How a tender audit can transform your tender success rate this year

Everybody knows that the time and energy that goes into preparing a tender response is considerable. So it can be incredibly frustrating when, despite your best efforts, your tender success rate is not what you’d like it to be. But what can you do differently to improve your chances of winning more contracts? A tender audit is a great way to begin.

What exactly is a tender audit?

A tender audit is a thorough review of 3-5 of your most recent tender submissions – whether they were successful or not – to pinpoint their strengths and identify where you can improve your response.

Think of it as an assurance process that checks to see if your value proposition is clearly presented and that the benefits of your products and services are shown in the best possible light. The idea is that you can apply the findings from the audit to your next tender to boost your opportunity of getting through to the next round.

Who conducts the audit?

There are three options from which to choose.

  1. Ideally, a tender audit should be undertaken by someone who wasn’t involved in the tender writing process; someone who can give you an independent view. When you write a tender it’s very difficult to review it with a sufficiently critical eye, so a critique by an independent third party is invaluable because they’ll give you constructive feedback – often about aspects of the response that you may not have considered before.
  2. Alternatively, if there’s no one you can ask, you can undertake a tender audit yourself. Although, make sure that you don’t do this immediately after you’ve submitted a proposal. Leave it a few months and then, when you go back to your recent submissions, your fresh eyes will enable you to see them from a different viewpoint and more readily identify its strengths and weaknesses.
  3. A third option – and one which is becoming increasingly popular – is to engage a completely impartial tender professional to conduct the audit for you. Importantly, they offer a truly independent perspective, with no agenda other than to see your business win more tenders. What’s more, their expertise in tender writing gives you access to years of experience and tender writing skills – all without the cost of a full end-to-end tender writing service.

The team at Tender Writers are all highly experienced in writing tenders. With our tender audit and its succinct feedback, you’ll quickly discover how to create better tender responses that maximise your chances of success. You’ll be able to improve the content, sharpen your focus, and present your business as a risk-free, clear contender for the contract.

What are the steps in a tender audit?

A professional tender auditor will conduct a thorough review of the 3-5 previous tender submissions that you provide. They will:

  1. Read the documentation – the tender auditor will read all the documentation for the original request for tender (RFT) or request for proposal (RFP). They’ll be looking to identify exactly what was required in your response. Of critical importance is their understanding of the scope of work required by the client. They’ll also be scrutinising the evaluation criteria and all compliance requirements. Armed with this information, they can then begin to see how your response measures up.
  2. Read your response – As the tender auditor reads your submissions, they’ll be looking to answer these questions:
  • Is your value proposition crystal clear right from the get-go?
  • Do your responses answer the questions as they should? For instance, have you reflected wording from the question in your response to tie question and answer neatly together?
  • Do your responses include both sides of the ‘feature/benefit’ equation? In other words, have you simply listed the features of your good or service and ignored the need to turn each one into an outcome that is a clear benefit to the client?

For example, ‘ABC’s fleet of transporters deliver spare parts within 12 hours of call out (FEATURE) which means that (GREAT LINKING PHRASE) Client’s production runs will suffer minimal disruption and deliveries can continue on schedule’ (BENEFIT).

  • Do your responses remain within any proscribed word counts?
  • Do the responses ‘speak’ as though it comes from one contributor? Many of your team members may have contributed to creating your submission, so the tender auditor will be judging whether it speaks with one ‘voice’ or whether there is an obvious difference in quality of response from one section to another.
  • Are the responses personalised by using the client’s name and referring to ‘you’ and ‘your’?
  • Have you been consistent when referring to your organisation’s name, job titles, roles, programs and initiatives etc? It’s important to stick to the same terminology throughout to avoid any confusion.
  • Have you included enough evidence? For example, case studies that demonstrate your capabilities and which show your business is the right choice. And are the case studies you have provided relevant to the service or product you are tendering to provide?
  • Does your content address each of the evaluation criteria and answer the tenderer’s needs, giving a clear explanation of how you will make that happen?
  • Are there easy to read charts and captioned images to illustrate your key points. Are they relevant, clear and easy to decipher? Such graphic elements break up content to make your response more visually appealing and easier for the assessment panel to read.
  • Is there evidence that you have cut and pasted information from other tender responses? If you’re not careful, you may have inadvertently included the name of a previous tenderer or other details that don’t apply to this one, making your response for the current tender look rushed and sloppy.
  • Have you answered all the questions? Simply noting ‘N/A’ is not sufficient. Making a clear statement – ‘Not applicable in this instance as (YOUR COMPANY) employs fewer than 50 employees’ – leaves the tender assessment panel in no doubt as to why you have not provided a response.
  • Has every single compliance requirement been addressed? Did you attach every item that was required? For instance, insurance certificates of currency, your QA Policy, your Sustainability Policy, your fee schedule – and more? Some 60% of tenders to government never make it past first base because they have not included one of the compliance documents required, so checking this aspect is an important step in a tender audit.
  • Have you proofread your response? A submission riddled with typos or grammatical mistakes will make a poor impression on the assessment panel. Writing must be error-free and content clear, succinct and easy to read.

What will a Tender Writers tender auditor provide?

Once their audit is complete, you can expect to receive our tender auditor’s comments on the quality of your tender response. These will include:

  • At least 10 pointers to improve your proposals or tenders.
  • Clear advice on whether your tender hits the right note in terms of your value or sales proposition.
  • A critique of the features and benefits described in your response. Have you signalled your strengths and the outcomes you deliver in a straightforward and unambiguous manner?
  • Advice on the language used in your submission. For instance, hints on how to phrase key messages or restructure content for better effect.
  • Easy-to-implement practical examples and suggestions of how to improve your tender content.
  • How to emphasise key points through the use of graphics, whilst still keeping within the word count. This is important because research indicates that images, illustrations and graphics are 60% more impactful than words in tenders.
  • ‘Before’ and ‘after’ examples so you can improve content in your future tenders.

What next?

After your tender audit has been completed and you have absorbed the auditor’s many valuable insights, it should come as no surprise that the next thing you must do is put their recommendations into action in any future tender responses.

Make sure that you allow not only enough time to write your next submission, but to carefully evaluate it against the feedback given by the tender auditor. How does your latest response measure up? Apply their feedback to enhance your content, value proposition and clarity in addressing the evaluation criteria.

These are all proactive steps to fine-tune your overall approach and increase your opportunity for success by being able to ultimately submit a compelling and polished tender response.

Share the learning from your tender audit

Once you receive audit feedback, take the opportunity to get together with your team and discuss the recommendations together. It’s the ideal time to ensure that everyone can benefit from such guidance and that the whole team has the same understanding of what’s required ahead of the next tender being released.

A tender audit can also be a real boost for your people because it clearly demonstrates a commitment to doing whatever is necessary to improve your chances of winning vital contracts and ensuring business continuity.

Don’t delay – call now to improve your chances of tender success

If you’re concerned about the quality and success rate of your tenders, then why wait for the next one to come along before you take action? Get ahead of the game by requesting a Tender Writers tender audit today. It could make all the difference.

Call us today on 02 8036 5532 or 0448 566 377 or head to our contact page.

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