Whether you’re preparing a bid for a competitive process or as a detailed proposal within a sole-source arrangement such as government to government (G2G) contracting with CCC, there are some key fundamentals to keep in mind that will boost your chances of success.
Where to look for opportunities
Outside of on-the-ground networking and leveraging relationships with organizations such as CCC and the Trade Commissioner Service, there are many other well-established pipelines to access opportunities.
CCC recently developed a new tool called the Global Bid Opportunity Finder to help consolidate export opportunities from all over the world. It is currently the largest source of opportunities exclusively for Canadian companies with bid opportunities from 30+ sources, covering 200+ countries, and 5,000+ new opportunities daily. Not only is it bilingual for Canadian exporters but it also saves time with easy-to-use search and email alert functions all within one easy to use online tool. Find out more and register at gbof.ca.
Many governments also have electronic systems for posting contract notices that you can register with to get updates when new requests are issued. Most exporters are likely already signed up with these. It’s a good practice to periodically evaluate them for relevance to your business and how successful you’ve been. Focus on just the best ones to conserve your resources and maximize your efforts.
There are different types of contract notices that outline what the government is trying to buy. Requests for proposals (RFPs) are usually the most detailed, and your bid response becomes part of the final negotiation. Requests for quotes are similar but may be issued by the buyer to gather information ahead of a fuller RFP process, and the responses are not typically considered to be offers. Other types of requests may seek information on bidders in the market or may invite specific companies to submit bids.
In some cases, there may be a pre-qualification stage before bids are accepted. In these cases, you’ll have to meet certain criteria to be eligible to bid.
What’s in a bid?
A bid usually has three components, which will often be evaluated separately.
Your technical submission outlines exactly what services and/or products you will provide, and how you will deliver on the contract. The tender documents will usually specify fairly precisely the information you need to provide and will often offer some indication of how each item will be weighted in the evaluation.
Your financial submission indicates what the work will cost and is often one of the most heavily weighted elements of a bid. Be sure to submit all requested information in the format prescribed by the tender documents.
Some contract notices will require you to prove compliance with tax regulations, financial solvency, sustainability, or other criteria. In most cases, your bidding documents should state your compliance with all required certifications, and if you win the bid, you’ll be asked to submit the certificates or other documents as proof.
Building a better bid: checklist
The following recommendations will help set you up for success:
Get the full tender documents
Some contract notices include basic information to help you decide whether or not to bid, but may be missing key details. Before you start preparing your bid, reach out to the contractor to request the full tender documents to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Provide all requested information in the format specified
Be sure to read the specifications very carefully and address each one in whatever format is prescribed. Missing information or details that demonstrate a failure to understand the requirements will count against you and may result in your bid being eliminated.
Prepare for language requirements
If you’re hoping to secure a contract in a country where English is not the official language, you will likely need to submit your bid in the language of the contracting government. Secure a professional translator early and make sure to leave enough time to have your documents translated before the deadline.
Highlight additional competencies
According to Global Affairs Canada’s European Union Government Procurement Guide, indicating any additional competencies you have, such as environmental records or other corporate social responsibility initiatives, can help reinforce the full value your company brings to the project.
Submit your bid on time
Many contractors have strict deadlines and will not accept bids even a few minutes late. To avoid being eliminated because of delays or technical difficulties, aim to submit as early as you can.
Contact CCC to learn more about how we can help you strengthen your next bid or accelerate the process with a government to government contract.