Skills for Tender Success

Today’s blog is about the skill sets needed on every tender. Some bid teams can be very tight and small, with just a few people involved, and others can be massive with literally hundreds of people working on the tender.

But no matter how big or complex the tender is, there are 5 skill sets needed on every tender to drive the tender’s success.

Let’s start at the big picture… the overall bid team. This means everyone working on the tender.

Within the overall bid team, there are two streams of expertise that need to collaborate to ensure the tender is successful.

The first stream of expertise is the project team. By this, I mean the full team of experts involved in developing the solution. Depending on the industry, this might mean designers, engineers, construction managers, project managers, lawyers, financiers, IT experts… basically, everyone from the organisation that develops the solution, works out how to deliver it, how to price it, and how to contractually engage with the client.

The second stream of expertise is the proposal team. By this, I mean the much smaller team of people who are involved in developing the submission itself. This usually means roles such as tender coach, proposals coordinators, bid writers, graphic designers and production managers. This team is responsible for how the solution is conveyed and sold to the client.

So, the project team develops the technical solution and the proposal team ensures the submission compellingly and persuasively sells that solution.

What you’ve probably noticed already is how many interchangeable terms there are. The names of the teams and streams and the role titles are all very confusing, even to people who work in the industry because there aren’t any defined terms or agreed definitions.

But regardless of the terminology issues, we can still define what skill sets are needed for a tender to have the best chance of success. Our approach at Aurora Marketing is to ensure every proposal team, regardless of tender complexity or scale or industry, covers five skill sets.

The first skill set is bid strategy. Every tender needs someone to facilitate the team and coach them to develop a strong and unique bid strategy, that differentiates the proposal from the competition. In our team, we call this role a Bid Catalyst. Other teams might call them Tender Coaches. And in some teams, the Project Director plays this role.

The second skill set is project management of the submission. Every tender needs someone to coordinate the team, establish milestones, manage communication, chase deadlines, schedule reviews, drive the quality assurance processes, set up SharePoint and so forth. In our team, we call this role the Bid Whip and in our view they are the lion tamers of the team that keep the team on track and performing.

The third skill set is content development. In our approach, content development includes everything from analysing the questions to understand what they really mean, through to the proof reading of the final submission documents and everything in between. In our team, this role is played by our Tender Writers who work hand-in-hand with the subject matter experts to develop the response to each question.

The forth skill set is creative design. These team members are responsible for the look and feel of the tender, including consortium names and logos, the design of tender folders and documents, and extra items such as vision documents and animations. Every tender needs to strike the right balance for the client so that the client is engaged and interested in the proposal. The creative design team members make sure that all the hard work in developing the solution and the submission itself, is supported and reinforced by the presentation of the submission.

And the final skill set is production management. These team members concentrate on the document construction, including setting up templates; formatting documents; printing, collating and quality checking the physical submission; and managing the electronic submission as well…[Read More]

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