International calls for tender: 5 golden rules for your bid to be accepted

Whatever the size of your company (SME, VSE, mid-size companies, large group, etc.) and your product/service offer, you are always on the look out for ways in which to develop your business. Your growth strategy is paying off in France, that’s good news! But have you considered replying to international calls for tenders? It is an effective means of conquering new markets in Europe, and further afield. Find out about all the advantages of taking this leap and the golden rules to apply to ensure its success!


Why respond to international calls for tenders?

Like all companies, you are looking for growth opportunities. Responding to international public or private procurement contracts is one of them!

Good to know: any structure established in the European Union can participate in public calls for tender issued by foreign principals, regardless of the EU country.

An international call for tender is a formal procedure in which a private company or a foreign government (the adjudicator or procurer) puts several suppliers in competition to meet a requirement (product/service). This may be work, supplies or services. The procurer publishes a tender notice and provides a set of specifications. This document specifies the specific requirements and the financial and technical conditions of the procurement. Following the responses received, the procurer chooses the most economically advantageous offer that strictly adheres to the requirements.

Did you know? Within the framework of an International Public Procurement Contract (IPP), the projects are co-financed by a public donor such as the World Bank or the European Investment Bank, etc.

For SMEs or VSEs, public procurement contracts are often synonymous with complex dossiers and they do not feel up to the task of applying for them. However, they have just as much chance of being allocated international public calls for tender as large groups. This procedure is based on the principles of freedom of access and equal treatment of candidates. They could all greatly benefit from this experience.

Here are 5 good reasons to respond to public and private calls for tender at European or international level:

  • Develop your turnover.
  • Open your Company up to new markets.
  • Develop your reputation abroad. Make a name for yourself beyond national borders!
  • Gain credibility with other potential clients whether they are at home or abroad. Being allocated a call for tenders is proof of your reliability that reassures your prospective clients.
  • Ensure secure payment. This is the case for public procurement contracts: an administration offers a payment guarantee.


5 rules for being allocated international calls for tenders:

Being allocated an international call for tenders is within your reach, but you still have to respect certain rules! Here are 5 tips to increase your chances of success.


1. Set up effective monitoring processes

Before responding to international calls for tenders, you have to find them first! Refer to official online sources that list international public procurement notices such as the European Commission, the French Agency for Sustainable Development, and the United Nations, etc.

Good to know: to facilitate your sourcing, don’t hesitate to subscribe to alerts. Some platforms allow you to receive free of charge public procurement contract announcements that are relevant to your company according to sector, geographical criteria, etc. You can also pay for tools that source calls for tenders in many languages.

Set up regular monitoring to identify calls for tenders that may be of interest to you as early as possible. You should aim to be as reactive as possible because it is imperative to respect the response times that can be rather short.


2. Target relevant international calls for tenders

Take the time to analyse the tender notice (place of performance, allocation conditions, etc.). This step is decisive. Determine whether or not it makes sense for your company to apply.

The aim is not to apply for all public or private procurement contracts! You should only target those that will provide you with more than they will cost you. Take all the information into account: ROI, time spent and the mobilisation of human resources to prepare the response file, etc.


3. Study the specifications fully grasp what is expected

Within the framework of calls for tenders, companies are provided with specifications that list and specify all the specificities of these purchases: rules to be followed regarding the preferences for the transmission of responses, deadlines, documents to be provided, technical requirements, payment methods, etc.

As it is written in a foreign language, this document must be given your full attention. The quality of your response is conditional on your understanding! You need to make sure you understand the procurer’s expectations in order to precisely meet their needs and strictly follow the required specifications. Otherwise, you may miss out on important information that could jeopardise your application.

Understanding the general meaning is not good enough! The specifications may include special clauses such as the obligation to provide a certified translation of the documents supplied.

At this stage, the use of a specialised translation agency with experts in legal and technical translation is necessary to ensure the success of ongoing and upcoming procedures.


4. Benefit from the flawless translation of your application

Your response to the call for tenders must be flawless!

You must be rigorous regarding both the form and the content. Not only do you have to provide all required documents, but they must also be accurately translated into the procurer’s language. And when it comes to translation, being bilingual is not sufficient to produce accurate translations!

Imagine the effect it will have on your application if the adjudicator detects loosely translated technical terms or worse, serious translation errors! Your expertise would be called into question!

It is better to entrust this translation to a specialised agency to give you every chance of being allocated this international public procurement contract. Your credibility is at stake!


5. Follow the procedure

For public procurement contracts, the rules and procedures are strict. This is the case on a national level, and even more so on international markets!

Certain terms are the same from one country to another. However, it is essential to find out exactly who the foreign public procurer is and to be familiar with its specific procedures.

The earlier you know are familiar with its requirements and how it works, the better you will be able to comply with each step.

Did you know? In France, the public procurement code governs each call for tenders.

As you can see, international calls for tenders are great opportunities for developing your business, opening it up to new markets, and gaining credibility with other clients. Your company has every chance of being allocated public or private procurement contracts on the European stage, provided that you comply with certain rules and acquirea competitive advantage: the specialised translation of your application! Don’t neglect it: small details can make big differences