What is a Tender Writer?
A tender writer is a professional writer who assists organisations to win tenders, by preparing and submitting a response to a tender document. In Australia, this document is commonly referred to as a ‘request for tender’ (RFT).
What is a Request for Tender (RFT)?
If a large company, corporation, charity or a public sector body requires specific works, goods or services, they will issue a formal offer for relevant suppliers to tender/bid for the work/project. This may be in the form of an open or public tender, or a private request made to to a limited number of potential suppliers.
A RFT forms the basis of the tendering process. It defines the requirements of the contract and project. This provides potential suppliers, a clear understanding of the scope of work, and the criteria by which their tender will be evaluated. The resulting tender submissions will help the buyer (tender issuer) to select qualified and interested suppliers based on certain contractual obligations & evaluation criteria, such as pricing, qualifications and experience.
What does a tender writer do?
A tender writer normally gathers relevant information and documentation required to build a compelling case for awarding a tender to their client. They will ordinarily work with organisations such as businesses of all sizes, not-for-profits and even government agencies. They may also offer additional related services, such as recommending tenders that may align with their clients’ business.
Tender writers work closely with their clients, asking the right questions to familiarise themselves with their business, their experience, and how they fit the submission criteria of the tender document. They will help clients elaborate on their unique value proposition. They will conduct research to understand the industry the client and buyer operate in. Based on this information, they will write a best-practice tender submission that expresses why their client is the right fit.
The tender respondent may well excel at their core business, but struggle to communicate their expertise. Even for respondents who have no trouble with business development, can craft an exceptional sales letter, and have a loyal, devoted following on social media, there’s plenty of good reasons to hire a tender writer.
Tender writing is like no other form of writing, and without that domain knowledge, it’s easy to slip up: not knowing what to include and what to leave out, not being aware of best-practice, and so on. Even at the most basic level, there’s a right way and a wrong way to write a tender.
Of course, writing an adequate tender that minimally ticks the boxes isn’t enough; you want to submit a winning tender. Not every potential supplier will be chosen, and adequate isn’t good enough when you’ve put time and resources into preparing your submission. That’s why you should choose a tender writer that’s experienced in their field, has a track record of success, and takes the time to listen to you and get to know your business.
How do buyers select which tender to select? What does the tendering process look like?
Buyers may initially engage in some sort of prequalification process, such as an Expression of Interest (EOI) or a questionnaire. This additional stage is of mutual benefit: it saves time for tenderers who would have wasted effort on responding to a RFT they aren’t qualified for, and it saves buyers time reading submissions from unqualified tenderers.
Next, the buyer will issue a RFT. Nowadays, these can generally be found online, on the websites of local, state or federal government agencies, large companies, universities, and aggregate websites such as tenders.gov.au and australiantenders.com.au. These RFTs will specify the nature of the goods or services required, expected conditions of contract, what the buyer is looking for from a supplier, and how tenders will be evaluated.
The buyer will then evaluate tenders submitted by a variety of organisations, using weighted criteria as outlined in the RFT. From these tenders, they will select who they think is best-suited to deliver the project, services and/or goods.
The tenders which are submitted are the only way that the buyer can judge the suitability of the tenderers. By creating the best tender submission possible, you can maximise your chance to stand out from the pack. Buyers may receive numerous competitive bids, all with the same goal: to win. The tenderers are all are trying to persuade and convince the buyer that they are best-placed to be awarded the contract and win the tender. A professional tender writer can’t guarantee that you win, but they can ensure that your tender, bid or proposal is:
- Compliant with best-practice tender writing
- Focused on the needs of the tender issuer
- Addresses all submission criteria
- Written in an engaging way
Why it is important to have a tender writer?
When it comes to tendering, you don’t want to be the runner-up; you want to win. You need to make your application stand out from the pack if you’re going to secure that contract and grow your revenue with less stress.
Working with a professional tender writer means that your next proposal, bid or tender will be much a less daunting and stressful process, and you’ll be positioned to achieve much better results.
Expert tender writers know exactly how to make your submission stand out.
Your tender writer will guide you through the whole process, helping you to determine your response strategy and key messages. You can be confident that your bid communicates how you meet all the exacting requirements of the RFT, and doesn’t just tick the minimum boxes – it catches the attention of the buyer and presents your case in English that’s benefit-focused, compelling, and clear.
How can I improve my tender win rate?
Engage a professional tender writer
No tender writer can guarantee a win, but a professional tender writer can maximise your chances by ensuring that your tender, bid or proposal is the best that it can be.
Make sure your bid is compliant
Making sure your bid is compliant is the bare minimum; buyers receive many tenders which are not, and you don’t want to be out of the race before you even get started. Carefully read and follow the instructions, as failure to include certain elements can affect a bid’s success, or even disqualify your tender.
You should consider:
- Formatting instructions and word/page limits. These limits exist for good reason; reading through RFT responses is a lengthy, cumbersome process for buyers. Not following these basic instructions is at best not a good look; at worst, they can invalidate your bid. If you can’t write succinctly, work with someone who can!
- Assess your suitability for the project. Review the RFT with a critical eye; can you fulfill the scope of work the tender issuer is looking for? Is it aligned with the strategic direction of your business? Is the tender issuer looking for one supplier, several suppliers or a panel of suppliers? Do you need to tender for all components of the work, or can you offer your services in an area where you shine? What criteria are involved, and can you meet them? If there’s anything unclear within the instructions or specification, and you’re not sure if you’re compliant, you should clear this up with the tender issuer or their preferred contact before you put in hard work for a tender you’re not qualified to win or to fulfill.
- Fully complete all requirements of the tender: Even if