What is the most important element of a successful bidding function in an organisation?
First let us define a successful bidding function as that which “wins profitable work whilst being motivated and positive”.
So what is the most important element…?
Could it be remuneration, recognition, praise, mutual respect, empowerment, clear communication, good bid scheduling, managing workloads well, an effective organisational structure, effective reporting lines, clarity in the direction of the bid, regular meetings, strong leadership, intelligent and capable people, striving for bid process best practice, commitments to continual improvement, training, or employing the best staff?
Enginance believes that all those elements are secondary, and that the single most important element is cohesion across everyone involved in a bid from the most junior to the most senior.
Put simply, there are always three agendas in any bid which may never be possible to reconcile fully:
- Sales/Marketing (winning the work)
- Operations/Delivery (delivering the work)
- Finance/Corporate (making money from the work)
During the bid phase the goal is to predict what the best submission would be to win, deliver and make money. The ideal is that each of the three parties above fully agree with the submission. The reality is that winning the work could involve not making enough money; or to deliver the work to time, cost & quality may mean the costs within the price are too high; or to win the work the operations teams will need to somehow do things cheaper. If there is discord during the bid phase then a rocky approvals process ensues which could lead to a sub-par bid being sent out. This in turn can mean losing to the competition or winning work that doesn’t go as expected regarding quality and profit.
Cohesion is, therefore, the single most important element in a bidding function. It is something that all parties within a bid should heed from the fresh trainee through to Directors of the company. When receiving an RfP or ITT, it is recommended that the sales, operations and finance agendas are set in a cohesive fashion, so as to forge a viable and collaborative method for bid preparation. If the cohesion stays and endures through the whole bid process then the best possible submission is made that can weather post-submission challenge, negotiation and problems.
Whenever involved in a bid, no matter what role you play, just consider how cohesive things are…and, if lacking, how they could (and why they should) be made more so.