Lesson 3: Capability and Experience

Capability and experience is vital to any tender response you write. It shows the client your skills and experience in delivering the goods and/or services for similar contracts, clients or industry sectors. Your capability and experience is what sets your company apart from your competitors, reinforcing your brand and value proposition. 

Tender Tip

When reviewing your tender response, the client will be asking:   “Does the tenderer have experience in providing the products and/or services specified?” 

That’s why it’s important your response demonstrates your skills and experience.  

Tender questions often use the word ‘demonstrate’. This means you need to provide examples, statistics or case studies to show the client that you have achieved outcomes on your projects. 

Your Customer Listing 

A customer listing or overview gives the client an understanding of the businesses you work with and the sectors you work across, also showing the depth of your experience. 

It’s never wrong to include a client list in your tender response. Clients are interested in seeing the other clients you work with, especially if they are in a similar industry or sector. They also want to see that they are of a similar size, so it’s important to categorise your client list.  

Current and Previous Work 

Your current and previous projects showcase your ability to deliver the required goods or services. They show you’ve had experience in delivering similar products or services that are on the same scale that’s required in the specifications. 

Include a summary of three to five previous and current clients who are relevant to the tender contract. Include only contracts of a similar size, value or nature to this tender and provide details about each contract, such as: 

  • The length of the contract 
  • A detailed description of the products and services you provided 
  • The benefits and outcomes of your service delivery 
  • If possible, include the tangible benefits to the client. For example, “Our services saved our client $150,000 over two years thanks to the implementation of an online system.” 

Case Studies  

One way of confidently demonstrating your tender experience is by providing case studies of similar projects you’ve completed. For most tenders and proposals, these case studies should be at least one paragraph in length and provide enough detail so the tender evaluators can easily understand the work you did. A good case study should include the following:  

  • What was delivered (provide as much detail as possible) 
  • Any interesting facts about the project (e.g. challenges that were overcome or approaches used) 
  • The project outcome 
  • Innovations implemented 
  • Cost savings or savings across the project 

Tender Tip

When developing your case study, make sure you ask for approval from the client if you are using the case study in tender responses or for marketing purposes. 

When contacting the client, ask them: 

  • Can they provide you with some feedback from the job such as a testimonial? 
  • Would they be prepared to act as a referee for you? 

Testimonials 

The most powerful way to boost your credibility – and sales – is by using the best possible referees, testimonials and case studies. One of the most effective ways to substantiate what you offer is to provide real, first-hand information based on customer feedback.  

When using testimonials or quotations from your customers, make sure they are real! It’s usually quite easy to spot a fake testimonial. Other things to include:   

  • Give each testimonial a headline 
  • Include the full name, position and company of the person giving the testimonial 
  • Make them powerful and succinct 
  • Include only the most influential points relevant to your services 

Example – Testimonial 
Boral Limited – Most professional of all technical writers we used 

“Thank you for your fabulous support and effort in meeting the demands Boral and I have asked of you. For our ‘Boral Health and Safety Management System’ project we employed three technical writing organisations to achieve our compressed timeframe. Of these, Dawtek was without hesitation the most professional in its ability to combine information, research, communicate and deliver a professional product on time.”  
Stuart Clark, Manager HEALTH AND SAFETY Systems & Support 
www.boral.com.au 

References 

Client references often form part of the tender criteria. When using a client as a reference, first make sure you have their approval to use their details.  

Provide your references in a simple table format and highlight the services you provided. This will help the client if they have any questions relating to the services. 

Tender Tip

If you are using referees from projects that are two or three years old, it’s a good idea to check the contact details are still valid and if the contact person still works in the same position. 

Also, ask them what kind of reference they are going to provide. You don’t want them to give you a bad reference!  

Another kind of document to add to your bid library is reference letters. Although they aren’t common in today’s tendering process, they do pop up from time to time. A reference letter can be inserted into the document as an image in order to provide support and again, demonstrate your capability and experience.