Winning government tenders: your guide to government tender writing

Winning government tenders can be a lucrative and rewarding opportunity for businesses of all sizes. However, the process of bidding for and winning government tenders is complex and time-consuming. Tenders are very competitive and success requires careful planning, preparation and execution.

To increase your chances of success, it’s important to understand the key elements of a successful government tender and develop a strategic approach to the process. In this guide, the Tender Writers team share the 10 key steps involved in winning government tenders, including researching the opportunity, developing a strong bid, and effectively communicating your value proposition to the government agency.

1. Identify government tender opportunities

The first step in winning a government tender is to identify opportunities that match your business’ strategic plan and capabilities. You can find opportunities by searching government tender websites.

Subscribe for free for email alerts for tender opportunities matching your search criteria from the Australian government’s and state governments’ procurement websites.

2. Assess the opportunity

Before you start writing your tender response, it’s important to understand the opportunity thoroughly. This means understanding the scope of the project or contract, the requirements of the government agency, and the evaluation criteria that will be used to assess tenders.

Here are the key steps to take during the research phase:

  1. Review the Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Tender (RFT): This document will outline the requirements of the contract or project, the timeline and the evaluation criteria. Make sure you understand the scope of work, requirements and deadlines before you start writing your tender response.
  2. Government tenders involve a lot of compliance. There will be various documents that have to be attached with your response, such as your insurance certificates of currency. Fail to attach these and your tender won’t make it past the first round of evaluation. You may need to give comments on the draft deed or contract and include draft plans, such as, for example, customer service or indigenous procurement. Each tender is different so the compliance requirements will differ each time. But you can be sure there will be documentation that you need to include with your tender, in addition to the completed tender response schedules.
  3. Analyse the competition: Research your competitors to understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their pricing strategies. This will help you identify areas where you can differentiate yourself and add value – your value proposition.
  4. Understand the customer: The government agency issuing the tender is your potential customer. But even if you are the incumbent, go to their website to research their mission, values and goals to understand their priorities and how your solution can help them achieve their objectives. Attend pre-bid meetings, ask questions, and be responsive to the government’s requests for information.

3. Should you partner with other businesses?

Partnering with other businesses can help you to strengthen your bid and increase your chances of winning. Look for businesses that have complementary capabilities or expertise. Partnering can also help you to share the costs and risks associated with bidding for tenders.

4. Understand the evaluation criteria

Understanding the evaluation criteria is critical to winning a government tender. Government tenders have a set of criteria against which the bids are evaluated. Importantly too, each criteria has a weighting. This enables you to see how much ‘weight’ each criteria carries and adjust your tender response accordingly. Review the criteria carefully and ensure that your bid addresses each criterion. It is also important to understand the weighting of each criterion to help you prioritise your response.

For example, if the cost has the highest rating, you’ll need to make sure that your proposed fee is very competitive. If past experience has a high weighing, you’ll need to clearly set out your experience relevant to the project or contract and how this will benefit the government agency.

5. Include a strong value proposition

Your bid should provide a strong value proposition that demonstrates the benefits of selecting your business. The value proposition sums up the main benefits that your business will bring to the project or contract. It needs to be included in your executive summary.

Value propositions in tenders usually comprise 2-4 key messages: it could be an innovative approach to delivering the project which saves time or money (or both), your team’s unique experience or your competitive fee.

6. Take time to prepare a strong government tender

Once you have a solid understanding of the government tender, the evaluation criteria and you’ve decided on your value proposition, it’s time to develop a strong tender. This involves crafting a persuasive response that addresses the requirements of the RFP or RFT and demonstrates your capabilities and expertise.

The best tenders include an executive summary. This is a brief overview of your solution and how it meets the requirements of the RFP.

Great tenders also include a methodology for delivering the project or contract, service or product. Likewise, explain who will be involved in delivering the project – your team and their roles, their profiles or CVs, an organisational chart and describe too how you will maintain quality control.

7. Show evidence of expertise and past performance

Use your bid to demonstrate your expertise and credibility for the project or contract.

Provide examples of similar projects you have completed including outcomes and customer satisfaction. Evidence of past performance establishes your credibility and demonstrates your ability to deliver the project. This can include references from previous clients, case studies and testimonials.

To build credibility further, highligh relevant certifications, awards and accolades.

However, only present experience that is relevant to the project, service or product that you are tendering to supply to the government. The first rule for tender writers is that there’s no point in listing projects or clients or including case studies that don’t reflect the experience, knowledge and skills that the government is seeking in its request for tender. Irrelevant experience will be disregarded by the government’s procurement assessment team and increases the likelihood that you won’t get past the first round assessment.

8. Price your bid competitively

Pricing is an important factor in winning government tenders. Clearly outline your pricing strategy, including any discounts or special offers, and make sure it aligns with any budget outlined in the RFP. Ensure that your bid is priced competitively while still covering your costs and delivering a profit. Research the market rates and the budget for the project to determine a competitive price.

9. Submit a compliant bid

Make sure that your bid complies with all the requirements set out in the tender documents. This includes submitting your bid on time, providing all the required documentation, and addressing all the criteria. Failure to comply with the requirements will result in your bid being disqualified.

10. Be prepared to negotiate

Winning a government tender often involves negotiation. You may be asked to clarify aspects of your bid or to revise your pricing or to submit a Best and Final Offer. Be flexible and responsive to these requests to increase your chances of winning the tender.

Get expert government tender writing help from Tender Writers

For help with government tenders or any other tender, contact Tender Writers today or ring us on 0448 566 377 or 02 8036 5532.

The professional tender writing services provided by our team of expert government tender writers will help you to ensure that your tender is the best it can be.

Tender Writers, part of the Proof Communications business, is an ISO 9001:Quality Management System certified business, the only one of our kind in Australia. Our commitment to quality service is why we’ve been in business for over 20 years and have the pleasure of working with the same clients many times over.

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