The Defence Industry is an innovative, evolving and substantial industry with a range of opportunities for companies large and small to secure contracts. Bids and tenders are an inherent part of winning defence contracts. Here are three tips on how to win more:
Writing to win
Defence Tenders often focus on the fundamental principles of the Defence Force and departments. Proposals and bids need to be drafted in Defence focused language and in a way that sells your services by addressing key issues. For example, if the ADF is selling off a fleet of old trucks, this would usually go through a direct sales process as opposed to a tender process. On the other hand, if the ADF or Department of Defence was purchasing new equipment, then a tender process is what to expect. In this case, they will have subject matter experts reviewing the documentation to gain an understanding of the benefits of the equipment. Post sales service and quality are critical, and often outweigh pricing depending on the type of tender.
It’s important to write with confidence and write to win. You need to clearly articulate your key points of difference, and position your organisation as a credible supplier to the defence industry. For example, if you have a track record of supplying other government departments, focus on this, and emphasis your capability to adhere to the additional security and other requirements of the defence industry.
It’s equally important to write in the active voice, and present a convincing argument as to why you should be the winning tender. This is where you want to combine your technical information and supporting documentation with your story, and how you will deliver. Remember, with most defence contracts, there is a strong focus on security, credibility, after sales support and of course quality. Politics comes into it also, however, that is a topic in istelf.
Write confidently, include evidence, and convince the review panel that you are the right supplier for the contract.
Compliance is key
Another key point in developing a response is compliance. Answer every question, and if you are not sure, ask. Asking questions of the procurement panel throughout the tender process is widely accepted and considered the norm. They often give you the opportunity to show your product or service knowledge, by asking insightful questions and developing engagement with the procurement personnel. Whichever way you consider tender responses, it is critical to comply with all regulatory requirements. If there are any compliance issues in the response, your bid or proposal will generally be dismissed. It’s important to note and consider that for transparency reasons, nearly all of the questions your post will also be posted to your competitors with the responses. Therefore, don’t include unnecessary information in your tenders.
Once you understand the competitive landscape, comply with the tender requirements, and have a good grasp of their needs, it’s time to make your tender response shine! Write in a compelling writing style and build and use informative graphics. Quotes, testimonials and ‘action captions’ are also critical to make your proposal standout. Finally, be client centric and keep your response client focused. Defence bids are generally prescriptive, however, there is often scope to add graphics and ensure that your bids reflect graphics and infographics best practice. Where you are providing solutions to complex problems, make sure you take the time to work with your graphic designers and create images that are compelling and informative.
Manage the process
In all our experience completing bids, contracts and tenders for defence industry organisations large and small, one of the key challenges is project managing the response itself. In addition to the bid team (writer, coordinators and illustrators, there are generally a range of internal stakeholders and external consultants who are critical to bringing the bid together. For larger contracts, the bid process can go on for over two years with hundreds of personnel involved in the bid. It’s critical to actively project manage the process. You need to have key responsibilities and accountabilities outlined, as well as ensure draft deadlines are in place. It’s critical to have everything organised from the start, to ensure a seamless bid development process.
Here at The Tender Team, we have the expertise, skillset and experience to assist with the full range of Defence tenders. To employ the services of a consultant with extensive experience in writing defence tenders, contact Jason from The Tender Team on 0410 448 770.