The Anatomy of Bid Management
As illustrated below, successful bid management relies on an amalgam of interrelated and complementary skills. At its core it is all about robust project management: (a) adapting a set of repeatable bid processes to a specific opportunity, so as to drive toward the submission of a winning bid; (b) orchestrating the effort of others for the creation of a successful proposal and deliverable solution; (c) to continual improve the quality of underlying bid assets, and thereby raise the reputation of the entire enterprise.
Bid Managers are professionals that sit between sales and project staff. Their key role is to present a proposal to a client that meets their business and cost objectives, whilst minimizing risk and maximizing profit for their own company.
Principal bid management responsibilities:
To win – make every effort to produce a winning bid which as far as possible meets the customer’s requirements within his / her budget and at a price and strategy to beat the competition. It should have a consistent sales message throughout. The proposal should in any case enhance QSG’s reputation with the customer, but should not expose QSG to undue risk.
To comply – with an agreed bid process (including opportunity registration and qualification, solution shaping, bid file and workspace management, sales pipeline management, bid planning, risk management).
To ensure – that all bid stakeholders for the bid, including external partners, are fully aware of the input that you require from them and the timetable for that input.
What makes a good bid manager?
A bid manager shouldn’t be an expert on any one subject (although they usually have a strong suit) but should know enough about every subject that they can tell an expert (whether an engineer, project manager or salesperson) what they need, when they need it by, who needs to be involved, who needs to approve what we say and what format we’ll say it in.
Every bid manager will have a ‘kit bag’ with them of the tools and techniques that help them to do their job, this may be templates, model answers, tools or even techniques they’ve learnt – it means that they’re usually able to fill a hole well (not as well as the expert but well enough) wherever they find it.
Does every company need bid managers?
Every large company and almost every IT company (big or small) has been using bid management since the 1990’s; these companies recognize that the complex solutions that they sell are too much for a single person to fully understand and sell as well and that they need to embrace a ‘sales team’. Any company that wants to join them as a large company has to do the same; putting the bid management structure in place means that you can recruit the sales team just on their sales ability and they will secure additional business to offset the assistance they get from the wider team.
The first step to growth is to build your bid management team.