Tender Treatment

I was speaking to the business developmentĀ manager for a medium-sized organisation last week, who was telling mew that he had become ‘soul-destroyed’ by his poor track record in winning bids and tenders. On further questioning, I found that his company had only ever won one tender out of a ‘significant number’ submitted.

It’s not a numbers game! Don’t think that the more tenders you submit, eventually you will win a contract. Let’s understand why tender schemes exist –

  • to attract contact from as many potential providers as possible
  • to find out which of these can provide assurance in their capabilities
  • to use the most economically appropriate provider (cost, value, quality, delivery, etc.)

So rather than spending hours and hours on generating tender submissions that you aren’t confident in winning, look at how you can get your company in the best possible shape to win new business. Why do you think your tender submissions fail? If you aren’t sure, ask.


  • Certification to appropriate management system standards that will provide assurance that you can manage associated risk (such as quality, health and safety, environment, information security, business continuity, etc.)
  • Standards. What standards are critical to your business and industry? Do you have internal standards? Do you have external standards? Do your products and services meet international or British standards? Put yourself in the position of the buyer – why would I do business with you?
  • Best practice. How can you demonstrate best practice? Buyers want to do business with the best companies.
  • Skills/experience/education. How do you your people demonstrate that they can provide the quality of work required in the tender specification?
  • Processes. Can your processes handle the work (should you win it)? Can you demonstrate that you have the capabilities?
  • Regulations. Identify the regulations relevant to you business, environment, products and services. You should already have done this, but can you provide evidence that your obligations are met?

This list isn’t exhaustive. But I think you get the idea. These are all barriers to growth and will hold you back until they are managed.

Tenders can be lucrative – don’t let them slip by.


Back to Blog