Invitation to Tender (ITT): Meaning
ITT, or Invitation to Tender, is a formal document issued by a buyer, inviting suppliers (vendors) to bid for the contract of works they are wanting to fulfil. This usually involves the supply of goods/services. For this reason, ITTs are the key to growing your business!
However, the pool of potential suppliers can be vast, therefore a step before the ITT is used. This is known as a PQQ or Pre-Qualification Questionnaire. A PQQ is an essential step for the ITT process because it weeds out suppliers who lack the desired experience/qualities needed for the job.
Note: ITTs come in many sizes and degrees of complexity. Also, the buyer may want answers to a formal set of questions (usually regarding a supplier's experience), your price and the project type. Projects may be a one-off contract or a framework agreement.
Know the meaning of ITT? But what does it include?
The typical tender, based on Public Procurement Regulations and European best practice, provides the supplier with the following information. This is used heavily across the public sector and has been increasingly adopted within the private sector also:
A Cover/ITT Letter
- For a ‘closed tender’, this is provided to all relevant suppliers when they have been invited to tender from the initial shortlisting stage (PQQ). If the buyer releases an ‘open tender’, then this is usually a generic-looking letter.
A Scope of Procurement
- This provides the supplier with information regarding what exactly they are procuring and the dates involved in the contract:
- Start date
- Approximate value
- This is usually based on sourcing the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT), where technical capability and price are majorly assessed.
Note: If it’s a framework agreement this should detail how many suppliers are sought for a multi-supplier contract.
Let's get to the meat of the ITT...
- This explains how you submit the tender and when it should be submitted by. A timeline is usually provided here which details every time-bound step of the tender procedure.
A Buyer Profile
- This is quite simply information about the buyer. This will outline their overall missions and objectives, as well as background and some context as to why they are procuring such services.
The Award Criteria
- This is where the buyer will detail how the tender is assessed and evaluated. This is how ‘MEAT’ is assessed through quality and cost ratios (for example, quality may be marked at 60% and the cost is evaluated at 40% of the overall marks).
- One of the most important aspects of the tender. This can be 1 page or 100 pages, depending on the services/goods being procured. Make sure you read this and highlight areas in which you can excel your response.
Note: If you have to use a specific ‘tool’, make sure this is noted, and you’re not writing about a different tool.
This can vary widely depending on how the tender has been put together. This can include:
- Pricing schedules
- Quality response template
- Terms and conditions
- Key performance indicators
- Other supplementary attachments
Note: These appendices enable transparency during the evaluation process.
Note: This list features only a handful of the data that constitutes an ITT.
Approaching the ITT
So, you know the meaning of ITT... Now, how do you approach the ITT?
Approaching the ITT can be daunting, especially if you have never encountered it before and you don’t have a dedicated team for responding to ITTs!
Let’s break it down into four easy steps:
Positive and Persuasion (2 Ps)
- Your response must positively impact the buyer
- Your response must be persuasive – the buyer must favour your business over your competitors!
- Overall, you must demonstrate your competence through a detailed, yet concise response – our expert bid writers can help with this!
- Do you have at least three relevant case studies? Buyers like to assess your business’s competency. If you cannot provide this evidence, you will almost certainly lose out on the bid.
- Case studies can provide evidence of your experience, how you overcame challenges, lessons learnt/improvements you have made and most importantly, your results!
- Rushing to provide documents at the last minute is a recipe for failure. The ITT stage requires planning at every stage, a plan which must accommodate everyone involved. Therefore, setting internal deadlines before your final deadline is crucial to account for any internal/external problems which may arise!
- If you lack the means to tackle the ITT, then these other steps will not make much of a difference to the outcome. Producing a high-quality ITT response demands an expert team which many companies do not have in-house access to. Therefore, hiring a bid writer can ease any stress, offer support and ultimately, write your ITT!
When to tender?
There are at least five aspects to consider before deciding to tender... Ensure you can say yes to all five!
- As previously mentioned, you must be able to provide examples of previous relevant successes
- If the contract is worth more than half of your annual turnover, you are unlikely to win it.
- Do you have the team to write a high-quality submission?
- Crafting a successful ITT response takes time. If you are too busy, leave the work to us!
- You need to know your strengths and weaknesses, as well as that of your competitors. If you don’t you don’t stand much chance of winning. Our tender consultants can offer support with this!
How can we help?
Now you’re more familiar with an ITT's meaning and how it works, you may be looking for some writing support. Outsourcing a bid to a bid writing specialist can help you secure that next contract.
Here at Hudson Succeed, we pride ourselves on being bid writing experts. We have an 87% success rate and over 60 years of collective bid writing experience. We offer four levels of bid writing support to suit every business need. You may not need the whole bid written for you; you may simply need it to be proofread before you submit it. We can help with that.
Our services include:
Once you’ve found the perfect bid for your business, send it our way. Our Bid Writers can take care of the whole thing for you they’ll even submit it on your behalf. They’ll let you know what they need from you, providing you with a full Tender Writing breakdown.
Our Tender Ready 4-week programme is perfect for businesses that have never tendered before. A Bid Writer will work with you to ensure you have everything in place to tender successfully. Tender Ready offers your business:
- A 12-month subscription to one Hudson Discover
- Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals.
- An Organisation-wide Bid library, including 3 case studies, 5 CVs and policies.
- Additional flexible benefits.
If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing success from your current efforts, our Tender Improvement package can help. Our Bid Team will assess your previous responses and tender documents. They will work with you to improve for future submissions. This package includes a 12-month subscription to a Hudson Discover portal and additional tendering development services.
If you’ve written your own tender response and need it double-checked for errors, Tender Mentor can help. A Bid Writer will proofread your work for any inconsistencies, grammar, or spelling mistakes. They will also ensure it’s in line with the specification before you submit it. This is a great way of improving your skills and understanding of how to polish your tender.
Do you only require assistance with PQQs or SQs? We can help!
Simply submit the relevant information regarding the work you need and we will provide a quote for the work agreed upon.
We provide support at all levels of the bid writing process, so if you simply need it proofread before you submit it, we can also help with that!
Upgrading to Discover Elite can optimise your tendering efforts!
Our two new time-saving tools can improve competitor awareness and success rate when bidding for a contract:
The Ultimate Time Save Package (for those on the go!)
- Five tender breakdowns per month.
- Annual subscription to two sector-specific portals.
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The Become a Pre-Bid Master package
- All of the above.
- Seven tender breakdowns per month.
- Bid Strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager (minimum five years experience). Also, the bid strategy will be managed by our Global Bid Director.
Our other divisions:
Wanting to impress a buyer? Our creative content agency Vocal is always on hand to help!
Our Vocal team are never afraid to be heard - we're a loud bunch!
From micro-businesses to large organisations, we provide ways to make your business stand out from the crowd. We can transform your bid into a professionally designed tender document!
Vocal specialises in:
Our online virtual learning environment for Education, Enterprise and Home Learners is currently being used to power our own platforms – Tender VLE and Procure VLE (Coming soon).
We believe in learning at your own pace, wherever you are!
Find more helpful tips and advice in our blogs. We cover topics including:
- 8 Tips for Submitting Electronic Tenders
- How to win a tender
- What is a Bid Writer?
- The tendering process
- Writing winning bids
- 7 tips for tendering for contracts
- Tips for bid management
- Bid writing services
- The types of tendering procedures
- Writing bids
- Bid writing consultants
- Submitting a tender response