These days bidding on contracts has become a part of everyday life for companies of all sizes.
In large organisations this is no problem as they can take the headcount of running a big bid team to create and manage content, and drive timelines forward to produce professional and compelling responses.
But what about the companies who bid less frequently or cannot afford a dedicated bid team?
At the next level down we frequently see massive bids headed up by the sales team (often with the support of the Directors).
Now we’re big fans of salespeople at Sales Engine as you’d expect. Two thirds of our Directors cut their teeth doing just that job. But if we’re being honest, when it comes to the processes of running a bid, a salesperson really shouldn’t be your first port of call.
From a pure quality point of view the majority of salespeople are best equipped to do the creative thinking and guide strategy. They are not, however, usually very good at running spreadsheets, tracking timelines, or paying attention to the minutiae. More importantly they are also a ferociously expensive resource to have behind a desk checking content rather than in front of customers selling.
This is where the Bid Manager is worth their weight in gold. Bid managers excel in the office environment, bringing together disparate teams of people to create a collaborative document. The skillsets do overlap in parts but the role of Bid manager ideally needs to be filled as its own role – not an interchangeable position. The bid document is a vastly different medium of communication and one which needs a specialist touch to perfect. The salesperson should inform the strategy and direction, but they need access to a skilled resource to really bring it all together.
Even if your company can’t justify the cost of hiring a full time bid manager then there is always the option to outsource the bid management elements for your key bids. In our opinion, the essential skills brought to your bid that will drive the quality of the responses and keep it all on track will more than offset the investment required. The beauty is that you win by producing a better bid, but you also enable the salesperson to spend more time with the customer rather than building the document, so your knowledge and messaging will be stronger as well.
So next time you see one of your sales team pulling an all-nighter to get a document done maybe it is time to look again at your bid processes and how you can transform your approach to make the most of the time and talent you have available to you.