How to Write A Winning Tender Proposal

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In this article, we’ll be sharing a few tips on how to write a winning tender proposal that is poised for success. If you haven't, read our blog on the 5 steps for successful tendering, as it sets the stage for a process that maximises your chances of winning tenders.

Writing A Winning Tender Proposal

These pointers are based on our experience on what has worked well. After reading this, you can adapt and modify them to your own style and needs. So here goes, the top tips for writing tender bids:

Always have a proposal

Submitting marketing brochures, price lists and compliance tables are important, but they are not proposals. Regardless of the value of the tender, always submit a proposal that makes it easier for the evaluating team to put your bid up for approval. A technique we use when preparing proposals is called 'Answer the Tender'.

Answer the Tender

This technique ensures that your proposal is written for maximum impact, and basically seeks to give the evaluation team the confidence that you have thought through their requirements and have a good idea of what needs to be done to successfully deliver and support the project. For every single requirement, you need to be able to answer:

  • How?

    • How do you intend to meet this requirement? You need not spell this out for every single requirement since the length of the proposal is always going to be a constraint and not every clause holds equal weight in terms of importance. Instead look for the clauses that are specific to the tender and focus on them, especially if you can differentiate from the competition. As an example of what not to focus on: many tenders have boilerplate clauses for support and warranty requirements that probably were not written by the evaluation team. They probably would not focus too much attention on these clauses, other than to check that the proposal complies with those clauses.
  • Who?

    • Who are the people needed to meet these requirements? These should be consolidated into a project organization chart.
  • When?

    • When can you meet these requirement? These should be consolidated into your proposed schedule.

Value Proposition

Every tender has at least 1 requirement that carries significant weight. Identify this key factor and differentiate yourself from the competition with respect to this requirement.

Executive Summary

Assume your reader has a 3-minute attention span, and write a 1 page summary of your proposal that can be read in those 3 minutes. It should include your value proposition, differentiating points, your price and value, and how you can meet all requirements.

The Basics

Finally, we close out the article covering a few basic things to look out for:

  • Concise

    Get your message across in as little words as possible. As a guide, for project values up to $300,000, keep it to about 1-2 pages per $10,000 of tender value.

  • Price breakdown and summary

    Make it easy for the buyer to understand what your total project price is and what the components are. In tenders with many options or tiered pricings, it sometimes helps to include some calculation examples in your pricing table.

  • Compliance table

    Remember to submit this table and comply with every requirement. If you cannot comply with everything, don't bid.

  • Required materials

    Be sure to read the Instructions to Tenderers a few times, and make a checklist of everything that is required as part of the submission. Read through the requirements and also note each clause that states you have to submit something as part of the tender submission. Run through this checklist before you submit your proposal, and ensure that everything required is in your proposal. Being meticulous here will prevent you from an automatic disqualification for not including information that is required.

  • Spell Check and Grammar

    Ensure your message and value proposition can get across to the evaluation team without language getting in the way.


And there you go, a few simple things to watch out for when preparing your bids and to writing your winning tender proposal. We hope this clarifies what needs to go into your proposal, and just as important, what should not be included. Share your thoughts with us with a comment below or via our contact form.

Happy Tendering!


Want a copy of our Tendering Proposal Guide? Download it below! 

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