In my last blog I wrote about the skill of persuasive writing and just how important that is in setting you apart from other tenderers and engaging your reader. If you do not get them enthused in your proposed offering and solution, its difficult for them to justify awarding you top marks.
Today however, I want to stress another skill that is imperative to a successful tender submission, and that is time management. There is no point dedicating days or even weeks of precious resource to a tender if you are not going to submit it on time. Conversely, there is no point attempting a huge tender if you have put it off for weeks and we are now only a few days aware from the deadline; you will rush, make mistakes, miss key points, lack evidence you have not had time to gather and give a very poor reflection of your company to an organisation you want to do business with. Not good!
When you first get ahold of the ITT from the local authority’s procurement you need to assess the Tender Timetable and understand the deadline for raising clarifications as well as the deadline for submission itself. You should also properly understand what the process for submission is. I think the days of hardcopy ringbound submission with CD copies etc. is nearly behind us for SMEs tendering in the public sector, but that doesn’t mean that some of the lovely portals some authorities are geared for a simple submission process. We have had tenders that LITERALLY take hours and hours to submit on certain portals, but we wont name names.
Some councils give minimal instructions and a digital postbox – fine! Some also give you the most comprehensive list of requirements in the land! PDF each response. Label each PDF. Use a specific filename structure eg Company Name – Tender Name – Lot Number – Section Number – Question Number, with each response needing submitting to a different section on the portal. If you do not realise the task that is ahead of you when it comes to submitting your tender return, and you leave it too late, then you run the risk of it being submitted late.
A late submission is technically non-compliant and gives the authority fair reason to exclude you from the process, wasting all the time you put into a potentially winning tender submission. It also creates a poor first impression of your organisation and you will be starting on the back foot if they do decide to evaluate your tender return. It can absolutely be the difference in the evaluation process and it is such an easy mistake to avoid with proper planning and time management.
We recommend never waiting until the deadline day to start submitting your tender return. If you have parts complete, reviewed and ready to go, get them up there on the portal so that you don’t have to worry about them later on. ‘Submit as you go’ so-to-speak. Plan backward from the deadline and set aside proper time to submit and make you know exactly what you need to do to submit a compliant tender return. If you are not sure – ask a clarification question, the procurement team at the authority are there to help and there is (almost) no such thing as a stupid question. Tenders are tricky beasts and time management is an important skill in your arsenal to slay them.
If all of the above seems like an overly onerous task, or you simply do not have the time available to give submitting a tender the attention it deserves, don’t worry because we certainly do! Feel free to get in contact to discuss how we can help you submit high quality submissions in a timely manner maximising your chances of contract award.