Denise O’Leary featured in Insider Media Ask the Expert on Bidding Strategy

How do we win that Government contract? Denise O’Leary, managing director of Purpol Marketing, lends her expertise for businesses. Many businesses are aware of the opportunity and potential of selling into government – but they worry about their chances of success. Like every type of business development, bidding for government contracts demands understanding and conformance with strict procurement requirements and an effective strategy.
For success you need to generate a compelling response to the contract backed up with relevant evidence.
The good news is the change in EU Regulations, which came into force two years ago, means it is now easier for smaller businesses to win these contracts.

You can now expect:

  • A single portal to publish opportunities
  • A move towards e-procurement
  • A focus on Social Value and Environmental issues
  • Standardising processes and documents
  • Encouraging consortia and supply chain opportunities
  • Full life-cycle costing when awarding contracts

To help smaller businesses the criteria have been changed to:

  • Large contracts split into Lots
  • Faster supplier payment – maximum 30 days
  • Turnover cap set at no more than two times contract value
  • Self-declarations meaning only the winning bidder has to provide full information
  • Market consultations actively encouraged

Remember to ‘MEAT’ the criteria:

There was traditionally the belief the lowest price bid will win. However this has now been changed to evaluate a wider brief based on ‘MEAT’ criteria or the “Most Economically Advantageous Tender”.

MEAT factors may include quality, price, technical merit, aesthetic, functional and environmental characteristics, running costs, cost effectiveness, after sales service, technical assistance, delivery date and period of completion.

When assessing a bid, a ratio based marking approach may be adopted, showing the proportion of score allocated to both the quality and the price elements.

Ratio scores of Price: Quality could be 50:50; 60:40; or even 90:10 for a very high risk procurement where risk may determine a much greater focus on quality elements.

Please be consistent:

Consistently successful bids are always structured in line with the client expectations as stated in the tender requirements, and deliver a compelling reason as to why you should be selected – backed up with relevant evidence.

To stand out from the crowd, each business will need to prove that it is:

  • An established business
  • A low risk choice

Able to add value to the client

Government funded procurement departments want to deal with local businesses, however you will need to understand what procurement routes are used and do as much research as possible in advance of the procurement to find out the buyer needs.

‘Meet the buyer’ events, industry days and exhibitions as well as relevant news and social media feeds are all useful in gaining detail on the requirements.

The assessment criteria must be as supported by evidence at the bid stage – so make sure you have well developed case studies and client testimonials to use as proof within your application.


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