Guiding you on your journey to sell to New Zealand government

Selling to government is hard!

A myriad of expectations, confusing acronyms and topped off with a tight timeframe. If you are baffled by the jargon and frustrated by the bureaucracy, and unclear of where this journey even starts, then you are not alone.I can be your navigator and guide. With a 13-year background in New Zealand government procurement, and working in sales in the UK before then, I have sailed in both ships. I have worked across multiple New Zealand agencies, buying across a range of categories, including IT, office furniture, professional services and social services. I have also sat on the supplier side of the fence, and experienced the frustrations with responding to multiple requests for proposal and tender.I have built a detailed knowledge of how government procurement teams try to buy the services and goods they want, and the processes they use to get there. I also know the crevices and pitfalls that can trip suppliers up, and the common challenges that stand between them and success.I bring my detailed understanding of the procurement processes, terminology, and administrative angles to help you get the contracts that will make a difference for your community and your business.If you want to be the change you want to see in the world, I can help you land that elusive and mysterious contract so you can get on with making things better. I can support you with:
• Training with tips and tricks to get you started
• Detailed workshops that dive deep into common elements of a response to a request for proposal
• A friendly face as you develop your response, providing support, guidance and quality assurance to make sure you present yourself at your best
Wherever you are at in your journey to sell to government – if you want to know more about how the world of procurement works, if you want support reading and understanding the request for proposal documents, or if you want an opportunity to discuss your proposal as you go, then drop me an email, give me a call or click here to book in a time to chat.


“I can’t recommend Jo Toon highly enough for her invaluable assistance with our recent government RFP. Jo is not only personable and professional, but her wealth of experience shines through in every interaction. Her insight into structuring proposals and communicating clearly proved instrumental in navigating the complexities of the process. Thanks to Jo’s guidance, we were able to present a compelling and concise submission. Working with Jo was truly a pleasure, and I’m grateful for her expertise.”Alan - White Creative 2024

My experience

I have worked in New Zealand government agencies for thirteen years, with experience at the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, Oranga Tamariki and Ministry of Justice. I have run procurement processes for a diverse range of requirements, including IT, professional services, furniture and social services.Before I moved to New Zealand, I worked in an IT business, on the sales side of the procurement process, so I also understand the frustrations from the other side of the fence.I completed my learning pathway through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply qualifications, finishing the Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply in 2014. I have trained other government procurement professionals through the Demystifying Procurement course, and supported and mentored CIPS students. In 2018, I wrote textbooks for the updated CIPS curriculum.

My articles

Click here for links to my articles on LinkedIn

What I offer

New Zealand government spends about $51.5 billion a year on externally sourced goods and services. In my thirteen years working in New Zealand government procurement, I have seen that there are a large number of smaller New Zealand organisations who have really great offerings that would support government agencies, and the people of Aotearoa.However, they struggle with the formal procurement processes, which can be difficult to navigate and full of jargon.As a top level procurement professional with additional experience of being on the 'sales side' of the fence, I am a skilled navigator to support you on your procurement journey. I provide you with the map, help you pack your bags and prepare, and then walk alongside you as you create and submit your response. With me as your guide, you can position yourself for success!

A trusted navigator for your procurement journey

As your navigator and guide for the procurement process, I can help you plan, prepare and walk with you.
My support covers the three stages of a journey:


Working out your route

Are you new to selling to government? Never embarked on this journey before? Confused and lost without a guide?
This hour long course will give you your map to how the procurement process works, and give you some tips and tricks to spruce up your responses.

Packing your Bags

Getting prepared for the journey

Do you want to prepare ahead of time so that you are ready for the journey ahead? Keen to go into more detail on common pitfalls, or how to build some answers to common questions?
Then my customisable workshop will help make sure you are all set for the next steps.

Walking with you

Navigation and guidance along the way

Do you have a specific request for proposal that you would like support on? Keen to have a navigator to walk alongside you, to help you with planning, or to review your progress?
Get in touch to see how I can support you through the process.

© Joanne Toon. All rights reserved.


Are you new to the world of bidding for work with government? Curious to know what it's all about? Thinking about dipping your toes in the water, but want to know more before you commit?
My Mapmaking one hour presentation steps you through the basics of government procurement. It will give you an understanding of the journey that you are about to embark on, with the signposts for the critical elements on the path.
Mapmaking covers the following topics:
• An introduction to procurement and why government buys the way that it does
• Accessing openly advertised opportunities
• The anatomy of the process; what to expect from a Request for Proposal / Tender and what happens once it has been submitted
• Tips and Tricks for responding
At the end of the MapMaking session, you will have a better understanding of how government procures goods and services, what the process looks like and how to avoid making some of the common mistakes.
MapMaking is ideal for a 'brown-bag' lunch session, or to fit in during the day. It will best suit organisations with little experience of bidding for work.

© Joanne Toon. All rights reserved.

Packing your Bags Workshop

Are you tasked with nailing that elusive contract with your local council or key government agency? Thrown so much time at responses to requests for proposals and not gotten anywhere?And you don’t even know why your approach isn’t working!I get it! Selling to government is hard. There are so many acronyms, documents buried in jargon, obscure processes, and on top of that, tight deadlines that you have to manage around everything else in your job.
Statistics show that the average bid takes over 30 hours of writing time*, then there’s planning, people wrangling, review and submission on the top – you could easily be spending a week on each response.
*Loopio 2024 RFP Trends and Benchmarks report
What if you could use that time more effectively?
What if:
• You had an easy to use go/no-go tool that helped you decide whether or not to bid in the first place?
• You had a simple model for planning out your response and using your time to the best effect?
• You had pre-formed responses for those questions that appear over and over again?
• You had some tight case studies and succinct bios for your key people?
Well – you can!With my Packing your Bags workshop, we will get you ready for the journey ahead. You will get the tools to decide whether or not to bid. You will learn the techniques needed to plan your response timeframe. And together, we will craft some answers that you can use and adjust as needed for future bids, giving you more time to focus on the questions that count.This workshop is fully customisable to ensure that it gets the best value for your needs, so get in touch to discuss the options.

© Joanne Toon. All rights reserved.

Walking with you

Do you have a bid on the go? Spotted a Request for Proposal or a Request for Tender which you'd love to respond to? Are you aware of something coming up that would be perfect for your organisation?Imagine having someone walking alongside you who truly understands the government procurement process and who can support and guide you around the cliff edges and pitfalls. Wouldn't it be great to have the confidence that you have met the requirements of the procurement process and put in your best response?My Walking With You service does just that. A tailored package, customised for the specific procurement process you are responding to you will provide you with the support that you need to polish your response and ensure you are presenting yourself at your very best.Services included within the package:
• Support with the Go/No-Go decision – should you bid at all?
• Reviewing the procurement documents for fishhooks and pitfalls; helping you understand where there may be areas of concern or clarification questions may need to be raised
• Working with you to map out the response journey, helping you to understand the weightings to plan your time
• Helping you plan out your response, including supplementary information and documents that may be required
• Attendance at briefings / question and answer sessions
• Review of documents at pertinent points to give you the confidence you have answered the questions sufficiently
• Final review and proof read prior to you submitting the response
• Support with any secondary stages to the procurement process, such as presentations
If you want that expert guide to walk alongside you as you navigate the procurement journey, then get in touch and let's talk.

© Joanne Toon. All rights reserved.

Back to Home

I regularly publish articles on LinkedIn - check out the links below

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail!

How well do you plan ahead? Whether you are part of a procurement team, or a supplier submitting a response, a robust planning process makes all the difference to the end outcomes!Check out my article for some key tips to help you plan for responding to a procurement process.

How do you see the world?

I've been having a number of conversations recently about aphantasia, and the different ways people perceived the world around them.In this article I explore a little about what aphantasia is, and why it is so important to understand different perceptions of the world when writing / responding to a procurement process.

Beyond Price: How knowing your Broader Outcomes can help lift your tender response

Demonstrating how you comply with "Broader Outcomes" is a requirement that often comes up in a procurement process. The questions involved can be specific or generic, they can have a large or a small weighting. But what are Broader Outcomes? Why are they important, and how do you tailor your response to position yourself for success in this area?
This article explores the concept of Broader Outcomes and provides some hints for how to approach these all important questions.

Need some extra support?

Ask most suppliers who bid for work with New Zealand Government agencies and they will agree that the process is hard. It is bureaucratic, and takes time and resources that are in short supply, particularly for small and medium enterprises.Whilst bigger organisations can employ bid teams or engage with consultants to write proposals for them, this is a luxury that smaller businesses can struggle to afford.I know that nothing compares to having someone walk alongside you when you are submitting a response. However, for those who want to do some pre-reading or preparation, there are some great free resources out there, with hints and tips for navigating the process. They aren't always easy to find - they can be buried under a number of layers and often you need to know what to look for in order to find them.So, I’ve done some research for you, and pulled together a list of some free resources that will help smaller organisations to get to grips with the procurement process. These range from a short read to more detailed information – pick and choose where you would like to invest your time.

Procurement myths: Debunked

Are you interested in government contracts, but worried that the process is too complex? Concerned that only large companies with a multinational reach stand a chance? Worried about investing valuable time and energy into a long winded procurement process?In this article, I explore and debunk three common misconceptions about government procurement.

To bid or not to bid - that is the question!

If you are bidding for work with government, it can be very tempting to throw your hat in the ring for every opportunity that comes your way. However, this drains valuable resource and energy, and makes it more likely that each bid will be unsuccessful.In this article, I discuss a simple Go / No-Go tool that businesses can use to help them decide whether or not to bid on an opportunity.

Everyone loves feedback

If you are bidding for work with government in New Zealand, there is a requirement that agencies offer debriefs at the end of the process.Debriefs are valuable opportunities to understand where a bid may have lost marks and where they could have been improved.But only one in three suppliers seem to take agencies up on the offer of a debrief.In this article, I explain what a debrief should include, and some hints and tips on questions to ask in order to make the most out of this meeting.

Are you making these top three bidding mistakes?

In New Zealand, government spends about $51.5 billion a year on buying goods and services. The vast majority of this will go through some form of competitive procurement process, mainly through advertising the opportunity on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS).Businesses pour significant portions of their time into responding to requests for proposals and requests for tenders.Yet when procurement professionals and evaluators start reading the responses, they often see simple mistakes that cost businesses vital marks, impact their overall scores, and significantly reduce their chances of winning the contract.This article explores the top three issues that I’ve seen through my career in procurement, each of which has cost businesses dearly during the process.

© Joanne Toon. All rights reserved.