What do Bid Managers do?
Each bid should be viewed as an individual project with one person fulfilling a bid management role. If your organisation spends a large amount of time tendering for business each year you should consider appointing a full time bid manager. If you only respond to a small number it’s best to identify someone with the appropriate skill set and ask them to carry out the role as needed.
Trying to find someone with good project management, business analysis, technical writing and marketing skills is very difficult. Given that good project managers and marketeers exist within their own functional and mental silos it’s rare to find someone with a good grasp of both. You also want someone who is curious and creative. A lot of people have that beaten out of them when they enter the work force. People who read broadly and have an interest in the arts are more than likely to have a novel take on things than someone who has had his or her head stuck in a Prince 2 manual. Whoever winds up fulfilling the bid management role should be aware of where their strengths lie and look for assistance wherever their skill-set is lacking.
If you decide to appoint a full time bid manager be mindful that due to the unrelenting and high pressure nature of the role there can be a high level of turnover. If you are a large organisation who responds to a number of bids concurrently it may be wise to have a number of bid managers working across these opportunities.
The bid manager will typically examine each opportunity and make an initial assessment as to whether it is the organisation’s interest to engage in a bidding process. If the bid manager decides that it is in the company’s interest, he or she will put together a business case and present it at a formal bid qualification meeting.
In the event that the executive / senior management team decide to pursue the opportunity, the bid manager will then follow a structured process that looks after the following areas:
- Role and responsibility allocation
- Gap analysis, and the identification of bid deliverables and activities
- Document structuring, template building and control
- Review meeting schedule
- Quality assurance
- Document finalisation, sign-off and submission
- Post-award debriefing.
Bid managers own the master document and control all changes. Their good business analysis, technical writing and marketing ability means that they have the skills to write the key pieces of the document. Ideally they will have a very good understanding of your business and the type of products and service models you specialise in. It’s important that they are able to build relationships quickly across the entire organisation as they will be highly reliant on the cooperation and goodwill of subject matter experts when designing new services and offers for potential clients.
In the event that they do not have the capacity or expertise to write about a particular area they allocate the writing responsibility to an internal or external subject matter expert, or else interview them in order to elicit the relevant information. On receiving the piece from the subject matter expert they incorporate it into the document in a fashion that is consistent with the rest of the content.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this piece and that you now have a better understanding on the job of the bid manager.
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