It was one of those moments when I realised that my greatest strength was also my greatest weakness. “I can’t believe how well you simplify things!”, I said. “I can’t believe how well you complicate things!”, he replied.
And it wasn’t just me. Over the preceding days we had both read and evaluated many tenders. These had been received from major corporations bidding for a high profile multi-million dollar government transformation program. All of them had strived to impress us with their sophisticated solutions for our needs. Some of them had.
Tenderer techniques that helped the evaluation panel in their work included:
1. Wrote with the evaluation criteria front of mind.
2. Submitted their response on time.
3. Answered the question. No more. No less.
4. Retained the prescribed look of the response document.
5. Clear about their capabilities (and where they have gaps).
6. Respected government probity obligations.
7. Provided case studies of clearly relevant experience.
8. Recognised that the public service is not deliberately awkward.
Government evaluation of tenders is a thorough, slow, deliberate and highly analytical process. Traditional business-to-business sales techniques are far less effective in this environment. This might frustrate some, and it’s an opportunity for others.
How effectively are you investing your time on tenders?