Managing a bid can be a long process which often spends months, and even years, in the making. Putting the necessary steps in place to ensure that your bid stays focused, on task and on schedule takes knowledge and careful planning, both before and throughout your bid.
Here are 5 top tips for managing your bid and ensuring you win that all important contract.
Before embarking on your bid journey, doing your research is absolutely critical to ensure you start out on the right path and have all the tools you need to begin. While there is no upper limit to how much research you can do, there are a number of questions you should ensure are covered as a minimum.
Back in November think consultant Mark Davies suggested that finding the right opportunity to bid for is an important first step. Ensuring that your organisation meets the criteria for application, using pass/fail questions to help you roadmap potential challenges, and drilling down beyond jargon and buzzwords to understand the essence of the bid opportunity were all highlighted by Mark as important elements of your research phase.
- Do the maths
Working out the potential costs and return on investment for your bid should be done early on in the management phase, as it is this which will decide the ultimate feasibility of the opportunity and its value to your organisation.
A useful tendering guide produced by Invest Northern Ireland has some sage advice for working out the costs of the bid and the project as a whole. The guide reinforces the need ‘to make sure that you achieve full cost recovery but also show value for money,’ and to explore any potential hidden costs, down to the smallest detail, as these can often add up over the course of a bid.
Here at think we recommend spending 1% of the bid’s total value on your pitch, which acts as a useful benchmark to start from.
With so many long term and short term aims, putting off tasks indefinitely or not being clear on internal deadlines for completing stages of your bid can quickly throw it off track.
In a LinkedIn article back in July, Carla Thompson argued that ‘understanding the priority for each of your activities across all your bids is essential in completing them efficiently.’ She pointed out that this not only decreases timewasting, but allows you to carefully balance importance with urgency, two terms which are often conflated but mean very different things when talking about your bid.
Her handy table cleverly maps out which groups of tasks should be prioritised and when, and also allows you to categorise distractions and less productive tasks to keep them out of the way.
Although the value of initial planning is clear, remembering to constantly monitor progress and analyse successes and challenges is an equally important element of bid management.
One top tip from Business2Community argues that analysing previous progress can be a useful way of moving forwards. It is argued that ‘understanding past performance is key when adjusting current programs,’ as is drawing insights from weekly, monthly or quarterly progress reports that allow you to assess your development so far.
As bid day approaches, practicing your presentation and, importantly, your responses to potential questions, should not be underestimated or left to the last minute. Although you should avoid seeming over-rehearsed in your delivery, there are a number of bid elements which cannot be fully capitalised upon if you don’t practice in advance.
Have you ever considered the pace at which you speak? Have you considered your choice of words that help you to frame your ideas? Have you considered what your body language is saying about your bid before you even open your mouth?
These are all key questions to be addressed during the management phase, and which can be perfected with knowledge and practice. Want to know more about how think can help you to manage your bid? Check out our Bid Excellence programme here.
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