Soft Market Testing

Soft market testing and the benefits to buyers and suppliers

Soft market testing can be very dominating across the procurement sector. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry – not many people have!

Soft market testing can be called many things – Market Engagement and Pre-Procurement Analysis to name a couple. All of which mean the same thing.

What is soft market testing?

It’s where a buyer is struggling to begin their procurement process due to potentially various reasons. Some of which include the buyer:

  • Not understanding the market to which they need to source a service or product.
  • Misunderstanding certain processes and terminology in a specific market.
  • Not knowing how much a certain product or service costs in the current market.

This is basically an exercise before the tender is developed and released to prospective suppliers. The term ‘Soft’ indicates how this is a pre-tender exercise. It’s basically there to test and analyse a specific market.

Which industries use soft market testing?

Soft market testing can be found in industries such as:

  • Technology
  • Construction
  • Healthcare and more.

It can often be found in areas where innovation is at the forefront of their economy’s landscape. By opening up discussions with the market, public bodies are able to start their procurement with new industry insight. Technical specifications and evaluations can be drafted with the latest solutions and technology in mind. This is also beneficial to stakeholders that are then able to be fully informed on the likely costs.

Soft market testing is particularly relevant for construction projects. This is because the costs of specialist sub-contracting or raw materials can change rapidly. Often, this leads to some form of dispute later. This dispute can easily be avoided with the use of soft market testing.

Soft market testing exercises are open procedures which help buyers gain a better understanding of markets. They help support eventual Invitation to Tender (ITT) development. This then leads to the release of the ITT to suppliers, allowing them to submit a tender response.

Soft market testing benefits for buyers

  • The buyer gets a full indication of what products and services are best to source in the marketplace.
  • Buyers could potentially receive a lot of advice about the different solutions available. The benefits of these solutions, along with all associated costs for each proposed.
  • It helps the buyer develop the ITT documentation that’s inclusive of specification. It allows the buyer to eliminate any misunderstanding when it comes to their procurement.

Soft market testing benefits for suppliers

A lot of suppliers tend not to participate in this type of work. This is because there’s no guarantee of work at the end. Despite this, we encourage suppliers to think more proactively. Soft market testing is a great opportunity that can pose huge benefits in the long run.

  • For example, the tender that is eventually produced by the buyer might contain a lot of the supplier’s recommendations. It may also include information relating to the soft market testing proposal that you, as the supplier, have provided. This can result in a tender being geared toward your service offering a bit more.
  • It makes the supplier known to the buyer for other procurement needs in the future.

Some suppliers may be put off by the idea of having to do soft market tests. This is due to the no guarantee of work or income at the end. It’s essentially an information gathering exercise carried out by a buyer. A buyer wants to collate as much information as possible. They want to ensure when they release their tender, they can be a lot more forthcoming about their requirements. This allows them to better understand the market.

Soft market testing can help create healthy competition during the procurement process. It can operate as a part of an expression of interest process or on its own. The information discovered through soft market testing should result in adjustments to a buyer’s project. It also demonstrates to potential suppliers that a buyer will listen and make changes based on their advice.

A soft market testing case study example

We’ve completed work for a technology client previously. They responded to a soft market testing exercise and it involved them providing details of their software solutions. When the buyer released the tender, their requirements were pretty much focused on our client’s solutions. These solutions were proposed at the soft market testing and this allowed them to gain an edge over their competitors.

This helped us to deliver a very tailored and specific proposal, subsequently securing the contract. We may have been slightly limited if we didn’t propose some possible solutions at the soft market testing phase.

Need support with the soft market testing stage?

Contact us for further information about how you can participate in soft market testing exercises. Please feel free to get in touch or call us today!

How can I tender for work?

Tendering for work can be a great way to grow your business, allowing you to secure a pipeline of work. However, writing a tender response can turn into quite the headache if you’re unfamiliar with the procurement process. You may have multiple deadlines on the horizon or lack the resources to write a winning response in-house. Luckily for you, we have the solution.

Our sister company Hudson Succeed, have over 60 years of bid writing experience and an 87% success rate. They offer four bid writing support services that can help you win more work. Whether you’ve never tendered before or need your bid response proofread before you submit it – we can help.

Tender Writing

Once you’ve found the perfect bid for your business, why not send it to one of our Bid Writers? They can take care of it all for you and even submit it on your behalf. They’ll let you know if they need anything from you and provide you with a full Tender Writing breakdown.

Tender Mentor

If you’ve written your own tender response and need someone to double-check it for errors, Tender Mentor can help. Our Bid Team will proofread your work for any inconsistencies, grammar or spelling mistakes. They’ll also ensure that it’s in line with the specification before you submit.

Tender Ready

Our Tender Ready programme is perfect for those who have never tendered before. A Bid Writer will work with you to make sure you have everything you need in place to tender successfully. The 4-week programme offers your business:

  • A 12-month subscription to any Hudson Discover
  • Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding professionals
  • An organisation-wide Bid Library, including 3 case studies, 5 CV’s and 8 policies
  • Additional flexible benefit options.

Tender Improvement

If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing the results you want, our Tender Improvement package can help. The Bid Team will assess your previous responses and tender documents, working with you to improve for future submissions. This package includes a 12-month subscription to a Discover portal and additional tender development services.

Where to find the right tendering opportunities for your business

Finding the right tendering opportunity for your business can take a large part out of your day. There are thousands of websites posting hundreds of live tenders daily from across the UK. Searching for the right one can turn into a full-time job!

Our 11 sector-specific Discover portals save you time when searching for the right tender. You might be missing out on opportunities if you’re relying on inaccurate CPV codes. Our Opportunity Trackers manually scour and upload live tenders from thousands of websites daily. You’re able to filter the results by keyword, budget, location and more – streamlining the process.

Hudson Discover houses 11 sector-specific tendering portals:

A subscription to one of our portals includes:

  • An on-hand Account Manager to answer any of your tendering They can answer any queries you may have about getting involved with soft market testing and tendering in general.
  • Discounted support from Hudson Succeed, our bid writing division.
  • A free 20-minute phone call of bid consultancy every month with one of our Bid Experts.
  • A daily email bulletin containing all the live sector-specific tenders that have been upload that day, straight to your inbox.

Upgrade to Discover Elite

If that wasn’t enough, you can upgrade any portal with our Discover Elite service. Our two time-saving packages allow you to identify and optimise tendering opportunities for your business even when you’re busy. They can help improve your competitor awareness and bidding success rate.

The Ultimate Time Saver offers your business:

  • An annual subscription to a maximum of two Hudson tender portals of your choice.
  • Five tender breakdowns per month.
  • A dedicated Account Manager.
  • Weekly phone calls to discuss viable tendering opportunities.
  • Award and pre-market engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
  • Buyer portal management including registration, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid or no-bid

Become a Pre-Bid Master includes:

  • All of the above.
  • A maximum of seven tender breakdowns per month.
  • Bid Strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It will also be managed by our Global Bid Director.

Get in touch for more information about how we can grow your business.