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Why Many Businesses Are Blowing Time and Money on Needless Tender Submissions

  • Written by Nigel Dennis

Australian businesses are missing out on securing a slice of the $600 billion tender industry by failing to adopt a professional and strategic approach to securing a government or private contract. 

As the bidding industry becomes increasingly sophisticated and competitive, businesses are facing new challenges when it comes to securing successful tender outcomes.  

Gone are the days when hastily assembled and barely compliant tender submissions might be successful. 

A common phrase we hear is ‘you gotta be in it to win it’. This is a prevailing view when it comes to work winning endeavoursQuite simply, in the highly competitive bidding industry, winning is not based on luck like buying a lottery ticket.    

Contrary to popular belief, the concept of submitting multiple tenders as part of a numbers game in the hope of securing one or two contracts to keep a business running is a recipe for failure. 

All this approach does is dilute effort, reduce competitiveness and frustrate your staff when bids lose.  

Companies need to adopt a more strategic ROI-based approach and invest focused time and effort especially in the pre-RFT (Request for Tender) stage to maximise their win rate. 

Businesses must recognise the shifting landscape and the fact that competing for a tender is becoming increasingly competitive and embrace a more strategic mindset right from the outset. 

The bidding industry worldwide is experiencing increased competition in recent years. Factors driving this are globalisation, advances in technology, and the ease of information sharing. Also, with the increasing recognition that winning good contracts underpins cashflow, even more companies are trying their hand at bidding.   

With this in mind, it’s especially important to spend more time working on fewer higher probability tenders and steer away from working on a larger number of often lower probability targets.

If a company believes a 25 percent win rate is good, then think of it this way. Not winning 75 percent of the time means the more bids a company does, the better it becomes at losing. 

It's a job that is often seen as administrative so is delegated to junior or untrained staff, based on their availability. The misconception is that simply ticking all compliance boxes guarantees a chance at winning. Tendering requires specific skills and availability is not one of them. 

In 2021-2022, the Australian Government reported that it awarded approximately $80 billion worth of contracts. This figure does not include state and local Governments or private tenders and contracts which is estimated to take the total value to $600 billion. 

To capitalise on this potential business, here are some key strategies to improve win rates in the tender process: 

  • Comprehensive Market Research: Conduct thorough research to gain a deep understanding of the industry, market trends, and potential competitors. Identify emerging opportunities and align your bid strategy accordingly. 

  • Pre-RFT Engagement: Engage with prospective clients early in the process, even before the formal Request for Tender is issued. Building relationships, understanding client needs and demonstrating your expertise beforehand can significantly enhance your chances of success. 

  • Tailored Value Proposition: Develop a compelling value proposition that addresses the specific challenges of the client. Tailor your submission to clearly articulate how your solution will add value and deliver results better than your competitors. 

  • Collaboration and Partnerships: Consider collaborating with other companies or forming partnerships to strengthen your bid. Collaborative efforts can leverage complementary skills and resources, enhancing the overall competitiveness of your submission. 

  • Innovative Solutions: Demonstrate innovation and creativity in your tender submissions. Showcase and quantify how your unique approach can solve problems more effectively and deliver superior outcomes. 

  • Skills Development: Invest in developing the skills of your bid team, engage the services of a professional bid consultant or employ proven bid management software to streamline the tender process. Bid management is now a recognised profession with a dedicated skillset. 

By adopting these strategies, businesses can position themselves as formidable contenders in the tender process, increase their win rate, and unlock new opportunities for growth. 


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