A tender briefing is a useful method for buyers to provide information about a tender process with potential respondents and may even involve a visit to inspect a proposed service site.
Tender briefings may be conducted prior to the tender being advertised, however usually it is conducted within a week or two of the tender being released to the market. Some tender briefings are compulsory, and not attending can lead to your tender submission being disqualified.
One of the first things you should confirm when you receive your tender documentation (besides the lodgement date of course) is if the buyer offers a tender briefing. If it has, the two most important pieces of information you should establish is if the tender briefing is compulsory, and when you are required to RSVP by. Often you will only have a few days from the tender documents being released to the market until the RSVP date, so it is important to confirm this straight away.
Bidsmith strongly recommends that businesses always attend a tender briefing.
This is for a number of reasons:
- It shows the buyer that that you are serious – They have made the effort to host the event, so make the effort to attend.
- You get to see your competition – Knowing who you are up against can be useful in terms of shaping your tender submission.
- You get to meet the buyer – This gives you an opportunity to start developing relationships with their representatives and gives you a face in an otherwise faceless transaction.
- Your questions may be answered verbally – This will help you understand the intent and content of an answer.
- You could gain some information, either visually or verbally, that you may not have received otherwise – This might prove beneficial in your tender preparation.
When you attend the tender briefing the most important thing is to go prepared!
This means in advance of the tender briefing:
- Read the entire suite of tender documents that were released to the market.
- Highlight any areas of concern and write down any questions you may have.
- Print out all appropriate tender notices and documents so you can take them with you to the tender briefing (or alternatively load them onto a tablet where they are easily accessible).
- Enlist a colleague or relevant manager to come with you to ensure you don’t miss anything, and to assist in developing relationships with the buyer.
At the tender briefing:
- Ensure you arrive early – Some tender briefings require security passes to be arranged or identification to be authenticated before they startt.
- Ensure you are dressed appropriately – Not only does this imply you should ‘dress to impress’ but also wear PPE or suitable footwear if necessary.
- Make a note of all the people / competitors in attendance – As mentioned in our previous blog, knowing who you are up against can be useful when it comes to the tender writing stage.
- Take business cards – tender briefings are a great place for business development and handing out a business card can be a great ice breaker when introducing yourself to the buyer representatives.
- But most importantly TAKE NOTES! – This is a no brainer.
When it comes to asking questions at tender briefing, we would recommend that you don’t be the first to speak out as one of your competitors might ask one of your questions for you. But this is why buyers host these briefings. So, if you do want additional information or clarification on an item, introduce yourself and speak confidently.
Once the tender briefing or site visit has finished, buyers should formally publish everything that transpired including all questions asked and the official responses to those questions. This then becomes important “official” information you can use to develop your tender response.
Attending a tender briefing will hopefully give you a better comprehension of the things that are important to the buyer.
If you follow these strategies your chances of successfully submitting a compelling tender will increase greatly.