Planning a bid to bring everyone together in a very short deadline is one of the biggest challenges facing Bid Managers today. Good Bid Managers are, in fact, VERY STRATEGIC CAT HERDERS.
Bringing technical, commercial, sales, legal and business experts, managers and senior level executives together for input, comments, review or approval takes time, patience, and a lot of chasing (and herding), particularly when time zones, different communication preferences and competing priorities come into play.
Typically, this expertise is scattered across the organisation, other office branches, and even in networked consortia in different locations (perhaps even in different countries).
Bid management vs project management
Bid management and project management are closely intertwined – it has to be done on time, and to cost and quality, but project management alone is not enough to win business over your competition. The fundamental difference between bid management and project management is usually one of time, budget and resources.
A Bid Manager juggles many tasks. They not only run the bid as a project but they are also responsible for defining the win strategy and win themes, meeting all of the customer requirements, and writing a persuasive submission that is compliant, compelling, and which is easy to evaluate to justify the contract decision.
Beyond preparing the offer, they are often required to negotiate and close the bid, and ensure the smooth transition of the bid to contract implementation. Bidding can cost up to 2% of a contract’s value so qualifying those bids to ensure the best chance of winning is the key to profitability.
From excel and email trail to cross-functional deal rooms
Often, Bid Managers have to be quite resourceful given their constraints of working in a fast-paced, lean and collaborative environment. Up until now, they have had to rely on a patchwork of tools to manage their roles – from excel to emails, and shared file repositories.
More than ever, collaboration needs greater two-way interaction, without the clutter. This is the especially case when Bid Managers have been presented with an opportunity where there has been little or no engagement with the customer.
Strategic insight and efficient processes
It is not an uncommon scenario with government tenders, therefore, to prepare a truly competitive response, Bid Managers need to extract as much insight and value as they can from a multitude of stakeholders – from gaining deeper insight and understanding of what the customer is seeking to achieve, to who will be evaluating the bid, and what their key drivers or ‘hot buttons’ are. They need to develop key themes, understand major differentiators, and come up with discriminators (the killer edge) over other bids.
The Bid Manager is often faced with a balancing act of meeting the requirements of the customer with that of the internal capabilities of their organisation. By implementing systems that help to qualify the opportunity, and which helps to share intelligence across the team in a collaborative environment all the while keeping progress visible, greatly improves the chances of winning.
For organisations where bidding plays a large part of how they secure and maintain customers and contracts, Bidhive helps them quickly compile their bid teams, allocate tasks, set decision gates and build on the success of their previous bids. By using Bidhive’s all-in-one Content Library, Bid Builder, Bid Tracker and Task Management modules organisations can also optimise bid team resources, wherever they are located.
About the author
Nyree McKenzie is the co-founder and CEO of Bidhive. With more than 25+ years’ experience as a Bid Manager and Management Consultant, Nyree has gained significant international experience leading bid teams through complex, high value contract pursuits as well leading enterprise process improvement and change initiatives. Having worked in the bid management industry for many years, Nyree was motivated to help companies scale and transform their painful manual bid processes to achieve more through automation.
Bidhive helps companies plan, manage and track their bid activity with an end-to-end platform that follows the key stages of the bid lifecycle. From capture planning to proposal development and post-submission analysis, Bidhive provides the framework, critical path and collaboration tools that executives, bid teams and individuals need for improved productivity and bidding success.