Tenders: six ways to differentiate yourself from competitors

Today we welcome Deirdre Diamante, Principal of MIA Consulting Services, to share her top tips for making your business stand out from the crowd when responding to tenders.

One of the keys to winning a tender is to go beyond simply demonstrating you can do the job. Many companies can do the job.

What’s going to make the tender or quote evaluators select you?

In general, following an evaluation of company capability, experience and expertise, those companies with the right skills and experience to do the job will be ranked closely together. The secret is to make your business stand out in front of all the others being considered – and I don’t mean by price. By differentiating yourself from your competitors, beyond price, you will achieve the highest tender score and win the competitive advantage.

There are many opportunities for you to differentiate your tender; I have listed some of the main ones here:

1. Customer Service

This is always a highly weighted question and is an excellent opportunity for high scoring. A minimum requirement for projects is regular client meetings to discuss topics such as progress, risks and issues, and cost. However, there are a host of options for additional customer service proposals that will make you stand out.

2. Value Add Initiatives

Whereas customer service proposals enhance the delivery of your product or service, value-add initiatives are typically in addition to what’s being asked for in the tender – although related to the requirements. Your value-add initiative should also be something that only your company can provide and that is of value to government. Moreover, it should be genuine and affordable for your company – and ideally lead to follow-on business. The idea is to provide a bundle of complementary products/services that are extra ‘value for money’. And that can only improve your value-for-money assessment.

3. Quality Systems

Responding well to this section of a tender gives you an immediate edge, since many businesses respond poorly. The existence of a Quality System is hugely important in government contracts. It may not matter if your company does not have full ISO certification or other quality standards, so long as you can demonstrate that you can ensure continuous, high quality outputs.

4. Innovation

Questions on ‘innovation’ are typically looking for companies to identify their use of leading technologies and best practice that will result in better value-for-money outcomes for government. When responding, consider your use of leading technologies and best practice in your end to end delivery processes – such as project management methodologies, customer engagement strategies, risk and issues management processes, and online support.

5. Research and Development

Describing your role in R&D demonstrates your leadership in the solution offered, and that you are willing to invest time and money to improve your company’s operating practices. You should cover R&D activities relating to the primary product or service you are tendering for, as well as supporting activities within your organisation and across the end to end service delivery model.

6. Knowledge Management

It’s important to recognise that knowledge management encompasses more than capturing lessons learned in a database – this is unlikely to differentiate you from competitors. Instead, discuss how you capture, use and share knowledge and how you ensure it is considered before commencing new engagements. Also consider how your knowledge is used and shared by the customer to enhance efficiencies, productivity and ultimately value for money to government.

Please leave a comment if you’d like to share your innovative methods of differentiating your business. And of course we’re always happy to answer questions!

About Deirdre Diamante

Deirdre_news_SQDeirdre Diamante is the founder and principal of MIA Consulting Services. Based on 15 years of experience in procurement and governance roles, Deirdre’s intimate knowledge of public sector procurement environments makes her a sought-after advisor by commercial and public sector organisations alike. Her various educational programs are recognised by Business Victoria and Swinburne University; while her consulting expertise helps companies of all sizes engage MIA logo JPGeffectively with government and win business. Deirdre also works closely with government to implement industry and procurement programs, and serves as Deputy Chair for the Victorian Council of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

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