Bid Management and Roles of a Bid Manager – A Discussion

The process of Bid Management is as simple as Responding to a Tender. This is a process of building a Proposal Document (Bid) that is prepared in compliance with Tender requirements. Bid Management deals with all activities related to preparation and submission of Bids.

The process of Bid Management is as simple as a sequence of below listed activities
• Evaluating the Tender document
• Finding out all the requirements to form a winning Proposal
• Assigning tasks to Bid Team/Subject Matter Experts(SMEs)
• Coordinating with team/SMEs to ensure timely receipts of their quality inputs
• Compiling the content to prepare a Proposal
• Quality Control for content, typo and formatting errors
• Submission/Dispatching the Proposal to client

But the roles & responsibilities of Bid Managers may be somewhat different depending upon various factors namely

• Company Policy
• Core Business
• Industry/Domain
• Products/Services
• Size of Company
• Business Verticals
• Technology
• Size of Tenders
• Number of SMEs involved in Proposal preparation
• Type of Customers
• Vendors/Sub-Contractors etc.

Bid Managers are assigned different kinds of roles depending upon the organizations and their business verticals.
In some organizations, possibly of Small Scale Industry(SSI), Bid Managers are expected to handle full responsibility right from interacting with customers for capturing the opportunities to post-bid submission activities and may be upto payment receipts.: From Pre-Sales activities to Post-Sales services. The expected competencies of a Bid Manager in this case are

• Technically sound to deal with all Technical issues and estimations
• Sales / Business Development skills to deal with customers Pre and Post sales
• Writing Skills to narrate the Executive Summary, Technical Solution and other crucial content of the proposal
• Negotiation Skills to negotiate on pricing, offerings etc
• Commercially sound to deal with competitive Pricing strategy
• Communication/Coordination skills to link up with necessary SMEs/Sub-Contractors/Vendors to get their quality inputs
• Project Management skills

These organizations are generally focused towards winning business with the help of only one kind of Products or Services; or may be only one product or service. Scope is narrow. So they deal with similar tenders and may be fewer in number. The Bid Manager must be a Project Manager with sound knowledge of Technology trained in Sales/BD, Communications/Soft skills, Commercial, Contracts etc.

Whereas in large scale organizations, the business is expected from various Strategic Business Units(SBUs) which are based on different technologies, products or services. Scope is wide and so there are enough chances to deal with various kinds of business tenders. The responsibilities of Bid Managers in this kind of set up will be more generic compared to SSI. They are expected to deal with multiple tenders of multiple categories at a time. Rather than focusing majorly on the preparation of Technical Content or a Solution, the focus of Bid Managers, here, is more on Communication & Coordination to get the documents from relevant SMEs. The process of Bid Management will be a generic one so that they can apply to any type of tender irrespective of its size.

In this category, some organizations may not prefer the Bid Managers to deal with Pricing due to company confidentiality or policy and so the roles encompass only upto Technical Proposal preparation. Pricing is finalized by the top management. This variation is quite there in corporate/Manufacturing sectors and varies from domain to domain. There may be multiple teams working for a single bid dealing with Proposal development, designing, formatting, Estimations, Pricing, Packing and Dispatching.

Bid Managers, when they try to change jobs, they may have fewer chances to meet the complete requirements of employers. Some employers may need the person who dealt with full process of bids in IT sector but however the candidate might be from ITES/Manufacturing background – there would be a mismatch with Industry. There might be a requirement for JAVA background and the candidate might be from .NET background – a mismatch with Technology. Likewise, there may be plenty of mismatches because of which the Bid Managers may feel potential difficulties while changing domains or industries.

I conclude by saying that the Bid Managers of both categories (Small Scale Industry and Large Scale Organizations) are crucial in their respective organization. The second category is important when there are plenty of bid responses delivered irrespective of the domain/business lines as they have capability to deal with multiple tenders of various complexities, sizes and numbers irrespective of scope of work at a time. Bid Managers who deal with customers, make presentations, write complete solutions, deal with all technical as well as commercial/pricing issues of tenders are less likely to get the opportunities in other domains/sectors. They are the gems of that particular industry and less likely to deal with more number of tenders.

Vennu Manhoharr did his Masters in Applied Geology and currently doing MBA from University of Pune in Marketing Management. He is experienced in ITES Industry dealing with Quality Management, Project Management, Project Training, Technical Support and Bid Management. His hobbies include Fine Arts, Photography and playing Chess

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