The Value Of Effective Bid Management
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
The bid & tender process can be a notoriously complicated and intricate business at times.
The competition is fierce and there is great potential for things to go wrong. The task list and project admin are endless and usually, a collaboration with multiple stakeholders is required across global teams for maximum intelligence and impact, leading up to the all-important submission deadline. In the past the responsibility for pulling together a bid was a bit of an ad hoc affair, often falling to the account manager attempting to fly solo with little time to dig into the detail of the RFP and see beyond the pricing element.
That is why it is crucial for someone to play the ringmaster throughout the process.
Someone who can not only keep all of the plates spinning but who can understand and interpret the tender requirement with acute precision and who can direct a coherent plan of action from the start ensuring compliance and responsiveness and meeting the scoring criteria by which the bid is measured against the competition. Enter the Bid Manager.
The Bid Manager's role
A bid manager/coordinator's role is to project manage and analyse the bid opportunity from qualification through to contract award and beyond by:
Starting to anticipate customer issues and cultivate responsiveness ahead of the RFP release.
Reviewing and understanding the bid request and ensure clarification if needed.
Preparing a comprehensive compliance matrix demonstrating an understanding of the RFP and providing it to the client to evaluate the response.
Maintaining customer focus throughout the proposal acknowledging their vision and hot-button issues and layering parallel theme statements throughout.
This also includes early and ongoing strategy development, legal review, solution development, winning pricing strategy, risk management, proposal documentation, potential partner identification and stakeholder management. Understanding the opportunity and leading teams through the systematic assessment of it is paramount. The bid manager must also be able to help determine whether specific opportunities are a good fit for your organisation's interests and capabilities, making sure resources are available for implementation. Good customer intelligence and a total understanding of a customer's needs both spoken and unspoken and the capabilities desired of a vendor must be ascertained with a clearly communicated business case, prior to participation. The bid manager leads the stakeholders through the multiple stages of the process from opportunity plan, bid/no-bid decision, solution design to proposal development and delivery. Crucially, it is the bid manager who ensures that the final proposal is compliant, highlighting all of the features and benefits of the vendor proposal whilst answering every aspect of the tender requirement, in full.
Bid Management Responsibilities
So, the bid manager is the most important figure in the bid & tender process with a list of exhaustive responsibilities:
Summary of key basic responsibilities:
Understands the rules of tendering and is able to interpret & communicate complex RFP requirements to all stakeholders.
Oversees key gate decisions from market assessment, account planning, opportunity assessment, opportunity planning, proposal planning, proposal development, negotiation through to delivery.
Decides and communicates project timelines and key player responsibilities for all aspects of the process from kickoff meeting to final review with clear deadlines.
Supports the analysis of competitive and customer data to identify how to package and price to win and demonstrate value
Prepare response document(s) templates, executive summary, presentation, questionnaire drafts for the core project team and act as a mentor for completion and review.
Oversee quality control for all submission documentation and procedures for proposal submission following customer rules and guidelines.
Have the ability to write well-structured persuasive, clear copy and collaborate with senior leadership, technical teams, legal and key relationship managers for input.
Understand graphics and action captions and page and document design to help simplify complex content.
Be able to identify appropriate opportunities for innovation from solution design to pricing, negotiation and beyond.
Why is Bid Management Important?
It is fairly straight-forward - good bid management should proactively bring together all the key stakeholders in the bid lifecycle effectively and efficiently to maximise a vendor's chance of securing business. However, win or lose, a strong, professional, structured bid response not only garners great industry reputation but builds brand value and trust at the very least, so the commercial cost of participation is not entirely lost. Without good bid management best practice, the entire tender is at risk of failure as teams often struggle to manage the process and the often unrelenting RFP requirements, whilst doing their day job. More and more org's large and small are implementing bid teams or are consulting with qualified bid & tender experts to help them gain the competitive edge and win bids.
Paula Harris at SavvyDesk is a member and qualified practitioner of Bid Management by the Association of Bid & Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) and has helped business leaders rethink their bid & tender process either acting as a mentor throughout the process or managing the practical elements of proposal preparation.
"Effective bid management and a good bid manager are fundamental to the tender process. A bid manager should not only bring clear strategy, skill and acute organisation to the table, but is someone who can immerse themselves in the end-to-end management of the project. Bringing together all the elements required for a successful bid is often a complex pursuit and I love helping people through the process and see them get results.
I have seen the effects of awful bid management where bids are lost due to laziness and complacency and the inability to communicate a clear plan-of-action or delegate tasks and responsibilities properly. Seeing valuable company resources wasted is so frustrating and what drives me to help businesses develop a first-class bid & tender strategy."
Get in touch with Paula to see how she can help you implement bid & tender best-practice to gain a competitive edge and get results by winning more bids.