Are your bid management processes and systems set up to give you the best shot at winning that million-dollar bid?
How to win a tender? At times it’s the price that goes wrong, sometimes the technical solution, and at other times it’s the client. But what is common across bids is – your bid processes. Are your bid management processes and systems set up to give you the best shot at winning that million-dollar bid?
Let’s look at the key elements a productive bid management process should have.
1. Flow of information – Communication and collaboration are crucial to any project involving multiple participants. Without proper, consistent, and transparent information flow bid team members may not understand the complete context. And thus, not be able to volunteer their best efforts. That leads to more re-work (and time) than estimated – whether its proposal, BOM, or pricing.
Things to check:How do we share tender summaries, how frequently do we have update meetings, how do we record and communicate important minutes, do we have a bid process flowchart.
2. Responsibilities and accountability – As Jim Collins remarked in his famous book Good to Great, having the right team is one of the most important ingredients for Greatness. Can we get the right team members working on the bid, instead of just who’s available? That starts with having your bid team members specialize in specific areas – industry or territory or solution. This in turn will build strong distinctive tone of your bids.
Most of us create a RACI tracker to manage the bid response. Yet the bid manager is constantly chasing the participants for their inputs/updates. Emails become the system-of-records. That leads to poor traceability and history. Not to mention productivity of the bid manager.
Things to check: When was the last time we revisited our tracker template/format, how easy (or difficult) is it for the bid manager to capture and report progress, have we clearly defined bid team roles & responsibilities, can we easily determine TATs, across bids.
3. Visibility and tracking – Does this mean calling the account manager and asking “where are we on this”. Even if the volume of your bids is not high, the complexity or the value of the deal makes it important to have proper visibility and tracking. In Tender management it is crucial to know what work is remaining, will we be able to make it on time, or do we need some extension/augmentation.
At the business level, CXOs would like to proactively understand the health of their business – how many bids are in development stage, how has it changed over last month, is the value or volume of bids submitted growing Q-o-Q, what is the ratio of no. of bids created : no. of bids won. And more.
Things to check: Once the bid is submitted, where does the tracker go? Can I generate a complete audit trail of all tasks and actions, can I track all the revisions of the various docs created?
4. Checks and balances – Probably not everyone likes this, but it’s important that the core components of the bid are reviewed and verified before submission for final approval. That deal risks and their mitigations do not stay on paper. And, Approvals do not get lost in emails. In tender management identifying the project risks and mitigating those or factoring those in the commercial construct is essential to ensure that the project doesn’t go red.
Things to check: What will happen if the bid manager leaves? What if the PSTs get corrupted or if the account manager’s laptop crashes? How are the multiple revisions of the bid recorded?
5. Decision-support – Call it the good old way (analytics) or by its more current name (data science), the fundamental point is – are you using the process information to make better decisions for the next bid. Starting with Go : No-Go, pricing analysis, or win-loss summary. If you develop data capture points along the way, and assemble them centrally, they will start churning out insights that will help you make better deal decisions. If you want to improve your odds of how to win a tender, bid analysis has to be a priority for you.
Things to check: How frequently do we generate bid MIS? Do we have a bid funnel? Do we analyse lead measures? How/when do weanalyze historical bid data?
These are the core areas that determine whether your bid processes and systems are an enabler or a deterrent to your winning. Too much of legacy never benefitted anyone. Either in processes or systems. Fix it .. and have a great H2!
Comments and observations welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.