How to qualify tenders is a topic that gives many business owners a headache! Here is a guide on qualifying tenders. It also applies to when you invited to quote for work. Bid or No Bid.
How to Qualify Tenders & Sales Opportunities
It’s all about Quality Not Quantity. This refers equally to formal tenders and when you get approached for a quotation.
Over the years I’ve had some lengthy discussions with MDs about whether to bid or not. Deciding between ditching an opportunity to win new business and wasting time is tricky.
I love winning bids! But absolutely hate wasting time on something that was never going to be a success. I try and take a realistic view on the likely return on investment (time and money). I can then make a more rational decision whether to pitch or not.
Previous posts on Qualifying Tenders (part 1) and Qualifying Tenders (Part 2) set out my approach on choosing to bid or not. You cannot expect to win everything you go for – even after careful qualification. But at least you can avoid bidding on no-hopers.
Too Many Opportunities
Another difficult issue is when too many opportunities come up at the same time. If you do not have enough resources to bid for everything properly, then you need to make a decision on which tender(s) to reject. It is normally far better to submit 1-2 first class bids than 3-4 poor tenders. So consider which are most important and then politely decline the rest. Typical considerations are:
- Existing business vs. new
- Great customers vs. poor
- Ideal work vs. imperfect
Can You Compete?
And I frequently get asked by start-up companies how they can win large public sector contracts. I try and gently explain that it’s hard for new companies to compete against more established businesses. You don’t need to be a big business to win big contracts. But you do need to be able to beat the competition. Our Tender Check-list has advice on making the decision whether to tender or not. It also explains how to get ready to win tenders.
Remember that tendering and bidding for contracts is part of the sales process. You are still selling, although in a more formal way than face-to-face sales. You should always carefully assess all sales opportunities – is it right for you or is it a waste of time. The same approach to qualification applies to tenders.
New Procurement Regulations Could Help You to Qualify Tenders
I recently posted an article on the new 2015 Procurement Regulations and How Will They Effect Tenders & PQQs. There are two procedural changes that could help with qualifying public sector tenders:
- ‘Below Threshold Contracts’ will not require PQQs
- Electronic versions of the procurement documentation will be available via the internet when the OJEU contract notice is published
These mean that you should have more information from the very start. That should assist with making a more informed decision. Not having to complete a PQQ in order to see the tender can certainly save time. Having all documents available beforehand will allow you to assess what is involved in bidding. You can see the questions, the contract and the specification. This knowledge can definitely help with the bid / no bid decision.
It’s always exciting when you have an opportunity to pitch for work. But remember it’s all about Quality Not Quantity.
It is vital to have a sensible approach to qualifying tenders and sales opportunities. Be careful, logical and impartial. Only go for those that are really viable. That way you reduce wasted effort and increase your win rate.
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself when attempting to qualify tenders or deciding what sales leads to chase:
- “Can we do it?” (Can we do the work?)
- “Can we win it?” (Can we win the contract?)
Question (1) is pretty obvious. But unless you can also say ‘yes’ to question (2) – do not bid.
Anyone got any more thoughts on how to qualify tenders and sales opportunities?