The short answer is yes, almost certainly!
This knowledge is gold. Why do you spend time and effort cultivating relationships with potential buyers? So you can more deeply understand their needs so you can then propose solutions that meet and exceed them.
I’m often faced with the complaint from unsuccessful bidders that the buyer was always going to award the contract to the current supplier. More often than not there is no conspiracy. The reality is just that the incumbent knows more about the buyer than the other bidders and the quality of their submission reflects this.
The other thing to bear in mind here is how the questions are being scored. For top marks some scoring criteria ask for something like: “fully meets requirement” others might say something like “meets and exceeds requirement”. In this second example to score top marks you are explicitly being asked to go above and beyond the given specification! Even if it isn’t explicit like this you should always find a way to show how you will deliver value above and beyond what they are expecting.
Think about your overall proposal plan and work out the most appropriate places to include it. The winning bid is more often than not the one that demonstrates the biggest difference between value and price.
During my monthly webinars I get asked great questions like the one covered above. By sharing the most common questions on this blog, my hope is that I can help more people find the answers they are looking for.
If you have your own questions or are looking for specific help with your bid, please get in touch. Every week I help clients with their tendering, from bid writing to leading on bid responses. Use the details below to view the range of services we offer or to contact me directly.
Tel: 07384 818 704
Web: View our training and consultancy services
Web: View our upcoming and on demand webinars
Bridgeway receives The Queen‘s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development – 2017
In this case study we speak to Business Development Specialist Tom Foster to find out more about Bridgeway Consulting Ltd and their experience of using Tenders Direct.
Continue reading “Case Study: Bridgeway Consulting Ltd”
Looking to learn but too pushed for time? With our free webinars you can join us on your lunch break or watch previous recordings at your leisure. Lasting no longer than an hour, we cover a variety of topics relevant to suppliers. Our next live sessions explore different types of tenders, why they are important, and how to find and win them.
Finding and Winning Low Value Tenders – Tuesday 17th July 1.00pm – 1.45pm
Low value tenders can be of huge value to suppliers of any size, but are not subject to the full raft of regulatory requirements and can be difficult to find. This webinar provides:
- An explanation of what low value tenders are
- Advice on why they are useful for suppliers
- An explanation of how to access them
- An outline of what rules and regulations govern low value tenders
Book your place!
Frameworks and DPS – Wednesday 18th July 1.00pm – 2pm
The use of Frameworks and Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) is on the rise, but many suppliers are unsure of exactly what they are and how they work. This webinar provides:
- A description of what a framework is and how it operates
- A description of a DPS and how it differs from a framework
- An explanation of how to find these opportunities
- Examples of ‘call-off’ mini competitions from frameworks and DPS
Book your place!
View details of our full day training courses
In his poem Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day, Delmore Schwartz observed that “Time is the fire in which we burn”. Anyone familiar with tender submissions will probably have sympathy with this sentiment. After finding a promising contract, it can be quite a struggle to prepare a bid within a limited time-frame while staying on top of existing commitments.
Many suppliers tell us that racing to meet tight deadlines while wading through piles of bid documents only to be rebuffed after all their efforts makes them less inclined to bother bidding at all. This kind of “reactive tendering” can be both exhausting and futile, so what can you do differently?
Try giving yourself a head start by scoping out your targets in advance. Is there a particular buyer you’d like to contract for? If you can build even the most modest relationship with them you can gain useful intelligence about their specific needs and procurement strategy. When they go out to tender, this can help you make your bid as bespoke as possible.
Is there an existing contract that you missed out on or are now in a position to go for? If you establish when it is due for renewal and start your preparations months ahead, you’ll have much more time to perfect your pitch without feeling pressurised. This will leave competitors who only became aware of it when the tender notice was published rushing around while you calmly put the finishing touches on your submission.
Explore our free resources for suppliers
Learn how Advance Tender Alerts can give you a head start
Most of us are familiar with this quote widely attributed to Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” It transpires that there is no record of Mr Einstein saying this, but there is truth to it regardless.
Suppliers struggling to win public contracts should keep this maxim in mind when considering their next move. If your bid has been knocked back, it is crucial that you find out why and take corrective action. Where did you fall down? What were you unaware of? How can you improve?
We find that one of the more common missteps made by aspiring contractors after unsuccessful bids is failing to seek as much feedback as possible from buyers and not conducting a detailed assessment of what they could have done better. Instead of allowing your efforts to be wasted, why not use them to your advantage?
Once a contract is awarded, suppliers are entitled to feedback from buyers including a breakdown of their scores and the characteristics and advantages of the winning bid. Conducting a thorough review of your submission with the information available can provide a wealth of applicable knowledge about your strengths and weaknesses.
Persisting with the same stale strategy may not be insanity, but it is certainly not sensible. If you learn lessons, hone your skills, and adjust your approach, you’ll be a much more powerful presence in the next competition.
Click here to explore our free resources for suppliers
Click here to learn about our bid review service
One of the most common pieces of feedback we receive from subscribers trying to win their first public contract is that they are tired of being knocked back from promising opportunities, with many minded to give up entirely and focus their efforts exclusively on the private sector.
This is entirely understandable when time and resources are minimal and the workload involved in bidding so substantial, but companies in any industry need diverse revenue streams in order to prosper and grow. Winning your first tender is not so much about the here and now, but about the future: once you have your foot in the door, many more opportunities will open up to you.
In our experience, it pays to be pragmatic when selecting your target. Larger contracts are unlikely to be awarded to a supplier with no previous public sector experience, so below-threshold procurements should be your focus; they may not be worth millions, but winning just one can prove to be a vital stepping stone for any company aspiring to win large government contracts.
In other words, don’t try to run before you can walk. Be selective about your bids and focus on winning one of the more modest contracts in order to give yourself the best chance of success. Your first win allows you to demonstrate your capabilities and gain vital references, which will be invaluable when making your pitch for a larger and more lucrative contract.
Click here to explore our free resources for suppliers
A little heads up can go a long way in the world of public sector tendering. Suppliers usually rely on Prior Information Notices (PINs) to give them a heads up that a contract was soon to be out there to bid on.
PINs are a great way to prepare for a bid response, but the time a supplier has to prepare their bid off the back of a PIN can vary: some PINs can be live for as little as a month before the contract notice comes out.
The longer the supplier has, the better position they are in to make a successful bid. That’s why Tenders Direct has launched Advance Tender Alerts.
Advance Tender Alerts provide suppliers with notifications of tenders, related to their business, up to six months before they expire – covering both above and below threshold opportunities.
Continue reading “Tender Forecasting”
Low value tenders are those which aren’t published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) as they are below the EU threshold set at £122,976.
More information can be found about thresholds in our blog post, but what are the key benefits of low value tenders?
For SMEs and companies who have no experience of working in the public sector, low value tenders are a good starting point. Securing a few low value contracts allows smaller suppliers to build up a body of work that can help them go after high value OJEU notices in the future.
The five key benefits of low value tenders
Continue reading “Why we love low value tenders”
Unless you have been living under a railway bridge for the last 10 years, you will know that in 2010 the UK Government approved the plan to create High Speed 2 (HS2): a high speed railway from London to Manchester/Leeds.
Off the rails? Most definitely on. HS2 will shrink the travel time for many commuters and travellers between the cities in the Midlands and London, and for freight by improving lead times on deliveries, that in turn improves customer satisfaction (railtechnologymagazine.com).
HS2 will be one of the most ambitious projects undertaken in this country in recent years. The venture will create tens of thousands of jobs and generate billions of pounds worth of contract opportunities for suppliers in many fields. With 2026 the deadline date for HS2, what have we seen so far in terms of opportunities?
A tender has just been published looking for a supplier to provide them with 54 new high-speed trains along with maintenance, servicing and refurbishment for an initial 12-year period. This tender is worth £2.75 billion and has the option to be extended for the entire design life of the trains. Continue reading “High Speed 2 – A whole fleet of opportunities”
It’s Valentine’s Day. That time of year when people pay attention to the special connections they have in life and take a bit of time to celebrate them. Or maybe you are still looking for some special connections? Still searching for that one relationship with long term potential, stability and plenty of money…
Of course, here we’re talking about your business connections – specifically your connections with public sector buyers and tendering. With contract life spans of three years plus, 30 day payment terms and a high chance of you retaining a contract once you’ve won it once – what’s not to love? Continue reading “The tender matchmaker…”