Looking to win more tenders in 2018? ISO 9001 Certification can have a huge impact on the outcome of your tender bids, as can your presentation, as Michelle Whitehouse, Marketing Manager at QMS International explains…

Business growth is dependent on customer satisfaction, which is generally driven by consistency and reliability of products or services. While retaining existing customers is crucial, it’s also important to win new business and increase your market share. When bidding for new business, it’s important to complete the tender process with care. It’s likely that the buyer is unfamiliar with your business. As such, you need to offer a comprehensive view of your business, focusing on how you can be of benefit to the buyer. It’s also essential to provide evidence of your commercial achievements. Case studies, testimonials and references will back up your claims and strengthen your bid. In addition, noting your accreditations and awards can also be advantageous for a tender.

Ultimately the aim of any tender is to win business. To do this, you need to paint the best possible picture of what your organisation has to offer the buyer. If you’re new to the tendering process, it’s worth looking to see whether any Local Authorities or Chambers of Commerce are running events in your area. Such events cover procurement processes and can often offer previews of upcoming work. They also provide an understanding of what buyers are looking for and where they plan to publish their tenders.

Many councils and other organisations operate an approved suppliers list. While this makes their lives easier, it does mean that those businesses already on the list will often be called upon to quote first. As such, you should take any opportunity to raise the visibility of your business and make a memorable first impression.

Force a foot in the door

Very often and particularly when dealing with public sector purchasers, Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) are used to shortlist suppliers invited to tender. Similarly, where a certain level of technical ability is required, PQQs form part of the restricted tendering procedure. The vast majority of PQQs will ask for ISO 9001 certification. Without ISO 9001 certification, you’re likely to have to work twice as hard as your accredited competitors in the early stage of the bid to prove that your processes are of equal calibre.

Encourage buyers’ confidence

ISO 9001 certification can encourage confidence among potential new clients because the Standard demonstrates an ability to consistently provide products and services that meet expectations. With ISO 9001 certification, your business can confidently compete for both public and private contracts with the internationally recognised standard demonstrating that your organisation continues to meet a high level of quality.

Qualify for public contracts

ISO 9001 accreditation is often a stipulation when tendering for public contracts. By asking for ISO 9001 from contractors, the public sector can prove it is spending tax payers’ money wisely. Certification speaks for itself. It allows public sector bodies to rest assured that your company holds the appropriate quality credentials.

Sell yourself

While ISO 9001 accreditation may not always be a requirement in the public sector, it can often have a positive impact on your chances of winning a tender. Advertise the advantages of being ISO 9001 certified. Put yourself in the bid reader’s shoes and emphasise how important the certification is. It may be possible that some bid readers are not familiarised with the standard so you shouldn’t simply state that your business is ISO 9001 compliant. Instead, include a succinct and accurate appraisal of what your compliance will guarantee if your bid is successful.

Level the playing field

Of course, being ISO 9001 accredited can also be a requirement in the private sector. If tendering to become part of a large supply chain, where the main contractor has ISO 9001 in place, then certification will be particularly pertinent.

ISO 9001 gives a clear competitive advantage to companies throughout the business world. Larger competitors will almost certainly hold ISO 9001 certification. Therefore, being certified yourself can level the playing field considerably. ISO 9001 is recognised all over the world. The Standard provides a common, corporate language and can be make or break in a bidding war.

While it was not initially developed to help organisations win new business, increasing market share has often been a welcome consequence of ISO 9001 certification. Similarly, companies are increasingly asked to demonstrate ISO 14001 compliance as part of the tender process. ISO 14001 is the international Standard that specifies requirements for an effective Environmental Management System (EMS). It provides a framework to follow and compliance effectively acts as another feather in your tendering cap.

One of the UK’s leading ISO certification bodies, since 1993, QMS International have helped implement over 20,000 management systems for businesses of all sizes nationwide.