What is a bid manager?

If you’re new to the world of bid writing, perhaps dipping your toe into putting your name forward for contracts, you may have come across the role of Bid Manager. But what does a bid manager actually do, and why are they pivotal to the writing and submission of a winning bid proposal?

Who is a bid manager?

As defined by the APMP (Association of Bid Proposal Management Professionals), a bid manager is “responsible for managing a bid or proposal opportunity from qualification to contract award”. 

A bid manager is a strategic sales professional responsible for overseeing the entire bid process, from identifying opportunities to submitting winning proposals. They act as the conductor, orchestrating a team of experts to craft compelling responses to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and secure lucrative contracts for their company.

What does a bid manager do?

It’s a bid manager’s job to oversee the entire bidding process from start to finish, from selecting the relevant bids and liaising with the client to gain all the necessary information, to managing the team of writers who will be producing the final submission. Where necessary, bid managers will also contribute to the content of the bid. They may also have other responsibilities throughout the bid process, including:

  • Partner identification
  • Risk management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Customer relationship management
  • Strategy and proposal development
  • Legal review
  • Price development

In order to do this effectively, a bid manager will need to have a deep and thorough understanding of the commercial and operational aspects of a business. This specific knowledge will give them the skills they need to not only write some parts of the bids themselves, but to also ask the right questions to the potential client, know how to articulate answers in the most effective way, and choose the best-suited writers who can enhance the bid. 

It’s also vital that a bid manager has a strong idea of what the tendering organisation is looking for in terms of a provider. This means that they will not only be able to put forward the most suited prospects, but also ensure they put their best tender proposal.

What skills do you need to be a bid manager? 

Hard skills

  • Proposal writing – While bid managers won’t handle the entire writing process, they will need to have the ability to write clear, concise and persuasive proposals that resonate. 
  • Project management – As it is the bid manager’s ultimate responsibility to keep the bid process on track, ensuring that deadlines are hit are a must, so bid managers may need to juggle multiple tasks at once.
  • Technical understanding – While not an expert in every field, a good bid manager has a solid understanding of a company’s offerings, and the industry they operate in. An understanding of technical jargon can be a big plus.
  • Financial knowledge – Bid managers need to be comfortable with costing projects and ensuring proposals are financially sound.

Soft skills

  • Organisation – As they will often be juggling multiple proposals at once, bid managers will need to have an up-to-date knowledge of where each project is up to. 
  • People skills – A bid manager will be deadline with a lot of people on both sides of the proposal, so strong interpersonal skills are a must. As the bid manager, your job will be to lead the team, so it’s important you’re all pulling in the same direction. 
  • Attention to detail – A keen eye for detail is needed to ensure all proposals are flawless and not only tick spelling and grammar boxes, but also meet all the proposal requirements. 
  • Problem-solving and adaptability – Bid processes can be dynamic, requiring quick thinking and the ability to navigate challenges effectively.

What qualifications do you need to be a bid manager?

While there’s no specific degree requirements to step into a career in bid management, many employers will want to see an undergraduate degree, usually in a relevant subject such as English, business management or sales and marketing.

You could also study a subject relevant to the industry you want to specialise in, such as IT, civil engineering or housing.

Ultimately, a degree is not a dealbreaker and shouldn’t hold you back from applying for relevant roles. Above all else, employers will want to see strong language and communication skills, attention to detail, and leadership.

What salary can you expect to earn as a bid manager?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a bid manager can range from £39,000 to £55,000 per year depending on experience.

Why is it important to have a bid manager?

Bid and tender management can sometimes involve contracts that are worth hundreds of thousands, so a competent and experienced bid manager can make all the difference. A bid manager has the expertise needed to craft a winning proposal, ensure that responses align perfectly with a client’s needs, and to stand out from the competition to get that tender win over the line. 

A bid manager can be an invaluable asset to driving business growth, and transforming proposals into successful, long-term partnerships.

Here at BWS, our team of in-house bid writers have years of experience in crafting winning bids; they understand what it takes to ensure that best practices are followed, and your very best foot put forward every single time.

Thinking of submitting your business for tender contracts? Get in touch with our team today to discuss your requirements, from bid preparation to bid management, and discover how we can support you to win more contracts.

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