Bid blunders: Four things to do to ensure you don’t win more work by tender

By Mikela Dennison, Senior Account Executive @ The Clarity Business

The competitive tender landscape means that businesses are constantly on the lookout for the next big job, particularly in construction and infrastructure, but increasingly across other areas too (including banking, legal, recruitment, health, web development, among many others).

If you really want to make sure you DON'T win that next bid, here are four things you should do:

Focus only on answering the bid document

Nothing will get you on the road to disaster better than making sure you focus only on the bid at hand and the proposal you will submit. Don't bother fussing around with silly things like opportunities to build your business or develop your attributes outside of the bid process, because when it comes to the bid period, your evaluation team will only look at what's in front of them.

But if you are crazy enough to think that perhaps there are smart communications and marketing opportunities you should explore to bolster your offering at the tender box, then we'll (reluctantly) offer some areas that will take your business and success beyond the bid.

Don't seek to create or win awards

If you're dead-set on stuffing it all up, don't dare look outwards to the market and then inwards to see what's happening within your business to capitalise upon opportunities to showcase your people, products, services and the difference you make.

Why would you waste your time trying to showcase your potentially award-winning capabilities when all that matters is 'can you do this job or not'? Why would you want to align your people around the behaviour you seek to show or create internal awards schemes that recognise your people and encourage the type of behaviour you seek to demonstrate in the market?

If you really have to, perhaps keep an eye out for award submissions and if you for some reason decide to go for them, allocate a bit of time to develop the award submission to give your company the best chance at the top spot.

Never showcase your capabilities in the media

Tender evaluation teams are only focused on the bids and submissions directly in front of them. Surely they wouldn't be reading industry news updates or listening to influencers in the sector… right?

So it would be silly to try and increase your profile through positive media coverage of your latest project or offer your expert insight into the latest trends, research and commentary affecting your industry. Or would it?

If taking a media approach is something you feel might be valuable (God knows why), then talk to us about how to provide targeted media publications with interesting, useful content and commentary that shows you really know your stuff - because when it comes to tender time, if you've had several great articles that showcase your market knowledge and offers tips for best practice, then you can bet the TET will have seen it… But don't take it from us.

NEVER think about stakeholder and buyer engagement

Whatever you do, make sure you don't go beyond the bid and find out what your buyers and clients are trying to achieve with the tender. What a big blunder that would be!

If you truly want to fail, it's best to keep your contact and relations with your clients to a bare minimum - because at tender time, you certainly don't want to be top of mind or have solid relationships with the people making the decisions about whose services are going to offer the most value and get the result they want.

Understanding the motivations and objectives behind the tender can be the difference between pitching at the right level or missing the mark completely, so you decide: do you want to understand your client and what they want so you can best match their needs, or do you want to keep your head in the sand and make, at best, an educated guess?

If you don't want to win any work, then of course it will be the latter option…

Our approach

If you've read this rather tongue in cheek post and have realised that, in fact, looking beyond the bid is THE effective means of improve your business offering and increasing your win rate at the tender box, then good for you *Round of applause*

In all honesty, we encourage our clients who want to be successful through tenders to look beyond the bid in front of them and consider the myriad of other possibilities that can lift a business profile and success into the next level before they get anywhere near responding to an RFP.

The most successful and profitable clients we work with (and the ones with the best win rates), are the companies that are constantly on the lookout for opportunities in the market, internally and through the media, that provide a chance to showcase the excellent work they do and what that achieves for their own clients. In other words, to LIVE their messages, so when they come to submit their tender, their client already knows that they are doing this well.

If you decide that you actually would rather like to win more work by tender, and lift your company profile, reputation and performance in the process by looking at the wider landscape, then get in touch with Mikelamikela@theclaritybusiness.co.nz or George george@theclaritybusiness.co.nz to discuss your options.

Check our our other tips for tenders:


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