For more information on how we can help you find and earn more work in the public sector, please visit www.tendersdirect.co.uk or call us on 0800 222 9009.