5 Tips for Winning Tenders by improving your Qualitative Tender Criteria

5 Tips for Winning Tenders by improving your Qualitative Tender Criteria

Do you also scratch your head wondering if you met the “qualitative criteria” and therefore wonder if you have a chance at winning tenders? One of the areas that most of my clients (and therefore they become my clients) battle with is actually dealing with the qualitative criteria.

In this post, I will share with you my 5 simple tips for winning tenders to help you prepare a high-quality response to the qualitative criteria. We will look at:

  • #1: What it is
  • #2: Back to Basics
  • #3: Capability
  • #4: Capacity; and
  • #5: Always about the client

What are the qualitative criteria in tenders?

Qualitative criteria in tenders simply refer to the non-financial evaluation criteria that forms part of tenders.

Below is an example of what can be asked as part of the qualitative criteria:

Winning Tenders

Qualitative criteria takes lots of time to complete as it can often be quite a subjective task.

Tip #1: It works to explain what you do and what you have done well to someone else.

As simple as this may sound – it really works.

I ask my clients many questions about their business and really work to get to understand their business. By doing this, I find that I more often than not, I can “pitch” their business far better than they can.


Because even although I get to know a lot about my clients’ businesses, I am three steps removed from the business. Looking in from the outside, I can “pitch” their business far more eloquently and describe in procurement speak how they offer value for money.

Learn More About our Tendering Packages>>

When you prepare your own tenders and therefore pitch your business in your qualitative criteria, try and step back from the subjectivity of your business.

Taking it back to basics – breaking down the concept to improve your chance for winning tenders

Do you also like keeping things simple?

I do it  when I break down the concept of qualitative criteria in simple terms.

Winning tenders tell the story of your business and how it relate to the specific tender:

  • Been there – done it: similar past experience;
  • Know what you want: understanding the scope and requirements;
  • Can do it again: know what and how to deliver
  • It’s all about you: showing the client that you know what they want as the client and how you will deliver what they want.

Tip#2: Always bring it back to the basics

In responding to the qualitative criteria, you ask yourself a few simple questions.

Do I show?

  • previous similar experience to:
    • the same contract value,
    • a similar organisation
    • for a similar duration?
  • that I understand the scope and requirements of the tender?
  • how I will deliver these scope and requirements?
  • clearly how I know what the client wants and how I bring value for money for the client?

The pitch of the tender is about why the client should pick you – because you make them look really good.

Read More: Five Reasons why Local Government Tenders Add Business Value >>

What is Capability?

Capability and capacity remind me of trying to work out the difference between responsibility and accountability.

Same, same BUT different.

Capability means that you can show that your business owns:

  • the right skills, knowledge and experience;
  • people that have the right skills, knowledge and experience;
  • sufficient high quality equipment and current technology;
  • and uses systems and processes that conform with industry best practice; and
  • enough funds in the bank

to show that you know how to get the job done for other clients.

You have done this before and can do it again.

Tip #3: Most government tenders (unless for new technology) look back to the past to see what you have done. 

Government tenders always look for similar past experience and preferably contracts with other government departments.

In my opinion, they use past experience instead of future potential as their safety net.

What is Capacity?

Capacity deals with how you will be able to meet the requirements of the tender when the client selects your tender offer as the best offer.

Capacity is more specific to the tender and how you will get the job done.

Similar to capability, capacity deals with showing the client that you have :

  • a plan and methodology
  • the right skills and experience
  • selected the people that will best fit
  • made available to equipment and technology fit for the scope
  • appropriate systems and processes
  • enough money to keep going

specific to the scope and requirements of the tender for this specific client.

Read More: Tendering for Success: Improving your chance of tendering success>>

Tip #4: Show that you understand the requirements and have a plan to make it work.

Whereas capacity deals with the past, capacity focuses on the plan for the future.

And as always, the client must be able to feel that you understand their requirements and can work with them.

Winning Tenders – Always about the Client

Winning tenders are about giving some TLC to the client.

When completing tender responses, business often submit lots of generic marketing fluff. The marketing shows how good the business is.


Generic marketing material does not answer the questions asked in the tender.

Tip #5: Always answer the questions asked

Again, as simple as this may sound – make sure that you do not just use your generic stuff but answer the questions asked.


Always show how your answer will benefit the client.

Use the wighting of the different criteria to guide you on what is more important to the client.

Winning Tenders are always about what the client wants and what the client needs.

5 Simple tips for winning tenders with your kick-ass qualitative criteria.

In summary:

  •  #1: It works to explain what you do and what you have done well to someone else.
  • #2: Always bring it back to the basics
  • #3: Most government tenders (unless for new technology) look back to the past to see what you have done.
  • #4: Show that you understand the requirements and have a plan to make it work.
  • #5: Always answer the questions asked

Read More: 10 Quick Tendering Tips – Tips for Tendering for Success>>

And finally remember –

 It’s ALWAYS about the CLIENT.

Contact Us to learn more about our tendering and business capability packages for assisting you with winning tenders and completing kick-ass tenders.

Have a great day!

Celia Jordaan

About the Author:

Celia Jordaan has more than 30 years international and corporate experience and worked in the areas of procurement, tenders, supply chain, contract management, law and risk. She works with business of all sizes and industries, procurement leaders and teams to develop and implement strategies to boost business performance, make tendering easy and improve bottom line performance.

To learn more about Celia Jordaan, please click here.

For more information on how we can assist your procurement team, your business with tendering or strategic business development and planning, please send us an email today.

Ichiban Commercial Solutions Procurement Advice and Tendering Solutions Celia Jordaan

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