The executive summary is arguably the most important element of your tender. Amidst the heap of tender submissions on the procurement team’s table, an impactful executive summary can be the difference between an application that gets noticed and one that gets passed over.
Your executive summary should deliver evaluators a concise yet compelling snapshot of your proposal, serving as a window into your grasp of project or service requirements, your approach and the unique value you bring to the table. Imagine it as your written elevator pitch, designed to captivate, persuade, and spark curiosity, encouraging the reader to delve deeper into your tender.
What makes an executive summary stand out?
After years of writing winning tenders, our advice for creating an outstanding executive summary comes down to two pivotal elements:
1. A clear understanding of the potential client’s needs
Your executive summary should go beyond merely acknowledging the requirements in the RFT or RFP. It should reflect a deep understanding of your potential client’s objectives and pain points. The procurement team should be able to instantly recognise that your business not only understands the task at hand but is ideally positioned to execute it to perfection.
But where does this depth come from? Research is key. Delve into the potential client’s recent press releases, media coverage, and for government and public companies, annual reports. These can be gold mines of information, providing crucial insights into financial health, strategic direction, and focus areas. Armed with this knowledge, you can frame your executive summary to speak directly to the client’s core needs – even the ones they didn’t mention in their RFT.
2. Articulating the benefits of choosing your company
One of the best pieces of tender writing advice is to perfect your value proposition. This absolutely crucial – but often overlooked – element is a clear statement that explains how your product or service solves the client’s problems and why they should choose you over your competition. For example, what unique benefits will they enjoy? How will you make their journey smoother, more efficient, or more profitable? These should align directly with their core needs, informed by insights from your research.
How do we write an executive summary?
At Tender Writers, we begin our executive summaries by clearly and simply stating the outcome the potential client is seeking and then explaining how our client’s service or product will help them solve these. This isn’t about boasting; it’s about demonstrating measurable results.
We highlight the tangible improvements they can expect – from cost savings, efficiency boosts, to ROI increments. Then, we back up these with evidence by providing examples of other companies that have benefited from our client’s product or service.
You can see examples of executive summaries in tenders here.
Is it best to write the executive summary first or last?
Is it better to write the executive summary first, or last? While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, the decision often hinges on individual preference and the tender’s nature.
The case for writing it first
For some, laying down the executive summary at the outset provides an opportunity to plan their response and clearly define their value proposition. It then acts as an anchor, keeping you laser-focused on your value proposition and key selling points while you write the rest of the tender response.
The argument for writing it last
Others prefer to wait until they’ve finished writing the rest of their tender when they have a comprehensive understanding of the content. Writing it last can ensure the summary is a true reflection of the tender’s core narrative. This is particularly useful for tenders requiring input from multiple people, whereby key value propositions may be refined during the writing process.
The best of both worlds
Many tender writers find the sweet spot lies in combining both and using an iterative approach. By creating a rough draft of the executive summary to guide the writing process and then looping back and refining it as the tender unfolds, they can ensure it remains a precise and compelling summary of the entire proposal.
Regardless of which approach you prefer, what’s important is the end result. Your executive summary should be more than just a cursory overview or an afterthought; it should be compelling, concise and convincing. Keep these key pillars at the heart of your executive summary and you’re well on your way to making an impactful impression.
Get in touch today for more tender writing advice
If you would like further tender writing advice, head to the contact page or call us on 0448 566 377 or 02 8036 5532. We’re here to steer your tenders towards success!