Having dealt with many tenders over the years, I can honestly say that I have seen examples of the best and worst.
Developing tender skills, not only for the production of the response document, but also in relation to the presentation process, should be a priority for all staff - particularly within the small to medium-sized enterprise groups, where core employees are often required to participate.
While responding might appear to be a minefield to the novice, taking a methodical and careful approach can make the process much easier, and anyone can learn to do this effectively.
First, try and bring a consistent and logical approach into play. Answer the questions that have been asked. The biggest problems usually arise when an OH professional is asked to complete a costing matrix, and it just doesn't fit their fee schedule. If this is the case, try to stick to the costing matrix as closely as possible, even if it means that you need to bundle or cost certain services separately, such as pre-employment. If you can't, make sure that you provide a full explanation. Don't leave anything open to misinterpretation.
Start by keeping the entire tender process in mind. This will always follow the pattern: pre-qualification, tender, additional responses, presentation, and final negotiations.
Confirmation - If you need to confirm that you will be participating in the tender process, do it and do it promptly, or you may find you have fallen at the first hurdle.
Preparing for response - Make a copy, either paper or electronic. Take time to read the entire document from beginning to end - my preferred method is a slow, meticulous read with highlighter and red pen in hand. Make sure that any other team member(s) assigned response duties are given as much notice as possible to complete their sections, particularly the financial specialists. Crucially, make sure that everyone knows the submission date.
Questions - If there is something that you don't understand, address it at the beginning. Often there is a time limit on when questions can be asked. Most potential clients will share questions and answers with all respondents, so you will often find that others have similar question