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Is your company tender template a recipe for disaster?

Is your company tender template a recipe for disaster?

Plan A

Plan A

Recipe for disaster

We’ve recently been approached by several small-medium companies that have scored poorly in their latest tenders and are asking for help to update their company tender templates.

If you are like these companies, you, too, may be using a tender template as a recipe to help you quickly and easily respond to Requests for Tender (RFTs) by cutting and pasting. Your tender template probably contains all the typical ingredients for a successful tender – such as profiles/CVs and project write-ups. 

While this may sound like a recipe for success, when we analysed the customers’ unsuccessful tenders, we identified that the use of a tender template had actually contributed to the low scores. This is because every tender is different. To continue the recipe analogy, you may be following a recipe for trifle when the customer has ordered meatloaf (or disastrously combining the two).   

For this reason, a good alternative to a tender template is an attributes library. Having lots of separate documents avoids the misconception that there is just one template for a tender.

If you are going to continue to use an in-house tender template to help you with your next tender, please avoid the following common pitfalls:

  1. No customer focus – copying and pasting from your company template means you run the risk of just talking about you. Make sure you start each section by identifying what the customer is looking for and how you can help them to achieve this objective. 
  2. No reference to the project under tender – again, copying and pasting from a template means that you are likely not tailoring your response to the project at hand. For example, for the Relevant Experience/Track Record section, how are the showcased projects similar to the one under tender? What are some of the challenges overcome that will be common to the tendered project? 
  3. No win themes – emphasise what makes your company the best choice for this project 
  4. Exceeding the page limits – as an example, your templated Relevant Skills profiles may be three pages long for each person, and you want to include five people, but the tender requests that you stick to a 6-page limit for the entire section. It is definitely worth taking the time to cull these back. Many tender evaluators will not evaluate anything over the page limit, so some of your personnel may not even be evaluated if you exceed the allowance.  
  5. Not answering the questions –  this may sound obvious, but it is a surprisingly common error. By trying to shoehorn an existing template into a new tender, you run the risk of going off track or missing key components of the question. To prevent this, it is always a good idea to start with a blank document that you can copy into. Convert the tender questions for each section into headings and subheadings and then enter your response below that. This will help the evaluators to quickly and easily find the information they are trying to assess and will thereby improve your scoring. 

As with anything new, it helps to call on an expert for guidance. Get in touch with Plan A and we will make sure your next tender is not half baked and that it suits the palate of your customer!