Video: How we work with tender response writing clients

It's no secret that tender responses are a lot of work. They're also difficult to get right.

In this episode of Mint Conversations, we explain how Mint Content takes the stress out of writing a winning tender response. We help our clients feel prepared and confident - not frazzled and overwhelmed. 

As always, have a watch or read the transcript below, and let us know what you think in the comments. 

Video transcript

James
Hi there. I'm James from Mint Content.

Amy
I'm Amy from Mint Content. Today we're going to be talking about some of our processes about how we work with clients when we're working on tender responses and business proposals.

They're massive projects, they take a long time, and when people call us they kind of know they they need something written but they don't know where exactly to start, or how we can help them. 

James
Correct. Often they're a little bit reluctant or reticent because they don't understand our processes, they don't understand that sometimes an outside consultant can be a valuable asset when it comes to producing tender response copy and eliciting great response copy from all of your resources; whether they're technical or management resources.

It's sometimes really good to have an outsider to actually get in there and drive the process.

Amy
Okay, so if I am a business and I've got you on the phone and I need a tender response written and I say "Okay, great, I want to start working with you, the tender's due in three weeks," where do we start?

James
The way that we start is ... Or the way that I would start is that I would consume the documentation at a very high level ...

Amy
By documentation do you mean the details of the tender response document?

James
Correct. Yes. All of the tender response documents, RFT, all of the requirements, I'd basically consume that and get a high level picture of how much effort is involved.

Then we'd sort of set up the commercial arrangement, generally we use pre-paid packs of ours that we find that those are the best way to proceed when it comes to tender responses.

Then I immediately just plug into any big management processes that are in the client's organisation that they might run. I get my head around those, that doesn't take very long at all.

Alternatively, if there's not a lot of maturity in that area, we can plug an outside company into Mint Content's own workspaces to develop tender response copy to manage the publishing, manage the work flow and keep everything ticking away on time and on schedule and make sure the quality is really high.

We can take any company whether they're new to responding to tenders, trying to get government work, or go for big, private jobs, we can take them, plug them into our systems. Alternatively, jump into their processes and systems there.

Amy
Okay. Let's focus then on people who might be less mature, because they're less likely to have a whole bunch of the sort of materials that you need to submit a tender response.

James
Correct.

Amy
If I am looking through and this ... I've got some bits of information like about my company and employee profiles but there's a whole bunch of this material that I think might either be like sitting over there or over there or needs to be developed.

How do you work with me to get all of the information that you need, to be able to write the tender response?

James
Yes. What I'll do is unpack the response into a wiki tool like Confluence, and I will identify all of the gaps there based on what the client has and what they don't have, and maybe what needs to be reworked to the particular bid in question.

Then it's just a question of project management after that; you have identified a backlog of items and content that you need and you need to then find the people in the client organisation who can contribute and help you develop content for those particular bits and pieces.

Amy
Is that you reaching out to each of those people individually?

James
That's right. As best as possible I try and become that client contact. If there's multiple people within a business that need to contribute to a response I prefer it if I own the product of the tender response itself in terms of bid management so I can actually be empowered to get in there and communicate directly with the people that I need to help me develop content.

Amy
So you just talk to whoever you need, basically?

James
Correct, yeah. Alternatively though, if there's someone in the client organisation that is empowered to allocate resources around the company that can also be a fantastic working relationship, as well.

Amy
How long does the tender response take to write?

James
That's a good question. How long is a piece of string?

Some bids can take a few days, up to, you know, 20 hours or so for a kind of large government ICT Panel.

A giant, huge, logistical bid for a mining company or a huge, big IT implementation could take a couple of weeks of full time work to develop content and write solution architectures with technical resources, address requirements in a great, elegant style and QA the bid very deeply to identify...

Amy
What do you mean when you said QA?

James
Quality assure. QA is industry speak for quality assure. When it comes to developing a tender response it very much depends on how long the bid ... How much work is in the bid itself, plus the maturity of the client's content; a multitude of different factors.

Amy
Can you make [the tender response document] look nice at the end, as well?

James
We sure can, we sure can. We're experts in the whole Microsoft Word fenagling and cover pages, graphic design, all of that stuff we can do.

Amy
Okay, and can you, if I get you to look after one of my tender responses for me, how much of that information in that document can I then pull out and recycle for other ...

Like, basically, does the work that you do for one tender response have value beyond that initial response?

James
It certainly does. The way that I like to write and generate content for tender responses is to view the tender response copy as reusable across multiple channels.

If we develop a case study for a tender response we should repurpose that into a case study for the client's website, turn it into blog posts, really use the tender response as a way to generate a whole bunch of content in one fell swoop.

Which is an efficient way to look at a tender response, as well. Even if you actually don't end up winning the bid that you're going for, there's still value in doing a tender response because it give you a deadline, it makes your team focus on producing content or reworking content to make it even better.

You can use that content all through your business, on the web, brochure ware, white papers, infographics, whatever your flavour of content.

Amy
Okay. If I buy a pack from you of hours ... because we do it by packs ... and I don't use all of those hours, can I use them on a different project?

James
Definitely, definitely. Any unused hours with us you can just spend on anything that your heart desires.

Amy
That's in our service catalogue.

James
Yes, anything that's in our service catalogue.

Amy
Is there anything else that a potential customer might need to know about the way that you do tender responses or the way that we work before they pick up the phone and say "Write them all for us, right now, please."

James
Yeah. To understand my own methods and what I focus on when it comes to writing copy for tender responses, read [my posts on tender response writing on] Mint Content's blog around what's the best way to address like an executive summary for example, you can get a good picture of what I focus on or what I think is the most important thing to focus on there. 

Call us up and we can give you samples of our work. Mint Content goes for its own government work, so happy to share any tender responses there that we've got in the pipeline to get a look at our quality. Which is top notch!

Amy
It is indeed.

James
All right. Thanks for watching.

Amy
Yeah. Any questions, visit our website or give us a call. 

James
Indeed. Or send me an email, james@mintcontent.com.au.