7 Crucial Tips for Winning Tenders

7 Crucial Tips for Winning Tenders

Tenders deliver valuable new sales opportunities and winning Tenders is easier than you think – providing you follow these essential guidelines

The UK public sector issues over 70,000 tenders every year to procure £220 Billion of products & services. To participate in this lucrative market place remember these vital tips when bidding for tenders.

1. Make sure tender opportunities match your core business strengths

This may mean filtering or refining the tenders you’ve been have receiving in order to achieve the best match between the client’s requirements and your capabilities. Remember – there are over 9000 different tender categories.

2. Thoroughly examine your tender notices

 Read your tender notices’ carefully and look for clues in terms of what the clients’ requirements and expectations really are for the tender. Be aware of any mandatory requirements and be sure you can meet them. Eg health and safety policies, quality procedures, minimum turnover, staff required to possess certain key qualifications. If in doubt contact the client and ask.

3. Pre-qualification (the PQQ or SQ) is crucial

Many organisations inviting tenders will expect you to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire. They will inevitably pick only the highest ranking bidders. Where your tender-bid appears in the ranking process will often depend on how many other companies are bidding for the tender and the level of competition this represents.

4. Be realistic about your capabilities in relation to requirements of tenders

Be realistic about the limitations of your business and how much you can deliver. Consider this from the clients’ perspective and how they will view the facts and figures that you will be required to provide about your business. Review this information carefully. Are there potential gaps or weaknesses in your capability ? If so, consider discussing these with the client before submitting. Also, estimate the costs of fulfilling the tender contract and your potential profit to see if it is worthwhile bidding.

5. Consider collaboration on tenders

If you think there is a real possibility that your tender-bid might be discounted (perhaps because your company is too small in relation to the size of contract or doesn’t have the full complement of skills required) but does possess a strong capability in one of the key areas of the bid then why not consider a joint bid with another business whose skills / experience complement your own

6. Become a second-tier supplier on the tender

…… to the company that wins the tender. This also means avoiding the tendering process altogether. You will simply be required to provide a straightforward quote for the product or service required. A Contract Award Notice will tell you which company has won the tender you are interested in.

7. And finally most important of all – Know when NOT to bid

The bravest decision is sometimes not to bid for a particular tender if you feel your business may possess weaknesses in some key areas. There will always be other tenders that better match the all-round capabilities of your business. With some tenders your best chance of success may lie in being a second-tier supplier to the winning bidder (see Contract Awards above).

If your business is not able to do the job properly, that will become evident from your tender, and you will have wasted the time and money you spent in tendering. And if by some miracle you do win, if the job is unsuitable for your business it will just create headaches for you.

So, how do you choose which tenders to go for, and which to walk away from ?


Here’s a brief list of the main warning signs :-


  • The tender should not be too big for your cash flow. The job should definitely be less than 35% of your turnover, and ideally less than 25%, so that you don’t end up over- trading. Yes, a big contract might be tempting, but if it’s too big for you at the moment, the course of wisdom is to walk away.


  • You also need to ensure that the size of the tender will not conflict with serving your existing customers. If the new work takes resources away from the service you currently provide for them, they won’t like the consequent reduction in your quality of service, and they might leave you for a competitor. By avoiding such resource conflicts, you maintain your long-term customer base.


  • You should have all the formal accreditations required by the buyer. If you don’t, you’ll be kicked out at PQQ stage.


  • The tender must be within the limits of your company’s skill base. You should have the necessary experience, and not have to hire any



You can get tenders that perfectly match your business needs from Total Tenders. We’ll create a customised Tenders account for you and you’ll receive Tenders that really want the products and services supplied by your company. Plus – there’s tons of case studies, guides, and white papers to help you create outstanding bids.

And you can even start with a Free Trial (no credit card required) !