Even with your tender alerts and subscription services, have you ever heard of a government contract that’s just right for you, only to find it’s already been awarded to your competitor.

5 Reasons you’re probably missing opportunities

1. You say tomato, I say….

The titles and descriptions that buyer use for the goods and services they require vary from buyer to buyer and geography to geography. Does ‘Marketing Services’ mean they want Public Relations or Digital Marketing or something else?

2. Lost in Translation?

Across Europe, tender are generally first written in the National language of the buyer — French tenders are written in French. Some services like ted.europa.eu will make an English version available while a subscription service like oppex.com will automatically translate from one language to another. But words are nuanced and mean different things in different contexts; can you be sure that nothing is getting ‘lost in translation’?

3. The same…but different

The European Union ‘Common Procurement Vocabulary’ (CPV) gives buyers over 10,000 codes to classify tenders; procontract.due-north.com (UK) employs a staggering 58,000+. While each ‘category’ is unique, the textual description is not. For example, CPV code 74110000 relates to Legal Services, as does CPV 7910000. There’s a significant chance that buyers will select one code while you will base your pipeline searches on a different one, leaving you to wonder how you missed the opportunity.

4. Too many opportunities

At least 2,500 opportunities are published every day on major European and US websites. There are many free or subscription services that collate opportunities and email you matches based on the tender keywords or categorisations of interest to you. The trouble is, almost all of these are going to be unsuitable and the longer the list the more time its going to take you to trawl through them and the higher the chance the one you’re looking for will get lost in the noise.

5. Too Few Opportunities

At any given time there’s upwards of 25,000 opportunities accepting submissions, yet no more than 1% is likely to be of any relevance. If you have a search set up for ‘User Interface Design’ you’ll be disappointed to note it appears less than 10 times in the 2M tenders that we have analysed.

Steps to Avoid missing opportunities

  1. Subscribe to a portal like tenderscout.com, oppex.com or tendersdirect.co.ukwhich aggregates tenders from multiple sources
  2. Compile a list of the codes and keywords used to describe your ideal contract by reviewing the historical tendering record of a broad range of buyers. If the portal allows it as TenderScout does, review the tenders won by your competitors to round out your list of search terms.
  3. Complete your set of search terms by selecting synonyms for keywords and searching for similar CPV codes to those that you already have.
  4. Re-run the search, removing CPV codes and keywords, until the result set is both manageable (in terms of the number of opportunities) and of good quality in terms of how accurately the meet your requirements.
  5. If at this point you’re seeing 25 or so opportunities you can be pretty confident that you’re unlikely to be missing any opportunities.