How to Write a Successful Executive Summary

Most tender opportunities request an executive summary: a brief overview of your business, your understanding of the buyer’s needs and the value of your product or service. When done well, an executive summary identifies you as a quality tenderer with a winning product or service.  

Alongside the assessor’s overall evaluation of your tender submission, the executive summary is often the only part of a tender that senior management and decision makers see. It must be concise and persuasive in order to grab their attention. So, how can you ensure your tender stands out from the rest?

Continue reading to find out how to write a successful executive summary.

Who are you?

The buyer wants to know who they’re going to be working with, so make sure to tell them! Provide a brief overview of your business, focussing on aspects and qualities that are relevant to the buyer’s needs. Include the following types of information in your executive summary:

  • any past experience with the buyer
  • the length of time your organisation has been in business
  • the size of your organisation
  • who within your business will be engaging with the buyer
  • certifications and industry memberships
  • past performance on similar contracts
  • access to partners and subcontractors
Do you understand the buyer’s needs?

Position your product or service as the obvious solution by demonstrating an understanding of the buyer’s business requirements. Research the buyer; become familiar with who they are and what they do. Make sure to relate to any buying objectives that may have been outlined in the tender documents.

For example, an executive summary’s opening paragraph for a school-cleaning contract should include a discussion about hygiene and health and the importance of a clean school environment, rather than a discussion about programs for cleaning.

What are you proposing?

Buyers want to be confident when recommending your solution over the competition. Provide a brief summary of your product or service, framed by how it will meet the buyer’s requirements.

Make sure you:

  • connect your solution to the buyer’s objectives and specifications
  • provide evidence of any experience with comparable clients or contracts
  • identify where you both meet and exceed what is listed in the specification
  • reinforce and explain key points and concepts with diagrams

Refer to the each of the buyer’s evaluation criterion and ensure you address it in your executive summary.

The structure of an executive summary

Now that you have an idea of the information that needs to be included in your executive summary, let’s look at the structure of the document.

The executive summary should be a piece of writing that is well structured, informative and easy to read.

Below is a list of the 10 things you should include in the executive summary’s general structure:

  1. An acknowledgement of the opportunity.
  2. An introduction to your organisation.
  3. A summary of the aspects of your organisation that are pointers to its credibility as a supplier.
  4. Identification of the buyer and the buyer’s stated and implied drivers.
  5. A statement of your organisation’s objectives in this contract and how they are related to the buyer’s needs.
  6. Confirmation that your organisation complies with the requirements.
  7. Information about your solution’s innovation and its benefit to the buyer.
  8. Highlighting of the cost benefit of the value-adds.
  9. A summary of your solution’s advantages in cost terms—even to the extent of summarising the price offer
  10. A request for the business—the most important thing of all!
Some final thoughts

Don’t be afraid to enlist key stakeholders in your organisation to read your executive summary: they can provide essential feedback.

Whether your executive summary is at the beginning or at the end of the submission, make sure your opening statement is direct and grabs the reader’s attention. For example:

Client A will receive a safe, reliable and sustainable solution by using the experience,
efficiency and capability of Company B for the management of Project C.

Engage the reader! Use positive, proactive words. You are trying to persuade the buyer that you are the best provider, offering the best solution to address the buyer’s needs. So, make sure everything you write supports this.

Now that you have written an effective executive summary, you’ll be well on your way to winning that next contract.


For more information, check out some of our other resources!