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The public sector tender process simplified

A lot of companies are put off bidding in formal public sector tender processes due to the perceived huge amount of red tape and time involved. However, it may not be as difficult as you thought. We have put together a checklist which is designed to help our clients when they are considering taking the plunge. You may find it helpful to bear these in mind if you are planning on pursuing an opportunity:

Relevant contracts

Make sure you can deliver all requirements. If you do complete the tender documentation, complete everything in full, do what is asked of you and avoid sending stock corporate sales material and standard copy.

Follow instructions

Even before your bid is quality assessed, it can be disqualified. Ignore the word count or fail to complete any part of the tender and you can be removed from the process. If asked to complete the tender in a particular format, do not ignore that instruction.

Get help

If you do not have the time or experience, you can get help in completing your bid. There are experts who develop public sector responses as a profession (Bidbetter wins 3 out of 4 public sector bids that we assist our clients with).

Be honest

It’s amazing how many companies bidding for the same work all profess to be the industry leader. Do not include bold statements that cannot be backed up with the appropriate evidence.

Understand the difference between the PQQ and ITT phases

The PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire) is about selection criteria and short-listing, so the focus is backward-looking. Therefore, you need to demonstrate your credentials as a company before getting the chance to actually bid for the work on offer. Bidding for the actual work on offer is through an ITT (Invitation to Tender). These are forward-looking and focus on how you will seek to perform the contract.

Ask questions

If you are not offered supplier engagement activity or a pre-qualification event, this does not mean you cannot enter into dialogue with the buyer if you are unclear of any aspects of the tender. The tender will provide instructions for communication.

Add Creativity and Innovation

Add creativity to your bid. Understand the question and go beyond expectations. Show them you are capable and back this up with examples. Work out your unique selling point and make your response more relevant to the requirement.

Price appropriately

The public sector does not negotiate, so the price you bid within the tender is the price they will evaluate. If you do price at a point whereby your market intelligence suggests you will win, ensure that the price is sustainable for you.

Inform your references

It does not give a good impression if a public sector body contacts your nominated referees and they are either not aware they were listed or, even worse, give you a poor reference.

Submit the tender on time

Most public bodies have a zero-tolerance approach to late tenders. Plan your time methodically and allow time to upload the documents (I always recommend submitting a bid at least 24 hours prior to the deadline).

Introduce the correct people

If you are invited to undertake or receive a presentation, send the most appropriate representative from your company. They should be well versed in the requirement and in your company, and be presentable.

Approach your bid in a planned, methodical, energetic and thoughtful way. Follow instructions, stick to a strategy, take it seriously and you could be reaping the benefits.


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