Qualifying Tenders

5 Things to Avoid When Preparing Tender Submissions

5 Things to Avoid When Preparing Tender Submissions or PQQs

One of the very first posts that I wrote was on the 10 most common tendering mistakes. It shows the main errors made when preparing tender submissions or PQQs. Many of these are pretty fundamental mistakes such as missing information, which will quickly lose you marks.In this post I want to explore some more potential tendering pitfalls. These are less about omissions but more about mindsets or your approach. Make sure that you avoid them when next preparing tender submissions or PQQs.

When Preparing Tender Submissions or PQQs Don’t Make These Mistakes

1. Get ‘Tender Rage’

This usually applies to people who are new to tendering. They feel annoyed by having to tender for a contract in such a complicated manner. But most of us have got angry about the whole tendering process. I call this ‘Tender Rage’. Or ‘Getting the Grey Mist’ (there’s too much paperwork involved to get the full Red Mist!).

I can completely understand why people get it. Tenders involve a lot of effort. You have to deal with numerous complex questions and pricing schedules as well as long contracts and specifications. And let’s face it, some tenders are really badly written.

I’ve seen people compile a list of 30+ clarification questions! Not just because there are that many aspects on which they are unclear, but because they want to hit back at the tender panel.

I always try and remain calm and explain to clients why organisations tender. I also explain the tendering process. Then I recommend taking a break and starting afresh the next day. But also to make sure that the tender opportunity is for you (see next point No. 2).

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Tendering Guides and Useful Information on Tenders

Dealing with tenders can be very confusing. We created a series of tendering guides to help people gain a better understanding of PQQs and tenders. These guides deal with some of the most commonly asked questions and provide lots of useful information on tenders.

All of the tendering guides have recently been updated and now have the facility for printing and PDF downloads.

How to Find Tender Opportunities

How to Find Tenders for FREE

For anyone new to tendering one of the most common questions is “how do I find tenders?”. The good news is that it is easy and free to search for public sector contracts.

This guide explains how to use TED, Contracts Finder and other web-portals to search for high and low value contracts. They include Government, councils, housing associations, NHS and other public funded authorities.


Get Ready to Tender Check-list

Fit to Tender Checklist

The next most commonly asked question for companies looking to try and win tender contracts is “what do I need to do to start tendering?”.

This is why we created the fit to tender check-list:

1. What information you need to have in place

2. What documents you need

3. Other key issues like qualifying tenders – being realistic about success rates


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Understanding Tender Evaluation Criteria

Tender Evaluation Criteria and Tender Evaluation Methodology

Understanding the Tender Evaluation Criteria and Tender Evaluation Methodology is a vital part of the Bid Manager’s toolkit. Using them can help you to qualify the tender opportunity and improve your score.

Tender Evaluation Criteria

PQQs and tenders will often include a guide on how they are marked. Below is an example tender evaluation criteria or matrix. It shows a tender evaluation using weighted criteria:

Tender Evaluation Criteria Example

They all look different and criteria differs depending on each customer’s needs. The scoring can range from simple percentage splits to complex weighting systems. But the basic principles of tender evaluation criteria remain the same.

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How to Qualify Tenders – Bid or No Bid

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 - Bid or No Bid

Qualifying Tenders & Sales Opportunities

It’s all about Quality Not Quantity. This refers equally to formal tenders and when you get approached for a quotation.

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.

Too many times I hear about organisations going for lots of tenders and not winning any. This is often due to not qualifying tenders properly. If you are looking for new business and you find a tender, it can be very exciting when you go for it – the anticipation of a big win. But when you get rejected (once again) it is very depressing!

Over the years I’ve had some difficult and lengthy discussions with MDs about whether to bid or not. Deciding between ditching an opportunity to win new business and potentially your wasting time is tricky.

Making the decision not to bid on tenders can be hard. You may feel you are limiting your opportunities. But if you do it well, you are just freeing up valuable resources to do something more profitable. Like creating one excellent winning bid, rather than three mediocre losing bids. Or simply going home on time tonight?

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