2021 Guide to A Successful Tender Submission

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2021 Guide to A Successful Tender Submission

  • Posted by: Jenny Naylor
A Successful Tender Submission

Writing a successful tender submission is a fine art, but one which, if done effectively can reap significant long-term benefits for your organisation. We’ve written the following guide to support you to write a tender submission that stands out:

Preparation is Key to A Successful Tender Submission

Research your target client

A tender submission that stands out is a tender submission that fully identifies the needs and requirements of the buyer. Understanding the buyer’s business and what’s happening within the sector they are operating in will help you to get a better idea of how you can support their business to overcome specific challenges they face. A submission that clearly demonstrates a knowledge of the buyer’s business displays an interest in the organisation which will be received favourably.

Dedicate resource

Take the time to understand who within the organisation will be available to support the preparation and production of your tender submission. It’s crucial that essential team members needed to support the submission are available in the timeframes required. This will support the production of high-quality work and reinforce accountability.

Read guidelines thoroughly

Before you put pen to paper, it’s absolutely crucial that you read the guidelines thoroughly. It may seem that much of the information in the guidelines is fairly mundane, but it could save you a lot of time later down the line:

  • Make a note of the deadline date and ideally aim to submit 1-2 days before this date to allow for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Pay attention to formatting guidelines. Some systems will only allow the submission of certain document types. If you’ve spent time creating a response in a programme that is not compatible with the buyer’s system, your time will have been wasted.
  • Word counts are crucial, adhere to them at all times. Simple mistakes here suggest an inability to follow guidelines, which negatively impact upon perceptions of your organisation.
  • Understand the point-scoring mechanisms that will be used by the buyer as this will provide guidance on the response and structure required.
  • Ensure you know how the submission should be made. Some organisations will require a postal or email submission, but more likely you’ll be required to submit via a portal. If this is the case, familiarise yourself with the portal well in advance of the submission date.

Understand and clarify the key requirements

Highlighting areas that are priorities for the buyer will help you to tailor your response around what the key areas of focus should be for your bid submission. Understanding the buyer’s challenges and requirements will help you to formulate your strategy, storyboarding and content strategy. If you require clarification to fully understand the requirements of the buyer, ask now. Never be in any doubt of what the buyer is truly looking for from a bid submission.

Writing your Tender Submission

When bid writing there are a number of key points that you should consider:

Answer the question

This may sound obvious, but there are some important factors to consider when crafting your response to the questions outlined in the brief.

Firstly, deconstruct the questions to ensure you fully address all points. Often there maybe two, three or more areas that the buyer requires you to cover in your response to a single question. By deconstructing the question you’ll ensure that you do not forget to cover all subject matters.

Secondly, mirroring the question in your response can be helpful to make it easier for the buyer to see that you have focused on all aspects of the brief. In particular, using headings which match the deconstructed parts of the question is a good tactic to employ. You may also wish to reference the question number in your response to make it effortless for buyers to see where the content in your submission aligns with the brief.

As highlighted previously, ensuring that you adhere to the word count is crucial when writing your response. If you are limited to a strict word count (which is usually the case) make every word matter by ensuring that you are only including content that specifically addresses the question. Word counts are always a very good indicator of the depth of response that the buyer is expecting for each question. They can sometimes indicate where the priorities are for the buyer too, so they are always worth aligning to as closely as you can.

Simplicity is key

When a successful tender submission, simplicity is key. This can be achieved in many ways. Using overly complicated language or colloquialisms risks confusing the buyer and opens up the potential that they miss the key points that you are striving to make. Using plain English is recommended as best practice. Similarly be careful in your use of acronyms. This is particularly important where word counts are prohibitive, and you are struggling to fit your content within stringent parameters. If you do use acronyms, ensure to write in full on first use within your document.

Content can be simplified through the use of bullet points, as sentences are typically shorter in bulleted text. In addition, bullet point listings also draw the eye and are a great option for pulling out key points that you wish to make.

It’s true to say that an image can tell a thousand words. The use of imagery or infographics can highlight key information in an easily accessible format. Furthermore, they help to break up content making your submission easier on the eye and reducing read fatigue.

Be persuasive, not descriptive… and evidence, evidence, evidence

When writing content for your bid submission it’s vital that the language you use is persuasive rather than purely descriptive. Ensure that your content focuses on the advantages to the buyer in selecting your organisation to fulfil their needs. If you know of areas where you steal a mark over the competition, highlight those as a USP for your submission.

Aim to exceed the expectations of your buyer in your response. Demonstrating that you can not only hit the brief but go beyond their requirements, makes for a compelling argument.

It’s easy to state that your organisation can deliver on certain criteria but it can lack gravitas without strong evidence to substantiate your claims. Testimonials, statistics and case studies are all useful content to include within your submission, where appropriate, to verify the statements you wish to make.

Be current

Increasingly as part of mitigating risk, buyers include a section that allows them to appraise your response to current situations. As an example, in the last year, many organisations now wish to know what your company response to the global pandemic has been. Evidencing that you are responsive to change will reassure a buyer in your ability to flex dependent upon macro and micro conditions.

Make Your Tender Submission Stand Out

Check the guidelines from the buyer first to ensure that you do not deviate from accepted formatting and presentation principles, but be aware that presenting your submission in a professional way makes a big difference to the buyer’s perception of your organisation. You may wish to enlist support from a marketing or design agency to help your submission to stand out from the crowd. It’s a simple step that’s often overlooked, that can make a big difference. Remember, first impressions count.

Proofread and Review

A second pair of eyes to proofread and review your document(s) is a crucial step in a successful tender submission. The author is often too close to pick up on repetition, mistakes or other errors. A good proofreader will help you to identify any contradictions within your content, and, if they are familiar with the business, may also help to identify additional content that could support your bid submission. And that’s in addition to spotting any typos or grammatical errors.


Finally, do not leave the submission to the very last moment. Submissions sent after deadline will usually not be reviewed, even if you are able to evidence extenuating circumstances. Good practice for a successful tender submission is to submit your bid at least 1-2 days before the official deadline.

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Author: Jenny Naylor

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