14 November 2023

Navigating the Depths of Bid Management

Bidding for contracts is akin to embarking on a complex expedition. Success requires a well-orchestrated team effort, where each member plays a pivotal role. Whether you’re a seasoned bid professional or someone exploring the multifaceted world of bid management, it’s crucial to demystify the roles and responsibilities of the key players in this challenging arena. Here, we’ll explore the dynamic cast of characters that brings bids to life:

  1. Bid Co-ordinator: At the base of the bid team hierarchy, the Bid Co-ordinator may have less experience but shoulders vital responsibilities. They’re tasked with coordinating essential administrative activities, an indispensable role in ensuring a successful bid. From monitoring online portals where tenders are published to managing communication between the business and potential clients, including seeking clarifications and responding to mandatory queries, their role is multifaceted. Additionally, they often facilitate and attend Bid Team meetings, ensuring meticulous record-keeping and action log updates.
  2. Bid Executive: In smaller organisations, the roles of Bid Co-ordinator and Bid Executive may overlap, but the Bid Executive takes on additional responsibilities. They focus on the bid’s aesthetics and formatting, ensuring it aligns with client requirements and guidelines. In the public sector, where templates and strict word limits often prevail, they meticulously craft bid responses. In the private sector, they have more freedom to shape responses, sometimes collaborating with Graphic Designers to create bespoke templates and Bid Writers to infuse personalised content, including graphics and photographs. As Bid Executives amass experience, they may seek to transition into Bid Writer or Bid Manager roles.
  3. Bid Support: Bid Support is the linchpin of efficient bid management. This role involves gathering and disseminating key information about ongoing and recent bids. It includes sharing crucial statistics like win/loss rates and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Moreover, it encompasses the responsible archiving of bid documentation once the process reaches completion. On the organisational front, Bid Support ensures that the team’s annual leave records are up to date and accessible to all. When a client necessitates a hard-copy bid response, Bid Support takes charge, managing the printing and timely couriering of the bid to the client’s doorstep.
  4. Bid Writer or Proposal Writer: Often considered the wordsmith of the bid team, the Bid Writer sets the tone for the bid response. They initiate the process by engaging with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who will contribute to the bid, such as operational and commercial managers and specialists responsible for delivering the contract. Working closely with the Business Development team, Bid Writers immerse themselves in the client’s priorities and concerns to craft highly personalised responses. Their task is to ensure that win-themes shine through, all questions are answered, and unique selling points (USPs) are prominently highlighted. A compelling, convincing copy is their forte, one that establishes rapport with the client and inspires unwavering confidence in the team and the bid itself.
  5. Bid Manager or Proposal Manager: The Bid Manager oversees the entire bid process, from pre-kick-off preparations to bid development, review sessions, governance, and final delivery. Their role is multifaceted, involving the coordination of the bid team and SMEs within the organisation. They define critical milestones for the process and ensure that the bid adheres to its deadlines. Bid Managers are also vigilant in identifying and raising any potential risks, as well as addressing concerns related to bid quality, resource allocation, and deadline modifications. Their role is pivotal in safeguarding the bid’s overall success.
  6. Senior Bid Manager: Stepping into more advanced territory, the Senior Bid Manager is an experienced professional capable of taking charge of substantial bids. Typically, they oversee multiple bid teams that may work on bids across different sectors or geographical locations. This role demands a heightened level of strategic acumen and bid management expertise.
  7. Head of Bids: At the helm of the bid function across the organisation, the Head of Bids is a strategic leader, unafraid to challenge conventions when necessary. This role is characterised by a wealth of experience, often acquired by working for multiple businesses and bidding across a range of sectors and industries. The Head of Bids is a champion who steers the bid function toward alignment with the organisation’s goals.
  8. Bid Director: The Bid Director is the figurative compass of the bid. Their role is strategic and highly commercial, requiring them to source information from both within and outside the organisation. They are responsible for ensuring that each bid is optimised to its fullest potential. While a Bid Director may possess direct bid experience, sometimes this role is occupied by an individual with a robust commercial background. In such cases, the Bid Director collaborates with an experienced Bid Writer and Bid Manager. The Bid Director serves as the final escalation point before involving the Senior Sponsor. They are entrusted with raising any red flag recommendations that could potentially lead to halting work on the bid. Their overarching responsibility is to ensure that the bid’s delivery is not only successful but also profitable, aligning seamlessly with the organisation’s strategic bidding objectives.
  9. Bid Specialist: The ultimate expert in the bid hierarchy, the Bid Specialist is an external professional brought in to work closely with an organisation on their bid. These specialists possess a wealth of experience in bidding, accumulated over many years. Ideally, they are certified at either the Practitioner or Professional level by the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). Their expertise adds a valuable layer to the bid team’s capabilities, often proving instrumental in tackling complex bids.

At Bidding Ltd, our dynamic team encompasses a diverse range of roles meticulously tailored for each project. Ensuring the construction of a well-suited team is paramount for the success of every bid we undertake. For comprehensive bid writing and management, a typical team structure involves a Senior Bid Manager or Bid Director, a Bid Manager, and multiple skilled Bid Writers.

If you’re curious about how these roles collaborate to secure bid success, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Visit our website for more insights into our approach to winning bids.