Tendering — delight and dismay

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Strategy in tendering should include two issues closely linked to success. Well before each bid document is written these issues should be studied with care, from the time a contractor or supplier sets up his business.

Issue one: How are we going to delight the people who will assess our bids and proposals?

The main ways to delight will likely involve one or more of the following: product, support, price and delivery.

Every time you could be up against a low-price competitor, it is essential to delight evaluators with your product, support and delivery.

Given a new Request For Tender, it is not good enough to provide a fair response to each question. To attract top marks a response must attract a WOW! The more WOWs the better. Scoring no WOWs means failure to delight.

Most draft bid documents I check have not been planned to attract even one WOW.

Issue two: How are we going to dismay our main competitors if they were to read our bid document?

An independent survey that reveals competitors’ weak points will supply the facts to build on.

We are dealing with competitive issues relevant to this specific contract — it’s not about naming names.

You can be sure your competitors will try to conceal every weakness. It’s your job to see the bid evaluators do not overlook them.

Most importantly, they must clearly see your key strengths. I’ve seen many draft bid documents with key competitive strengths hidden somewhere in the text, and therefore very likely to be missed.

Once you’ve written down and agreed how you’re going to “delight the evaluators” and “dismay your competitors”, strategy in tendering must decide how you are going to explain them all with crystal clarity, using words and pictures.

Albert Einstein once said, “if you can’t explain it to a six-year-old you don’t understand it yourself”.

Bottom line: Given that the market is always changing, the process of strategy in tendering requires constant attention and improvement.

Keep your finger on the pulse. Never work in your comfort zone. You must always seek better ways to attract top marks.

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