Many of my clients struggle to get the support of colleagues when responding to tenders. Of course, one person needs to lead on the tender, but its outcome can have a positive, or detrimental, effect on everyone within the business. Jobs may even depend upon it, so it is in everyone’s interests to contribute their skills and knowledge to the preparation and completion of the tender.
Prior to and during a tender exercise teams MUST collaborate. The person managing the tender needs to ensure colleagues understand what is needed from them, and they need to submit full information within the deadline set by the tender manager.
It is often overlooked that tenders must be supported by compelling evidence. Suppliers say: ‘we will’, Buyers will respond: ‘prove it’.
Some of the best, and most successful tenders I’ve worked on with clients are those where the business has sought ‘introduction to tender’ training for key members of staff prior to the publication of a tender. This has ensured a team approach where everyone understands the process and their roles in ensuring its success. It is also a valuable means of identifying evidence and the supporting documentation likely to be required to ensure a tender’s compliance. This benefits everyone, when the tender is published, it’s not such a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moment, and much of the evidence gathering has already been completed, or at least begun. And, most importantly, everyone’s buy-in has already been secured which is far more likely to result in the tender’s success.
As a buyer, when evaluating tenders, it is immediately apparent where a team approach has been adopted by a business. There is an overall professionalism and consistency, and the responses to technical/quality questions are far more compelling and cohesive, thus attracting higher scores.
If you know that a tender is imminent, please start to prepare. Identify all those within the business who may have something to contribute and, working as a team, get together to ensure that everyone understands the process. Explain the potential impact on the future of the business and why their input is important. Most importantly, identify and start gathering the evidence which will make your tender credible and far more likely to succeed.