Public Sector Tenders

Responding to Tender Questions Guide

This guide to responding to tender questions also relates to PQQs, RFPs etc. If you follow these simple steps, you will improve the quality of your tender responses and your chances of winning the bid.

Responding to Tender Questions Guide

Responding to Tender Questions Checklist

These basic actions explain tender writing best practice and how to avoid making common tendering errors.

Before you start answering the questions, make sure the tender is right for you. And make sure you plan your tender correctly.

Be Careful When Re-using Old Content

You should build up a tender response library. There’s nothing wrong with re-using good content. As long as it is relevant and customised to each tender. Avoid just cutting and pasting or sticking to a tender template.

Answer All the Questions

Simply put – don’t leave any gaps. If you do, you cannot get marked and that means zero points / no score.

Answer the Question

Don’t fudge an answer – if you are not sure then ask.

Also check that you have really answered what is being asked – not what you think is being asked.

Tell the Truth!

It’s often tempting to give the answer that is expected e.g. “Is your company ISO 9001 accredited?” Too many companies have responded: “The company is in the process of getting 9001 accreditation”. Buyers know this normally translates to “No, and no intention of getting it unless you really push me”.

Therefore give a positive response by adding when it is due to be completed (if you really are in the process) or state that you do not have 9001 but do have quality processes in place / would be willing to get it. Or just say no. NB if it is a mandatory requirement, then you may just have to pull out.

Writing Method Statements for Tenders – Use Evidence

No matter how well you write your method statements in terms of technical capability, you still need to convince the reader that your organisation can really do the job. Good tender writing uses evidence.

Writing Method Statements for Tenders - Use Evidence

What Are Tender Method Statements?

Formal tenders (e.g. high value council tenders) have a set of questions that you need to answer. Many take the form of “how will you achieve…” or “what is your approach to…”. These are often described in tenders as method statements.

Not to be confused with health and safety or site method statements, although they may be helpful in writing some tender method statements.

How to Write Method Statements for Tenders and Use Evidence

Try and use the following to demonstrate what you have in place and what you do. Then show the buyer how you will use that to deliver. Using evidence will reinforce what you say.

1. Start at the Beginning

When writing method statements on how you will provide the service, start at the beginning and work through to the end. Writing a method statement can be daunting so think how you would describe it if you were talking to a prospect. Tables, flow charts and sub-headings can all help to reduce words when limited.

2. Explain Resources

Make sure they understand what resources you have:

  • People e.g. management team, staff numbers etc.
  • Management team
  • Use people’s names in organisation charts and against titles – shows they are real people!
  • Back office / support
  • Locations, equipment etc.
  • Processes e.g. quality

Then clearly explain their relevance and how they help you to deliver the service.

3. Customer Lists

These can help but they need to be relevant – ideally the same industry. That shows a track record and experience in their market sector.

4. Anecdotal Evidence

A great way to finish off a method statement is by showing an example of how you solved a problem or achieved the required result. For example, if asked about continuously improving your service, give an example of how you have used lessons learnt to drive improvements.

5. Targets and KPIs Prove Success

If your company meets / beats its targets, show it. Giving an example of your company meeting or exceeding targets / key performance indicators on other similar contracts is powerful.

If you are asked to describe how you will achieve high customer satisfaction, giving some excellent customer satisfaction KPIs is great proof.

6. Case Studies Explain How You Help Customers

These can be full blown or mini case studies as appropriate. In most cases, a condensed case study will suffice – especially where response content is limited. It only needs 3 parts:

  1. Background – what the problem was
  2. Actions – what you did
  3. Outcomes – the positive result

7. Testimonials – Let Your Customers Talk For You

Relevant to the point you are making and ideally attributable (privacy allowing). These do not need to be long testimonial letters but a simple quote. It can include praise for your company. But most importantly, it needs contain a commendation of an achievement. For example, “XYZ always get high customer satisfaction ratings from our residents”.

8. Images, Charts, Tables etc.

They can be a lot easier to read and digest than lots of paragraphs. If they substantiate your claim (and are permitted by the tender rules) use them.

9. Use The Evaluation Guide

Tenders normally explain how they will be scored (evaluated). Use that to make certain you are giving them what they will be scoring highly. That will help you get top marks.

10. Answer The Question!

That might sound obvious but it’s one of the most common tendering mistakes. Answer with what they have asked for. Not what you thought or want to say. And answer all the parts of the question.

If you want help writing tender method statement, contact us for an informal discussion about our tender writing service.

Writing Method Statements Summary

All of the above prove to the reader what you have done and will do.

These tips on tender writing will also help:

There is no absolute right or wrong in tender writing but believability is key to writing good tender submissions… that win contracts!

Any more ideas?

12 Top Tendering Tips for a Successful Tender

I was asked to contribute my top tendering tips for BT’s Upload magazine on an article entitled Winning the Big Contracts.

12 Top Tendering Tips for a Successful Tender

Use These Top Tendering Tips to Win Bids

Firstly, there are my 7 tips from the article. BT asked for some quick, simple and important bits of advice. It’s followed by 5 more detailed tendering tips to help you with winning tenders.

1. Be selective

Only go for the tenders you’re likely to win. Tendering is time-consuming. It’s better to spend time searching for ‘best fits’ than waste time tendering for contracts you’ll never win.

2. Be prepared

Spend time standardising all your policies – health and safety, quality, insurances, accounts, etc. And have them all available electronically.

3. Choose a team

Tendering is not a one-man job. Involve key players, administrators and management personnel, and consider using external ‘resources’, including consultants.

4. Assess their needs

Think about the buyer and their needs. That’s the key to a winning pitch!

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