The keys to winning tenders and proposals

Preparing responses to requests for tenders from large companies and government involves lots of moving parts. There’s no doubt that writing a winning tender takes preparation and skill. Not to mention time. There’s a lot to deal with on top of your usual workload. 

Successful tenders and proposals are the result of a combination of factors: presenting a great value proposition, presenting evidence to support your capability, plus complying with all the requirements of the request for proposal or tender. 

This means having all the information you need for a winning tender close at hand. 

1. Decide on your value proposition for your tender response 

First of all, you need to decide upon your value proposition or selling proposition before you start writing your tender response. This is essential. That is, understand what the organisation that’s issued the request for tender is seeking and determine what you will be offering to fulfil these needs.  

Your offer – the value proposition – may be two or three selling points, not one single point. Whatever it is, it’s important, that you articulate these clearly in your tender response. And that you explain the benefits of these points. That is, the results or outcomes that these points will deliver to the procurer.  

If you need help with your value proposition, get in touch

2. Present real evidence for your capabilities – share your success stories 

As well as your value proposition, your tender response needs to present hard evidence for how you will fulfil the needs expressed by the organisation that’s issued the request for tender. 

Evidence may be your experience – that is, you’ve done it before. Or it might be your team members’ skills including from their previous roles. Or it might be your product or service testimonials or NPS. It could be winning business awards or other accolades. 

As well as hard numbers from your business, proving you’re worth awarding the contract to is also extremely valuable for winning tenders. Client lists, testimonials, award wins, media and industry recognition all verify your capability, and often can be incorporated into the document or added as an appendix. Don’t be modest but do ask for permission to quote an external source. Try to maintain your relationships with clients so you can offer the procurer the most relevant referee for the contract. 

3. Other real evidence – facts and figures 

Importantly, evidence can be facts and figures demonstrating cost savings or time savings, for example. Include hard evidence wherever possible. And if the tender response schedules allow, include charts or other graphs to illustrate the savings or other differences your product or service makes. 

For example: 

  • Sales – record percentage increases year on year 
  • KPI performance or Service Level Agreements – how consistently do you meet your service agreements? How does this compare with your industry generally? 
  • Complaints / returns – record percentage decreases year on year 
  • Efficiencies – record percentage decrease in cost base year on year through sustainability measures 

The best way of achieving this is to be prepared. Build processes and reporting mechanisms into your everyday operations so you always have rich data to hand that you can use in tenders and other business development material. 

4. Be ready with policies and procedures 

Every tender will ask for information about your policies and procedures. You’ll typically be asked about: 

  • Quality control 
  • Risk management 
  • Diversity and inclusion 
  • Environment 
  • Sustainability 
  • Modern slavery and supply chain 
  • Indigenous procurement. 

It’s therefore worthwhile to make sure you have formal policies and procedures in these areas, setting targets and measuring success against them. Then you’ll always have information to draw from. 

How to win tenders 

Overall, writing a winning tender is about being clear about your value proposition and recording data and other useful information to present your business in the best possible light.  

We know there’s a lot to think about and a lot to do to meet the tender deadline. 

With two decades’ experience in tender writing, Proof Communications can help: 80% of the tenders we write are shortlisted for presentation or awarded the contract! 

If you would like help writing, editing or proofreading your tenders, proposals or business documents, head to the contact page or call us on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216. 

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