There are so many questions to consider when creating a winning tender bid. Have we defined our unique selling proposition? Have we answered all the criteria? Is our pricing competitive? Why is this all so difficult? In the midst of all that angst, it can be easy to forget that even small things can make a big difference to the overall look and quality of your submission.
Yep, formatting. It’s amazing the number of ‘final’ versions we review whose formatting is all over the place. Make sure margins, bullet point styles, heading hierarchy, font styles and sizes, indenting and line spacing are all consistent. Be hyper-vigilant that anything you’ve cut and pasted into the document doesn’t come with rogue formatting of its own. And for heaven’s sake, make sure its tone and style is consistent with the rest of the document, too.
Including a contents page is always a great idea. Make sure that contents entries match the headings on the actual page (we’ll assume you’ve remembered to include page numbers). A contents page looks professional and makes it way simpler for assessors to find what they want. Making an assessor’s life easier in any way you can is always a good move.
Always include your company name and logo and the prospect’s name and tender code on each page.
Resist all temptation to simply plonk your team’s CVs at the end of the document in the style they’ve been sent to you. Your people are meant to be one cohesive unit, right? Then make them look like one by presenting their experience, skills and specialties in a standardised fashion. Clear headshots of each team member are an excellent idea, too.
Ensure each appendix is clearly referenced in the text and that the numbers and titles match up.
Breaking up text by inserting a relevant image is a great idea, but an image without a caption serves no purpose. It really is not up to the assessor to try and work out how a photo of miles of cabling demonstrates your company’s ability to get the job done.
Inserting any graph or chart that has not been professionally resized to make it legible is a mortal sin.
Engage the services of a graphic designer to set out your submission so that it really looks like the business. They’ve got the skills to give it the gloss it needs and ensure it flows well as a document. If submitting your bid in physical format, consider having it professionally printed and bound.