Selling to Government Special Series – Part Five: Tips for writing a winning tender response

23 January 2020

Six steps to success in government tenders


Step One – Understand the customer

The first step to providing a strong tender or quotation response is to research the department or agency that is or will be advertising, so you have a greater understanding of their core service offerings and high-level policy directions.

Proper due diligence can help give you insights into the requirements of the tender or quotation and help you focus your response. If you know of an upcoming tender in advance, take the opportunity to speak to the Project Officer before the tender is released.

Start your research by visiting the relevant department's website and the Victorian Government Directory.

Step Two – Understand the key probity and policy requirements

Understand the critical procurement policies that apply and the responsibilities of current and prospective bidders such as:

  • Probity (under the Market Approach Policy)
  • Market Approach Policy
  • Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP)
  • Disclosure of Contracts (under the Contracts Management and Contracts Disclosure Policy)
  • Tender Complaints Management (under the Governance Policy)
  • Performance and Financial Guarantees.

Step Three – Understand the questions and respond in full

The second step is to thoroughly read each tender item within the context of the evaluation criteria and specifications. It can be helpful to highlight the core requirements and underline each of the supporting elements so that you can be sure to address these in your response adequately.

Your responses should demonstrate your understanding of the product or services required and differentiate your offering from others. You will need to give detailed descriptions of:

  • your methodologies and approaches
  • reference projects or sites, and how these are relevant to the requirements (don't rely on experience without providing detail)
  • how your resources are appropriate for the job.

Then make sure you provide evidence of relevant, recent experience, within the past three years, to back up these statements.

Use this handy checklist: completing a government tender to make sure you've completed every area in full.

Top Tip – Embrace duplication
Answering each question in full can often seem repetitive but don't be tempted to rely on material provided in earlier answers or to cut and paste from one response to another.
Embrace the repetition as a chance to reinforce demonstrated experience and capabilities. Answer every question consistently, accurately and completely.

Step Four – Offer value-added initiatives

Differentiate a tender response using value-added initiatives which:

  • relate to the requirements of the tender
  • are a product or service that is valued by government
  • could be delivered by the contractor without cost or resource impacts.

Step Five - Target your referees or references

Make sure you provide references that relate directly to the key requirements of the tender and that you address each capability criteria listed in the Evaluation Criteria and Specifications.

Top Tip – Customer service counts
Customer Service Proposals (CSPs) differentiate your response and can generate significant variations in scoring. Tenderers may share the same capabilities, but not everyone puts effort into CSPs.
So ensure yours are detailed and comprehensive.

Step Six – Seek feedback

All suppliers will be notified of the outcome of their offer and can request a debrief. If you're unsuccessful, you can ask for feedback on your submission which might help you prepare a stronger proposition in future.

If you've requested and received a debrief and you're still not happy with the process, you can make a complaint. It needs to be lodged directly with the organisation managing the procurement process. You can find details of how to do this in the invitation to supply documentation, or on the organisation's website.

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