How to win healthcare tenders

In 2021 the UK published over 10,000 healthcare-related tenders to meet their vast requirements for consumables, equipment, and services.
If you want a chance of securing some of this work, whether it be outright or as part of a framework or DPS, then you will need to know what it takes to win. Below are our top tips for boosting your chances of success.

Define your scope of work

Having clear and specific details of the types of opportunities you will go for is important. This will save you a lot of time in the long run by helping you to make ‘Go’ or ‘No go’ decisions when reviewing notices. Without a clearly defined scope of work, you could take on work outside of your capabilities or waste time writing bids for work that you are never going to be considered for.

Your scope of work can also be used to guide your tender searches, by giving you the keywords to run your searches. To help you get started, we have hundreds of predefined healthcare keywords that you can use to help identify the types of opportunities you will bid for. You can also click into each of these, adjust the filters to suit your business, and get an idea of how many related opportunities you could expect to find.

Check that you are eligible to bid for work

With your scope of work defined, you can start familiarising yourself with the qualification criteria you can expect to encounter. From looking at past and current tender notices, you will be able to see what buyers are looking for and make sure you are able to provide evidence.

Some considerations you should make before bidding for work in the public sector:

  • Can you provide at least 3 months’ worth of bank statements? While not always mandatory, you will often be required to prove the legitimacy of your business with financial records.
  • Can you provide 2-3 years’ worth of accounts? While not always mandatory, you will often be required to prove the capability of your business with financial records.
  • Do you have demonstratable experience of working on similar projects?
  • Are there any industry relevant accreditations or qualifications that you might need?

To discuss your eligibility to tender for work in the public sector, you can speak to one of our experts on 0800 222 9009.

Always have a tendering plan

Always have a plan in place before you start bidding for work - ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. As a guide, you can break your tendering planning into 9 steps:

  1. Evaluate the tender – what are you Go/No Go triggers
  2. Review and deconstruct the information available to you
  3. Create your bid plan
  4. Strategy Development
  5. Answer planning
  6. Answer development
  7. Answering
  8. Proofing and review
  9. Tender Submission

For advice and actions to take during each of these steps, please consult our post ‘The 9-step tender writing process’.

Pay attention to the requirements

At the most basic level, your submissions will be checked to ensure you meet the supplier specifications and the requested information has been provided. One of the most frequent themes for negative feedback from buyers is suppliers not answering the questions correctly or providing everything that was required. You need to fully understand what is being asked of you, and then ensure that everything the buyer has asked for and needs, is covered clearly within your proposal.

At the scoring stage, your bids will be evaluated based on quality and commercial (price). All contracts will specify how much weight (scoring value) has been placed on each component, and that information will help you with your strategy. For example, if the contract is heavily weighted towards quality, how much sense would it be to focus on a low cost, low quality solution? Full details on award criteria can be found in our post ‘What criteria do buyers use to evaluate bids?’

Manage your time effectively

Use your bid plan to set realistic deadlines and always ensure you have enough time to create a strong proposal. It may take a couple of attempts to know how much time is needed for each stage of your bid plan. Here are our top tips to help manage your time.

If the timeline is not realisitc, it might be best to pass certain opportunities and aim to prioritise opportunities with more favourable timescales. Our tender alerts can notify you as soon as opportunities are published.

Lack of resource can see acceptable timescales quickly becoming unmanageable. By using the 9-step bid plan above, you can identify areas where you might be losing time, and take steps to remedy them – such as asking a colleague or consultant for assistance.

Focus on quality and not quantity. You might think more opportunities to win new work is a good strategy, but not giving each bid the time and effort it deserves will only reduce your chances of success. Prioritise the best opportunities for your business, and only take on as much work as you can efficiently manage.