Whether it is an individual or a team that handles bids, bid management involves monitoring when opportunities for bids arise, writing a successful bid for a project, responding to questions about the bid, and handling interactions with the entity seeking bids for a planned project.
In small to medium-sized businesses, a bid manager is likely someone who has other responsibilities, such as a company director, administrator, manager or even a project assistant. For larger businesses that do a considerable amount of work from bids, a team led by a director may handle bid management. The team may include a bid director, bid manager, bid writers, a bid coordinator and a designer.
There are pros and cons of each approach used by small and large businesses. Large teams offer more resources to manage bids and offer team members with unique viewpoints to participate in the process. But a one-person bid manager also has advantages, including the ability to act quickly and with more flexibility without requiring a collaborative team process that may require time to respond.
A bid manager oversees the entire process, from selecting bids worthy of pursuing, bid preparation, bids writing and managing the team responsible for bids. A bid manager also contributes to any work related to the bid.
A bid manager must fully understand the commercial and operational aspects of the business they represent. They need this to know how best to craft proposals in response to bid requests and to determine whose expertise within the business is needed to effectively collaborate on developing the best, most responsive bid proposal possible.
A bid manager must understand what the request for bids actually is seeking, including requirements related to supplies, materials, specifications and other details needed to secure the project.
A bid manager must have a broad range of skills to successfully manage proposals, including:
- Organisation: Because they are in charge of managing internal collaboration and meeting key deadlines, organisation is a main skill for bid management. A bid manager may be responsible for juggling multiple bids at once, requiring them to closely monitor how each bid is progressing, what tasks need attention and which deadlines are looming.
- Communication: Bid managers are also the point of contact with the buyer and the point-person internally for the business to explain bids, requirements and other issues. This requires communication skills, including the ability to clearly explain a buyer’s needs to the internal team and to persuade the buyer that their business is best suited to work for them.
- People skills: Frequent communication with internal and external partners and solving problems that arise require a bid manager to know how to effectively interact with others. It may be necessary to persuade colleagues internally that they must help develop a bid response, even if they already have large workloads. It also may be necessary to lead a team of unmotivated or overworked colleagues who are not inspired to meet critical deadlines.
- Attention to detail: Bids include many requirements and specifications that must be followed. A bid manager must have a keen eye for detail to thoroughly review bids before they are submitted to ensure they have not missed anything and meet all requirements. From correcting misspelt words to confirming compliance with all specifications, a bid manager must be able to focus on the details.
Successful bid management requires planning, writing, designing, collaborating and supervising. Here are some bid management tips.
A writing guide that outlines style, tone, format and anything else needed to craft a bid will help ensure the final product is uniform and precise. All team members working on the bid must use this as the guide, including external contributors whose work may have to be edited by an internal colleague to ensure it matches the writing guide.
Because there are so many components to a bid, it’s important to break it down into manageable sections with realistic deadlines that ensure successful submission to a buyer. The plan should identify specific deadlines the buyer requires and internal deadlines for contributors to meet in order to satisfy the buyer’s time frame. The internal deadlines should allow for any corrections or modifications required before submitting the bid to the buyer.
Successful bids stand out because they engage the buyer. Focus on creative design, including flow charts, diagrams and graphics, that can help illustrate your points better than basic text in a bid. This will help the buyer visualize what you’re offering and make it easier for them to understand your bid.
It is important to meet regularly with the team to assess progress and resolve any issues with bids. Communicate with contributors to ensure everything is being done. Seek input to pursue new ideas and to identify problems early before they affect your bid.
Successful bids require effective bid management. It is essential to develop effective bid management practices that your organisation can follow in order to oversee the time-consuming process of preparing, writing and submitting bids.
Some businesses that don’t have a bid manager can be frustrated by the process because no individual oversees it. In addition to other work they must complete, someone responsible for bid management can become stressed by the difficult task of coordinating the work and the short deadlines necessary to complete the bid with other colleagues.
One way to overcome this issue is to partner with a bid management company that includes a team of writers who will work closely with your organisation to develop the best possible bid that stands out from the competition. At Bid Writing Service our win rate for bids is more than 75%. We are experts in every phase of the bid process with experience managing bids from start to finish and have worked with a variety of industries including construction, recruitment, transport, healthcare and more.