If you’ve ever written responses to government tenders you’ll know that they are a challenge. There’s a lot of paperwork to be completed, plus the actual request for tender questions to be answered.
And if you don’t win the tender after all the time and effort you’ve gone to, you’ll want to know why. Most government agencies will offer a debrief. Always take up the opportunity. They’ll be a few useful nuggets of information that you can use to improve your next government tender. But we can almost certainly guarantee that they’ll tell you that your government tender wasn’t successful for any (or all) of the following reasons:
1. You didn’t answer all the questions in the response schedules
Not answering all the questions in the response schedules is a very common reason why companies are unsuccessful with government tenders. The response schedules provided with government tenders can be lengthy and the questions can seem repetitive. It’s natural to think that if a question doesn’t directly apply to your business that you can answer it by inserting ‘N/A’. It’s also natural to think that inserting ‘please see response to question X above’ is sufficient to answer a question that seems similar to an earlier question. It’s not.
Every single question requires a response; if you don’t complete the response schedules in their entirety, your tender will be deemed non-compliant and you won’t make it through the first round assessment.
If a question doesn’t apply to your business, explain why. And if you think that a question is similar to an earlier question, copy the response from the earlier question and rewrite it. Make sure, though, that you are answering the specific question being asked.
A helpful tip to answering questions in government tenders is to use words from the question in your response. For example, if a question asks about your ‘capacity’ to deliver the project or contract, use the word ‘capacity’ in your response. A professional government tender writer can assist you by writing compelling tender responses for you.
2. You didn’t address the evaluation criteria
Every government request for tender sets out the evaluation criteria that will be used by the procurement team to assess your tender. The evaluation criteria are the key things that procurement are looking for in your tender response. The criteria usually comprise experience, value for money, methodology, cost, capacity and capability. The RFT will set out the weighting for each evaluation criteria so you can see which criteria is more important than another.
Think of the criteria as signposts to guide you when writing your government tender. The questions in the response schedules will usually address the evaluation criteria directly. But sometimes this is not the case. If the questions do not directly reflect the evaluation criteria, you must ensure that your tender response addresses each criterion. Do this in the part of the response schedule most relevant to each criterion.
To help you, bear in mind that the evaluation criterion with the biggest weighting is the most important factor for the government. Therefore, you should give the greatest emphasis to this in your tender response. For example, if the evaluation criteria shows that experience is the most important criteria by which your tender will be evaluated, be sure to present all your relevant experience.
3. Your government tender response was non-conforming
Government tender responses (and indeed all tender responses) must conform with the requirements of the request for tender.
When your tender undergoes a first pass by the government’s procurement team, they will check that it complies with all the requirements stated in the RFT. If you have not complied in any instance, your tender will be rejected immediately. There’s a useful saying in the world of tendering: compliance doesn’t help you win, it stops you from losing.
Making sure your government tenders are compliant is therefore crucial. Ensure that you have answered all the questions and provided all the asked-for attachments (insurances, policies). Don’t overlook any other requirements that may be particular to that tender, such as having ISO 9001 or other ISO certifications or having a certain number of years of experience or type of experience.
Using the expertise of a government tender writer is a safeguard in this regard, as their role includes checking that all the compliance is properly addressed.
4. You didn’t demonstrate recent or relevant experience or capacity and capability
Government tenders ask about tenderers’ experience, capacity and capability. If you don’t provide sufficient information about these areas, you risk your tender being unsuccessful. Many government tender response schedules include word count limits for each question. Use the full number of words permitted. So if a question says that you have up to 500 words, use 490 words.
Clearly explain your experience, capacity or capability and why it is relevant to the contract for which you are tendering. You want your tenders to be clear, relevant and to explain how you are able to deliver genuine results. Find out more about writing successful government tenders.
5. Your price was 20% (or more) higher than the next tenderer
Government request for tenders talk about ‘value for money’. But price is vitally important, too. Getting your pricing right is clearly a major element in tender success and a strategic decision. But your pricing must present value. When the procurement team are evaluating the pricing proposals in all the tenders, they’ll compare like with like. If your fee is more expensive and the value of your offering is not clear, they’ll measure your tender on price. But if you’ve clearly presented the value they’ll gain by working with your business, they are more likely to accept your slightly higher price for the additional value they’ll gain.
Value for money can comprise any raft of things: a faster process, faster delivery, free training, free products or services, greater proven experience, less risk, solid methodology and quality assurance.
Contact our government tender writers
For help with writing government tenders, or any tender, contact Tender Writers today or ring us on 02 8032 5536.
The professional tender writing services provided by our team of expert tender writers will help you to ensure that your tender is the best it can be.