I sometimes think about the poor person whose job it is to repeatedly sit all day evaluating and assessing the tenders that we submit. It can not be an easy job. Particularly those repetitive, wordy and lengthy tenders, where scores of businesses have responded, within a generic tender response form with ‘insert your response here’ instructions. What a nightmare!

I am sure everyone reading this has been guilty at least once of downloading a standard response template, filling answers in the allocated space, and dutifully submitting. Sometimes you are short on time. Sometimes you are low on capacity. But in today’s competitive tendering market can you really afford to be so generic?

We have done the research for you

Aurora Marketing recently undertook a ‘behind closed doors’ research project which revealed insights from tender evaluators – which you can view here.

We conducted our research using a combination of surveys, telephone interviews and face-to-face meetings with the people whose job it is to formally assess tenders on evaluation panels for both public and private organisations.

One of our findings was when a bidder provides an ‘off the shelf’ submission or a business-as-usual response, at best they will score is 5/10. That is a pass mark at best and is not considered a competitive submission.

One of our interviewees even said:

“I get a headache just thinking of some of the tenders I have had to evaluate. They’re horrendous to look at, making them a hard slog to review.”

As a tendering expert I know that the written word is an important aspect of a successful tender submission. However, the other equally important aspect of a successful tender is the visual presentation of those words.

Your brand is important

All businesses these days have a branding style of some scale; a logo, a preferred font, and a colour palette that represents the essence of the organisation.

Numerous research studies have shown that brand strength can have a strong effect on consumer experience. In a non-tendering related example; consumers were asked to taste wine. One was presented in a bottle with a prestigious brand label and one in a bottle with a budget brand label. Even though the wine in both the bottles was exactly the same, overwhelmingly, the consumers indicated the prestigious branded bottle tasted better. What they tasted was completely determined by their brand expectations.

This example can be related back to tendering. If you take the generic response form in the tender document, and obediently insert your responses into the gaps provided, you become the ‘budget brand label’ and you are missing a valuable opportunity to tap into the subconscious of the tender evaluator.

The tender evaluator will always score the written word consciously and objectively. However, on a subconscious level, tenders with strong branding, accompanied by diagrams and pictographs, often can be assessed higher as a result of the consumer experience.

How to get that personalised feel

This is the fun part! After you have extracted all the questions from the generic response template in the tender document, create a submission that is consistent with your brand. This applies to the application of your logo, fonts and colour palette.

The most important thing to remember is while modifying the layout, never change the words or re-order the questions provided in the generic tender response form, they must remain exactly the same.

When creating your customised tender response template, ensure that you:

  • Create a captivating cover page that references the tender name, number, purchaser name and date.
  • Include your logo in the header of every page – Front of eyes front of mind!
  • Make sure each page is numbered.
  • Include a table of contents.
  • Get creative with table styles and colours.
  • Add diagrams or graphs where a visual description would be more powerful to portray your message.
  • Add images where appropriate.

Trust me, your tender evaluator is going to thank you!

Aurora Marketing specialises in helping companies win their tenders and position themselves for success.

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