Copying-and-pasting answers from previous tenders is not a technique that will win your company new tenders.
Every tender in your industry asks its questions differently, but perhaps 75-80% of the actual content required is the same or very similar. This makes it tempting to copy-and-paste content from previous tenders, but the resulting response rarely answers the actual question asked.
It is acceptable to use previously written material, but it should only be a starting point and not the complete answer. Responses must be tailored to the questions asked.
Steps in answering a tender question
1. Analyse the question
- Understand what is it specifically asking for. Read the question several times and think about it.
- How many parts are in the question? Some questions ask more than one thing.
- What content type is it, e.g. IT, customer service, resources, etc. Are you sure?
2. Set up a framework for responding
This can be as straightforward as taking some headings from the question to organise your content. It can also mean deciding from your analysis how you wish to answer the question or what is required to answer the question. On occasion your analysis will reveal that the question asked requires a lengthy answer (thousands of words), an answer that will take significant resources to create, or an answer that repeats the material in a previous question or questions. You will need to decide if there are acceptable shortcuts you can use or whether you just have to invest the time and resources required to create the full content requested.
Some examples of organising the content requested
Detail your relevant and adequate experience and your ability to deliver within prescribed time frames and budgets.
Relevant and adequate experience
- Business overview
- Work experience as a language service provider
Ability to deliver within time frames and budgets
- Time frames
- Client examples of meeting time frames/budgets
Detail the resources currently within your organisation and how they are adequate to provide language services to all participating Victorian courts and tribunals including regional locations.
Resources available to deliver services
- External resources
Adequacy to supply services to all courts/tribunals and locations
- Regional locations
3. Tailor the response
Once you have the question response headings in place, THEN consider what existing material might be reused.
Copy it in and TAILOR IT to your headings. It is essential to remove/change references to previous tendering companies – it is a really terrible look when they get through and are read by the new prospect.
Easiest type of content to reuse
The easiest type of content to reuse is for standard questions expressed simply. For example:
- Provide your company profile.
- What is your service methodology?
- Provide a case study demonstrating how you work with clients.
- What is your OHS policy/environmental policy/XYZ policy?
- What is your company’s business structure?
- List the skills, qualifications and experience of staff who will be working on this contract.
Even in these instances, make sure you reread the text carefully to add/delete anything that will improve the quality of the response and remove any previous tendering company names that may have been used.
Need help with writing your tender response? See our tender writing page.
Photo: ‘Santa’ Jack Skellington welcomes visitors to his Haunted Christmas Mansion, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California.