Bid management is an important aspect for organisations that have come to realise the benefits of procuring big-money contracts that can boost a firm’s bottom line. However, it can be an expensive and time-consuming exercise that does not always end up being successful. As a result, many companies find it necessary to devote significant time and resources into the creation of a competitive bid document, which can be the difference maker.
At the core of the bid management process is a bid manager whose role comes with a wealth of challenges when it comes to coordinating the overall process. The best bid managers work smoothly, which can sometimes make it difficult for other people to see their exact input in the bidding process.
Individuals with experience in bid management – such as senior design director John Hiscocks – understand that a good bid manager can bring together all the different elements of the tender process so they work together effectively.
Bid managers understand the commercial and operational aspects of a business. They are also capable of understanding the requirements of the tendering organisation while creating a team that can deliver projects.
Some of the skills they possess include:
- Commercial Knowledge. A bid manager should understand in detail the requirements of the purchasing entity. By its nature, bid documentation can be very formal, so the manager has to identify the purchaser’s motivations to create a response that identifies these and answers all pressing questions.
- Organisation Skills. Bid managers have to be organised in their processes. They have to plan and be aware of the different factors that have to align for a successful bid. Typically, bids are requested with clear deliverables, with responses expected to adhere to these expectations. Interacting with stakeholders and ensuring all the information is ready is a part of the process.
- Delivering the bid on time can be the difference between landing a contract or losing one. To a bid manager, the ability to set personal deadlines and meet them is a key skill that can carry across the entire process. If the bid manager delivers on time and has a plan that identifies key milestones, the rest of the team follows.
- Relationship-building Skills. Good bid managers can draw upon their experience, knowledge and professionalism to build effective relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, all while maintaining good terms with everyone who is engaged in the proposal process.
- Presentation Skills. A bid manager not only has good communication skills, but they also have verbal presentation skills that are essential in single and group situations. Presentations are an essential means of describing in a formal manner the details of a bid to a purchasing company.
- Financial Knowledge. Importantly, a bid has to make commercial sense to the firm submitting the bid. A bid manager has to understand the purchaser’s pricing requirements while ensuring the costs of managing the project don’t erode the firm’s profit margins.
Quoting for a Tender
One of the toughest aspects of preparing a proposal is establishing an accurate pricing strategy. Many organisations put a strong focus on the pricing, since budgets tend to be limited and every party wants the maximum value for the lowest cost.
Bid managers have a responsibility to work with the firm’s financial stakeholders to come up with a proposal that meets the following expectations:
- The quotation is not too dissimilar to the competitors so that the company doesn’t price itself out of consideration.
- The pricing strategy is transparent and leaves little room for misunderstanding when the purchasing company evaluates the bid.
- The bidding company can deliver an outstanding service for the job without compromising on quality due to cost-cutting