The business world has reached a point in which, no matter the industry sector you’re activating in, it’s very likely that you, as a bid manager, will have to tackle multiple challenges for both the effective management and production of your bids.
In most cases, an organization has a team composed of a document manager, alongside a bid writer and at least one bid manager. Together they are responsible for the collation of the material, coming up with the solution that will eventually be pitched and putting together the entire document. After this point, it’s where bid managers come in, undertaking analysis of the bid in the draft, identifying all the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, then mitigating the results.
Keeping it short, the entire bid management process consists of two important elements: knowledge flow and people. However, there’s one important aspect you need to take into consideration: many of the bid writers usually have a day job to do. This means they are likely to work in different departments or locations, not to mention that some of them may have not worked in the same place before. The actual time frame for submitting the final bid proposal is incredibly short, which means the process management will be relatively difficult.
Therefore, today we are going to try to find out how to overcome these difficulties, by talking about some of the most common challenges bid managers face. And, of course, how to overcome them.
4 common challenges that bid managers face
Unfortunately for bid managers, submission dates are not under the control of organizations, as they should always be prepared and have well-equipped processes at their disposal, but also well-trained resources, in case they need to come up with an urgent submission.
However, it is possible to meet the tightest of deadlines, as long as the actions and all responsibilities are well planned and the organization has a proper knowledge management platform in place.
2. Availability of resources
We’re referring to various resources here, including human resources, infrastructure and many more, as they are all required to complete a bid in time.
Generally speaking, one of the challenges that bid managers face is dealing with a variety of people of multiple disciplines, both internal and external to the organization. And they depend heavily on employees from most company departments, including technical, finance, HT, legal or commercial.
In order to lower this dependency, there is a need for a well-written plan of the bidding process, but also for well-established communication channels and coordination.
3. Responding to the actual bid
There are cases in which the bid manager will put a lot of effort into putting together a proposal, just to see it being rejected.
Of course, coming up with the perfect response to a solicitation involves a great understanding of all requirements, but also the ability to convince that you are the best pick for the job.
The idea is actually simple at first, but the real challenge for the bid manager is to prove, through the bid, that the forwarded offer is by far the best choice. For more information on how to show potential clients you’re their best choice, take a look at our article about common mistakes to avoid when writing your RFP.
4. Coordination with your bid team
Finally, let’s not forget that bid management is also about teamwork. The entire ‘squad’ consists of all the people involved in the process, making sure it gets delivered to the customer on time.
Still, coordinating all the activities of the team can be pretty difficult, especially if the bidding manager doesn’t establish a healthy relationship with the functional departmental staff and their heads. And this is pretty much one of the most important activities of the bidding process.
In a nutshell: it’s all about efficient communication and knowledge management.
Having a repository of previous proposals can be incredibly useful to the proposal writer, so a bit of time spent focusing on organising all the available knowledge within a company can go a long way towards saving both time and resources when a new bid is needed.
Benefits of knowledge management for bid managers
We’ve managed to identify some areas which can be considered as best practice for collating critical information, required for producing compliant, compelling and engaging documents. Or, if you prefer, a few reasons why knowledge management can be one of the best solutions to overcome bid managers’ challenges.
- Knowledge management helps develop strong relationships with all key content providers within a company
- This connects the HR and Communication departments
- It reveals who is responsible for product updates and solutions, making sure the bid manager is regularly briefed about new initiatives
- It sets up a reliable and easily accessible content management system, with integrated reminders to update content which usually goes out of date
It can be useful to keep in mind that each company is different, through size, the amount of information that has been collected for effective process implementation, and more. Still, there are a few activities that can significantly increase your chances, as a bid manager, to win that work. And they mostly have to do with planning, preparation and organizing content from previous bids into a knowledge management platform.