One of the elements of great bid management is a good bid team. Teamwork really helps improve your chances of winning tenders.
Larger business will often have bid writing departments and bid managers. They will also be used to assembling bid teams to tackle complex tenders. But smaller businesses often overlook how important teamwork is in winning tenders. In our work as Tender Consultants we often find that SMEs only have one person dealing with tenders. This is potentially limiting their chances of success.
Forming a Bid Team and nominating a Bid Manager will help you to produce higher quality tender responses. The diagram below shows the key elements of a Bid Team:
What is Bid Management?
It is the process of project managing a tender, sales proposal or pitch from start to finish.
It includes completion of the all aspects detailed below, managing people and ensuring everything is completed in a timely manner.
Ideally, bid management starts before before the issue of a tender. That way, the team is better prepared to compete. It ends sometime post-award. That ensures the hand-over to the team running the contract is seamless. And everything agreed in the bid (from the supplier and customer) is covered.
The Bid Manager
The Bid Manager has overall responsibility for the tender or PQQ and leading the Bid Team. He or she will undertake project or ‘Bid Management’ of the tender. This involves pulling together a Bid Team and coordinating the team to ensure that everything is completed properly and on time.
Bid Management does not mean doing everything i.e. completing the whole tender. However, it is not uncommon for the Bid Manager to be heavily involved in writing copy and pricing. The split of work and responsibilities will depend on the size and make-up of the bidding organisation and the nature of each tender.
In a small business we normally see a director taking on the role of Bid Manager. Sometimes the role of Bid Management is undertaken by a manager, administrator or PA. They undertake all coordination, even though a director is busy working on writing and pricing. Whoever is the Bid Manager, they have to take on full responsibility of making sure everything pulls together and on time.
The Main Bid Team
While the Bid Manager may well be doing most of the work, teamwork is still vital to the success of a bid. The old saying of “two heads are better than one” is so true. Brainstorming a bid solution will help spark new creative ideas; colleagues will also provide a sense-check to help avoid making mistakes. The results can make the difference between winning and losing a tender bid.
In addition to Bid Management, the key tasks within the Bid Team include:
- Evaluating and qualifying the tender
- Writing copy and responding to tender questions
- Creating a technical or operational solution
- Ensuring compliance
Each one of these tasks may involve one or more people, and individuals may participate in more than one task. For example, Sales may be working on tender questions and pricing/margins; while Operations are writing technical answers and calculating cost-prices. In smaller businesses the whole team might be the MD, a manager and an administrator. Whoever is acting as Bid Manager he or she must be given the authority to be able to progress chase anyone in the Bid Team. For Example, a junior administrator undertaking Bid Management must be able to progress-chase senior management without fear of rejection. And their chase-ups must be acted upon. Failure of this often leads to late, rushed or incomplete tenders.
Most high-value tenders are complicated and at some stage of the tender process require input from a variety of sources. These can be from within your organisation or external resources:
- Accounts department or your accountant
- Bank – maybe for a bank reference
- HR for advice on recruitment or equality & diversity
- Suppliers and sub-contractors for pricing, availability and innovation
- Health and safety, environmental and quality – specialist advice
In addition to the ongoing checks and revisions when Bid Writing, it is a good idea to have someone proof read the final document before submission. Ideally this will be someone who has not been involved in writing and will view the tender submission with fresh eyes and identify improvements and errors. Many smaller businesses with limited resources get family and friends to assist with this.
There’s lots of advice to be found under the bid writing section. It’s not a bad idea to share the writing duties. It not only reduces the burden on individuals, it also allows people to cover their own speciality subjects. But is is best to have an individual to edit the entire document for consistency in style and grammar.
Bid Project Management
Planning for Tenders and PQQs gives a good outline on project bid management.
As Tender consultants, we undertake any one of these roles; from Bid Manager to Bid Writing or providing Bid Support. This will depend on the make-up and requirements of the bidding organisation and the complexity of the tender. Whatever role(s) we undertake, one of the key actions is to ensure that these bases are all covered. Doing so really does help improve the quality, and therefore likely success, of a tender bid.
If you need to improve your bid management, contact us for an informal chat about help with tendering.
Teamwork is such a good thing when trying to win a tender. Just make sure it’s properly coordinated.
As always, there is lots more that can be said about Bid Management and the Bid Team. I plan to add more articles on this subject. In the meantime, please do add your ideas below.