Business Development

Contract Bid Managers Share Their Top 5 Lessons Learnt

By Hudson Procurement Group
August 2020

The role of a contract bid manager requires specific skills. Time management, attention to detail and the ability to cope under pressure are vital for anyone working in bid management.

Our contract bid managers have almost two decades of experience with tendering for work in numerous industries. During this time, they have encountered certain similarities between sectors, buyers and processes.

In this blog, our bid managers will be sharing the five key lessons they have learnt. They hope that this information will help you to implement processes and tactics to improve your tender success.

1. Three is the magic number

In the experience of our bid managers, three is the magic number when it comes to securing new contracts.

When tendering for work, evidence is key to impressing the buyer and securing the contract. The ability to demonstrate your capability lies in the quality and relevancy of your case studies. This is an opportunity to prove that you are the most suitable supplier for the work.

Most buyers will ask to see three relevant case studies. These case studies should demonstrate similar contracts that you have delivered. They should explain the challenges that you and your team faced and how you overcame them.

Sometimes, buyers will also ask to see three years-worth of company accounts. This is to prove that you meet their financial thresholds. Not all buyers will require this evidence. Subcontracting opportunities or spot provider framework agreements may only require demonstrable experience. However, it is worth noting that the accounts you supply should be under the current company name. If you were previously trading under a different name, you should clarify this with the buyer before submitting the accounts.

2. The importance of a robust tracking process

If you have searched for tendering opportunities previously, you will know that the number of sources is vast. There are thousands of buyers across the UK and that’s just the public sector. Private sector organisations will also offer tendering opportunities.

Tender tracking is a full-time job. Our contract bid managers advise creating a robust opportunity tracking process. They suggest using a software system that makes the process more efficient. They also advise familiarising a few different members of your team with the system. As internal situations change, you can guarantee that you will never miss a tendering opportunity if a few colleagues are knowledgeable about the process.

If you are looking for a solution to help you save time, our 11 sector-specific tendering portals are housed under our Hudson Discover division.

The portals were developed to speed up the opportunity tracking process whilst ensuring you never miss a contract. You can book a free live demo of a portal of your choice. The demo will allow you to access the system, see the opportunities we have sourced and understand how the portal can help your business. Simply call or email us to schedule the demo.

3. Flexibility is key – don’t be afraid of change

A contract bid manager must not be afraid of change. Unfortunately, no matter how rigorously you plan your time, there will be certain aspects that can’t be foreseen. Both the tender deadlines and the responses required can change throughout the process.

For example, if a large number of clarification questions are asked, the buyer may change some of the specification requirements. You will need to be reactive and adjust your timescales accordingly.

4. Invest in your preparation – it’s worth it in the long-run

If there’s anything that a contract bid manager can tell you, it is the importance of investing in your preparation. It might seem like a waste of time to draft content and create your corporate literature prior to finding a tender. However, creating these documents will undoubtedly save a large amount of time further down the line.

Preparation will also allow you to bid more reactively. You will have the facility to see a contract opportunity with a short deadline and immediately begin the writing process.

Even without a specification, it is possible to plan in advance. Depending on the contracts you are looking for, take educated guesses around the kind of evidence you will be asked to provide. Our bid managers advise building a library of content and literature that you can draw on at a moment’s notice.

If you need any support with preparing your content or starting to tender, our Tender Ready programme can help. Our bid consultants advise businesses who are new to tendering to begin with this service. During the programme, our team will develop your corporate literature and professionally brand your documents. They will also help you to find the right opportunities for your business to bid for. Finally, the team will offer to either write your next bid on your behalf or guide you through two.

Contact us for a free consultation.

5. Losing isn’t always negative

Obviously, no one wants to lose. Unfortunately, the truth is that when you enter into the tendering process, there is no guarantee of winning. There are numerous variables that can affect your score including;

The price you quoted
Your experience compared to bidding competitors
The quality of your written responses
Mistakes made by not thoroughly reading the specification
Too many grammatical or contradictory errors missed in the proofreading process
Or not keeping up to date with the clarification question responses and missing changes.

With this in mind, a contract bid manager knows that losing shouldn’t always be seen solely as a negative outcome. You can learn a lot from the feedback from the buyer.

The most important things our experts have learnt about turning feedback from a failed result into a positive outcome are;

Always ask for feedback if it is not provided

If you are unsuccessful, it’s important to understand why. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask the buyer to provide feedback regarding your submission. Buyers may provide this along with your result, but some may require a polite request.

Understand the key areas that were unsuccessful

When you receive your feedback, you will see the breakdown of your scores. From here, you can assess where the majority of your marks were lost. Was your price too high or were you written responses lacking detail? You can also see to what extent you lost the contract. It might be that you were only one or two marks off the winning submission. This tells you that your process is working, there are just a few small adjustments to make.

Keep your team informed

If you were not solely responsible for the bid, make sure that your team are informed and understand the result. Soon after receiving your feedback, you should meet with your colleagues to discuss the areas that require improvement. This should not be a case of “pointing the finger”. At Hudson, we are believers in winning together and losing together. However, it is important that you and your team understand the areas that need to be re-assessed and work to develop these together.

Further support

Have you recently lost a bid? Do you need support with improving your tendering process? Do you just need help with taking the first steps towards tendering for work? Contact us to speak to a contract bid manager about how we can help you see better results.

For more information, or to speak to a consultant, please visit our website.

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