The short answer to the above is a multi-tasking plate spinner.
While Bid Writing focuses on constructing responses that will pique a client’s interest and meet all their requirements within word or page limits of the bid, a Bid Manager must not only ensure the content contains all the necessary and relevant information but must also be able to successfully deliver the bid, taking full ownership of the end-to-end process.
Successful collaboration and management of multiple department key stakeholders such as the operations team, technical experts, accounts, health and safety, compliance, environmental, customer services and even company directors, is key to gathering the required information, process and data needed to answer the questions asked within the bid. This is where the multi-tasking skills come into play. All the above stakeholders are staff who have their own day jobs to deal with and may not put their input into a bid as a priority. It is the role of the Bid Manager to keep on top of these multiple stakeholders and drive responses in a timely manner.
Prior to starting the bid process, the Bid Manager will compile and gather all the required documents for a “bid-no bid” meeting to ensure all stakeholders have the information needed to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with the bid or not. The information discussed could include if the bid is financially viable, any added or social value that can be added, what Unique Selling Points (USPs) can be used to tip the balance towards a winning submission and if there is sufficient resource to both complete the bid and deliver the service required.
Key tasks of a Bid Manager can include, but are not limited to:
- Ensure Key Stakeholders are involved from the beginning.
- The Bid Manager must effectively and articulately communicate what the client is asking for to the stakeholders. This is done by reading through the documentation thoroughly, picking out keywords and phrases, and interpreting their requirements.
- Consulting with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) throughout the drafting of responses to make certain information provided is correct, true and delivered within the timeframes of the bid process.
- It is vital that was it being offered in the bid is what can realistically be delivered, especially if this is what tipped the bid in the direction of the winning submission. If it is not delivered the company will gain a reputation of not being able to deliver on its promises and being unreliable and untruthful.
- Establishing timeframes for information to be fed back to the bid writers will ensure they have the information they need with plenty of time to construct a strong response. Late feedback can result in rushed responses and/or delays in submission.
- Making sure all relevant documents such as insurance certificates and accreditations are up to date and valid.
- Out of date certificates and accreditations not only look disorganised but may make insurance invalid.
- Organising kick-off and review meetings.
- The most difficult task can be arranging times and dates of meetings where all key stakeholders can attend within a suitable timeframe to ensure the bid can be completed without rushing last minute agendas. The earlier these are organised the better to navigate any unforeseen obstacles, i.e. absence through illness.
- Drafting and reviewing responses themselves
- A good Bid Manager will roll up their sleeves and jump in as and when needed to ensure deadlines are met.
Effective time management and organisational skills are two of the most important attributes in a Bid Manager and they tend to be the “glue” that holds a bid together without individuals going off doing their own thing, or not doing what needs to be done.
Bids give an indication, not only of what an organisation can offer in terms of services, but also shows how organised and compliant they are, and demonstrates attention to detail. Bids submitted with either the wrong or missing information or failure to meet requirements will result in lost business opportunities and damaged reputations.