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The Art of Effective Tender Documentation 21 October 2004 What we will cover Structure content messaging Document structure flow Value propositions Content – avoiding assertions

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									The Art of Effective Tender Documentation
21 October 2004
  What we will cover
  Structure, content & messaging
> Document structure & flow
> Value propositions
> Content – avoiding assertions, motherhood
  statements & repetition
> ‘Tone of voice’
> Technical & quantitative information
> Copy templates
> External document review

  Design & visual elements
> Design templates
> Effective visual techniques & tools
> Selecting & applying appropriate software
Structure, content & messaging
Context – The tender process

RFT / EIO      Assess         Establish         Develop
               tender         team              initial
               opportunity                      strategy

Presentation         Documentation        Information
                                          gathering +
                                          refine strategy

Post tender
  Common issues
> Features not benefit-focused
> Generic content – lack of definition around client
  needs & critical business issues
> Don‘t satisfy information requests – non-compliant
> Documents – overly wordy, repetitious
> Lack of compelling, concise Executive Summaries
> CVs – inconsistent, not tailored, not benefit-oriented
> Claims & assertions without credible substantiation
> Lack of personalisation
> Lack of visual relief / techniques
  The fundamentals
> Tender document is = sales communication
> Value proposition: direct, consistent, concise –
  reinforces what is distinctive about your firm
> Strong understanding of client needs, business issues
> Comply with information requests
> Interesting to read (impactful language, visual appeal)
> Easy to read & understand
> Easy to navigate through document
> Differentiating – message / themes, language, look
  Brand alignment
  Tender document must be consistent with your
  firm’s brand strategy; in particular, it must support
  and reinforce your:

> Brand personality (tone & character)
> Brand positioning (differentiator vis a vis competitor)
> Brand promise (the claim you make)
Key Drivers –
Tender decision making

 Understanding                    Service delivery
 industry & business


 Technical expertise              Value for money
Document structure & flow
    Document structure & flow
    Many government & corporate tenders stipulate
    a tight structure; where not so fixed, structure reflects
    key drivers for tender decision making:

1   Executive Summary =
    Value Proposition

2   Understanding Industry-Business =
    Meeting Your Needs / Industry Expertise

3   Service Delivery =
    Our Team / short-form CVs for key people

4   Technical Expertise =
    Audit / Risk Management Methodology etc

5   Value for Money =
    Fees, value adds
  Document structure & flow cont...
> ‘Adding value’– latter part of document
> Firm resources & capabilities – latter part of document
> Firm policies – latter part of document
> Detailed team CVs – Appendix
> Document content checklist – for quality control (i.e. compliance)
  & reader navigation = content checklist (i.e. summary of information
  requirements in RFT & corresponding page / section number)
  Document structure & flow cont...
  Executive Summary
> 2-3 pages maximum (concise, punchy)
> Bullet point / short sentence format
> Reinforce value proposition
> Summary of client / prospects’ needs & priorities
  (and how your firm will meet them)
  Document structure & flow cont...
  Team section / CVs
  Quality photography; CVs based on a standard template:
> Name & role in tender
> Key contact details
> 3–4 core benefits individual brings to tender
> Relevant expertise & experience
> Previous work history
> Qualifications & memberships
  Team structure matches client / prospect organisational structure
Document structure & flow cont...
Industry / specialist expertise
Where possible, summarise diagrammatically;
use testimonials / case studies; demonstrate how
expertise meets needs

Concise, easy to read tables

Technical sections / content
Present diagrammatically to effectively communicate
methodologies & processes
Value propositions
    Value proposition
    Three Key Elements

    It differentiates you (no other firm can make the same
1   claim) in a way that is relevant to clients

2   It resonates with clients / prospects –
    incorporates key client benefits

3   It’s credible – your firm can deliver on it
    Value propositions cont...
    Three types of value propositions based around:

    Operational Excellence = best price for service &
1   products at greatest convenience.

2   Product Leadership = consistently provide the most
    advanced products and / or services.

3   Client Intimacy = meet needs of individual clients through
    product and service personalisation: best total solution for clients.
          Value proposition cont...

                  Delivery & Geographic Coverage
                  Delivery (online, face-to-face, both); Eastern
                  seaboard, national, regional, international

                                                                   Pricing-value proposition:
Industry-Segment Expertise                                         value equation, differential
Specialist resources, expertise                                    pricing, pricing options
& capabilities in relevant
industries / market segments              FIRM A

                                                          Service style-commitment
                                                          Allocation & mix of resourcing; level
            Product Specialisation                        of consistency; service commitment;
            Actual offering; product mix, product         service delivery; value-adds
            innovations, technical knowledge
  Value proposition cont...
> Value proposition is not a slogan – doesn’t need
  to be reduced down to just a few words
> It must contain more than one differentiator (too easy
  to be replicated / surpassed by competitors); ideally,
  identify multiple differentiators (2–4) – harder to match
Value Proposition – An example

‘We specialise in accredited financial    Differentiation
services education, structured            (Product Specialisation)
professional development and
compliance support’.

‘Our content is practical and relevant,   Differentiation
our delivery is flexible’.                (Product Offering,
                                          Service style)
                                          + Customer Benefits

‘We enable financial advisers and         Differentiation
institutions to focus on their clients’   (Segment Specialisation)
                                          + Customer Benefits
needs, meet regulatory obligations
 and drive competitive advantage’.
  Value proposition cont...
> Strongly project in Executive Summary (remember this
  may be the only part of the entire document that some
  of the decision makers – and people who can influence
  the decision – actually read)

> Key messages / themes in value proposition demonstrated
  throughout document
CHECK – In all sections, reinforce differentiators

CHECK – Consistently show understanding of
        client / prospect needs, concerns & business
        issues (answer the RFT and more)

CHECK – Tailor content to organisation & industry
        (especially for major / strategic tenders)
      > refer to information provided during scoping / briefings
      > incorporate own research
        (industry trends, drivers, developments)
      > acknowledge needs / interests of key decision makers
      > refer to key decision makers by name
Content cont...
CHECK – Don’t just recite features, show how they
        deliver client outcomes, benefits
        (e.g. integrated national practice with offices in all
        State capitals = consistent service delivery across
        Australia, flexibility in allocating resources)

CHECK – Eliminate excessive wordiness, repetition
      > use impactful wording, shorter sentence structure
      > short-form communication
        (diagrams - summarise processes/methodologies,
        use breakout quotes & client testimonials)
      > review for repetition, jargon
      > if necessary, use external writing resource for
        editing / review
Content cont...
CHECK – Unsubstantiated claims, assertions –
        major turn-off for decision-makers
         ‘we are the leading’,
         ‘one of the leading’
         ‘we have the best people‘
         ’we have a unique culture’
         ‘we are experts’

You must substantiate (e.g. 3rd party endorsements,
client testimonials, independent surveys, case studies)
& they must be relevant (only resonate if related to
client benefits)
  Content cont...
  Executive Summaries
> Rather than ‘Why XYZ’ (asks a question, interrogative)
  use ‘The benefits we offer XYZ’
> Suggested introductory wording:
  ‘XYZ will receive the following key benefits and outcomes
  by appointing ‘ABC’ as its auditors’

  Puts client / prospect at the centre & focuses on benefits,
  outcomes rather than features.
  Content cont...
  Value-Add sections
  Tend to be generic (shopping list of extras firms think
  clients might value / want)

> Seminars / briefings on topics of specific & direct relevance
  to client / prospect
> Leverage corporate responsibility programs to partner
  with clients in different, interesting ways
> Think laterally, creatively how you can add genuine value
  (access networks, speaking opportunities)
Tone of voice
  Tone of voice
> Write about your firms’ services, products, experience
 & capabilities from a client-benefit perspective.
 (WIIFM – what’s in it for me / so what test)

> Personalisation
 Use you, your, our and we = connotes partnering
 & involvement; refer to key decision makers on
 client-prospect side (sense of already working together,
 recognise specific needs)
  Tone of voice cont...

> Use impactful language – avoid cliches, jargon
> Generate word lists for use in tenders – reflecting vibrant,
  fresh language (but language must be appropriate to
  industry / client & your brand personality)
Technical & qualitative information
  Technical & quantitative information
> Present ’technical‘ information (e.g. audit / risk management
  methodologies, workflow processes etc) diagrammatically
  not textually:
  – Easier to comprehend, take in
  – More succinct, concise
> Quantitative data / statistical information –
  more powerfully communicated in diagrams than via text
Copy templates
  Copy templates
> Enhance efficiency of producing (and updating)
  tender documentation by developing copy templates –
  used by BD specialists, tender teams
> Copy templates available in soft copy format
> Appropriate for more ‘generic’ sections / content
  (e.g. core content for CVs, firm & office profiles, industry client
  lists & assignment/project summaries, practice profiles, firm
  procedures & processes) & small-medium sized tenders
  Copy templates cont...
  Example – Firm profile
> About XYZ firm (history, offices, contact details, national
  reach, organisation structure, board members, title &
  registration details, staff nos)
> Agents & affiliated firms
> Areas of practice / industry focus (brief description of each)
> Client list
> Client endorsements
> Corporate social responsibility / pro bono programs
> Financial viability / stability
> Vision, values (organisational / brand) &, culture
  Copy templates cont...
  Example – Firm procedures & processes
> Approach (accountability, responsiveness, probity, transparency)
> Conflicts of interest
> CRM program
> Environmental policy
> HR policies (training, EEO, disability, anti-discrimination, OHS etc)
> Insurance (firm – PI, workers compensation, public liability)
> Implementation plan for new clients
> Matter management
> Quality processes (includes client review)
> Reporting (matter & management reporting)
> Risk management
> Security & confidentiality
> Technology (matter management, billing, disaster recovery)
> 3rd party providers
  Copy templates cont...
  Tender Resource Database
  Copy templates (and other key tender information
  & materials) – located in one central electronic resource:
> Save time for BD & professional staff
> Deliver a consistent tender product
> Easy access to critical information
> Track & evaluate tender statistics / data
Copy templates –
Tender resource database hierarchy
           Tender documents
         > Sorted by organisation name
         > Sorted by practice area
         > Sorted by industry

                     TENDER PROCESSES
                  > How to respond to an RFT / EOI
                  > Decision to bid assessment-matrix
                  > Client-prospect questions:
                     briefings / scoping meetings
                  > Tender strategy processes
                  > Best practice: oral presentations
                  > Post-tender evaluations

                              TENDER STATISTICS
                           > Tender statistics

                                         TENDER PRECEDENTS
                                    > Generic firm information
                                    > Practice information
                                    > Industry information
                                    > CVs
External document review
 External document review
  Use coach/es (former executives / Board members,
  contacts / colleagues of decision-makers, experienced NEDs)
  to review tender documentation:
> Tone is right
> Key messages are right / value proposition resonates
> Look & feel of document fits with culture
> Various decision-making / influencer sources are
  balanced & recognised
  The fundamentals
> Tender document is = sales communication
> Value proposition: direct, consistent, concise –
  reinforces what is distinctive about your firm
> Strong understanding of client needs, business issues
> Comply with information requests
> Interesting to read (impactful language, visual appeal)
> Easy to read & understand
> Easy to navigate through document
> Differentiating – message / themes, language, look
Design & visual elements
  Design templates
> e-templates are an important part of any identity tool kit
> in the service brand environment they are critical
> they are often the only touch point the end user sees
> they are often more important than the letterhead or the glossy
  capabilities brochure
  Design templates — common issues
> e-templates are often considered by designers as the low end of
  the identity tool kit
> they are often built in house by the IT / precedents departments
> the available technology still lacks the refinement of high end
  publishing software
> nearly all organisations have the same or similar software which
  can lead to a generic look lacking personality and differentiation
> often e-templates are not locked down to an appropriate level
> platform compatibility issues between design consultant and
  client is a constant source of frustration
 Design templates — issues to consider
> what is the current technical skill level of tender team?
> what publishing software is currently used and who has access
  to it?
> is there an intranet or doc lexicon and what levels of access are
> who is ultimately responsible for maintaining brand visual assets?
> how many authors will ultimately be accessing the document?
> will authors be accessing document simultaneously?
  Visual tone of voice
> achieving the right balance of style and substance
> consider reader ease of navigation
> give reader permission ’not to read’
> establish a corporate chart, table and graph style that can access
  live data
> consider how much of the clients business/identity you wish to
  visually acknowledge
> establish a consistent typographic hierarchy
> with corporate colour palette, consider on-screen vs print
> team photography should be of quality and on brand
> avoid clip art, low quality stock photography, visual cliches and
  any other visual assets that are not part of the brand tool kit
  Judging a book...
> consider the wrapping / cover of the document
> consider customised, one off covers and binders
> embrace every opportunity to illustrate visual brand values
  e.g. stock(s), dividers, binding methods, slip cases, gate folds,
  die cuts, e-versions

  Imagine the tender as a pitch document
  and less of a capability statement
 Tender presentation levels
> consider having a number of tender presentation levels from
  generic (but still on brand) to customised.

 Level 01               Level 02              Level 03

 Precedent driven       Precedent driven      Fully customised
                        with some
 Standard corporate     customised            Built in high
 covers and dividers    elements              end publishing
 Can be built by        Content built
 anybody in the firm    internally with       e-printed or offset
                        limited external      depending on
                        advice                volume
> corporate typefaces vs system fonts
> rythym, texture, balance, scale, colour
> legibility, readability

  Typography is a critical tool for
  deploying visual identity
 Tender toolkit checklist
> typefaces,
> typographic hierarchy
> typographic styles - Caps, sentence case etc
> colour palettes - primary and secondary
> image library
> team photography
> chart, graph, table, diagram styles
> navigation
> e versions - pdf, html
> template styles and precedents
> graphic elements - wallpapers, textures, illustrations, symbols
> bullets and indents
> breakout boxes, quotes, pullouts and testimonials
> outers, covers, dividers, binding, case
Contact details
For more information contact:

Nigel Beechey
Creative Director
T+612 9692 0088 M 0412 075 501

Dianne Davis
Brand Strategy Director
T+612 9252 3172 M 0417 257 791

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