Why should you consider getting professional support with your next tender?

The contract you hold is coming up for retender. You won it last time and you've done a good job of delivering the service, so you should win it again, yes?

Unfortunately that’s not necessarily the case. The specification has probably been changed, the budget has likely been reduced, the competition that you won against last time have had the duration of the contract to improve their game and there will be new competition that didn’t bid last time. They may have in-house or bought-in tendering expertise that you don’t have available to you. The people who ran the tender last time round may well have changed and the format of the tender and the questions that you will be asked will be different, reflecting changes in legislation and best practice. And of course, you may simply not have enough time, with everything else you have to do, to give your submission the attention it really needs.

Most dangerous of all, you may have developed a good relationship with commissioners that gives you a false sense of confidence that they want you to retain the contract. However they may not be part of the decision making process and, even if they are, they will have to base their decision solely on the content of your tender submission, not on any prior knowledge they have of you.

All these factors could work against you in retaining the contract.

A tendering expert will know how to present your capability, experience, capacity and track record in the best possible light, ensuring that your submission scores the most possible points and giving you the best chance of being successful again. They will be able to support you by

• Training you in how to engage effectively with the tendering process
• Advising you on the best way to develop any partnerships you will need to deliver services
• Analysing the specification, identifying ‘win themes’ and ‘pain points’
• Spotting areas of ambiguity and framing questions to gain clarity
• Supporting you with answer planning, identifying the information needed to answer each question and structuring responses
• Creating a plan, including a realistic timetable, to ensure you complete the tender in the limited time available
• Drafting responses, freeing you up to get on with your ‘day job’
• Reviewing and polishing your drafts, advising on any gaps or weaknesses
• Talking on much of the burden of producing the tender and taking away much of the associated stress
• Most importantly of all, increasing your chances of winning.

Compared to the value of a contract and the cost to you of losing it, the expense of bringing in specialist support is minimal and is an investment well worth making.