How SMEs can meet buyer demand

“It’s essential that SMEs remain proactive in their approach to winning work, while making themselves highly visible for buyers.” Constructionline Sales Director, Neil Thompson, offers a 5 step guide to winning work with buyers.

Constructionline Sales Director, Neil Thompson, offers a 5 step guide to winning work with buyers.

1. Be clear about who you want to work for

Every supplier knows which contracts are a good fit for them. So think strategically and identify exactly who you want to work for.

Draw up a list of prospective buyers: Firstly, identify the desired list of buyers you want to work with. What sector are they are in? And where are they located?

Identify which buyers use Constructionline: Over 2,500 organisations access the Constructionline database to source SMEs, like you. You can find out which buyers have access to Constructionline by visiting our website.

2. Understand the buyer’s procurement requirements

Buyers will have a minimum criteria you need to demonstrate when tendering for their opportunities. So make sure you understand what is required of you before you tender. This criteria is usually covered on their website.

Registered buyers will have complete access to the information held on your Constructionline profile to see if you meet their criteria. So, be sure to keep all the information on your Constructionline profile up-to-date to maximise the potential opportunities available.

When accessing the Constructionline database, buyers often filter their searches to meet their minimum requirements, and will focus their search based on:

(a) The type of work you do – be sure provide 2 references for every category of work you do

(b) The areas where you work

(c) The size of contract you can handle (notation value)

(d) The licences & accreditations you hold (e.g. Waste Carrier’s Licence or SSIP).

3. Keep an eye out for work opportunities

If you’re looking to work for specific types of buyer, you need to understand where and how they advertise. In accordance with EU procurement regulations, public sector buyers are required to advertise their contracts in an open and transparent manner. Private sector buyers, on the other hand, are often guided by their own CSR requirements when procuring suppliers.

Public sector opportunities: In the interest of ‘openness and transparency’, public sector buyers typically post their contracts on advertising portals. When seeking work in this sector, we recommend you consider using a geographic approach. By identifying where you want to work, you can understand which portal to access. Whether it be through a national portal such as TED (Tenders Electronic Daily), Contracts Finder, Public Contracts Scotland and eSourcing NI, or regional portals such as The Chest, NEPO or London Tenders Portal.

Private sector opportunities: Main contractor buyers typically have an established supply chain which they review periodically and use Constructionline to manage their supplier information. When they have a need to recruit new suppliers, Main Contractors typically use one of the following methods:

(a) Use our database to download a supplier list based on their project/supply chain criteria.

(b) Partner with Constructionline to host an engagement event or webinar to discuss their upcoming opportunities directly with suppliers based locally to their projects.

(c) Place an advert on the Opportunities Notice Board (ONB) – a free tool for all registered buyers and suppliers. Both public and private sector buyers use the ONB to advertise their work, so be sure to check it for contracts relevant to your trade as a part of your daily routine.

4. Save time and cost in the tender process

At Constructionline, we recognise the laborious nature of the PQQ process. Our research highlights that it typically takes 4.5 hours to complete stage 1 of the process – that’s a huge demand on your time and resources.

We work closely with our registered buyers to ensure that when you pre-qualify for work with them, they don’t ask you for any information you’ve already provided as part of your Constructionline membership. Simply provide them with your registration number as a bypass for stage 1 pre-qualification, allowing you to focus on the project specific questions at stage 2.

Are you still being asked to duplicate information for our buyers? Report any duplicating buyers by completing the Anti-Duplication form in the Contact Us section of our website.

5. Engage with the buyer face-to-face

Experience suggests, the best way to engage with the buyer is to speak with them directly. However, we understand this is easier said than done. Particularly when trying to speak to the right person.

We organise a national programme of ‘Meet the Buyer’ and ‘Supplier Engagement’ events, a free opportunity for suppliers to meet key decision makers from buying organisations in their local area. Here you can present your company in person to potential clients and discuss upcoming opportunities.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming ‘Meet the Buyer’, ‘Supplier Engagement’ and Virtual Webinar events suitable for you by visiting our events page.