Fantastic initiative from Strategic Proposals to recognise the next generation of leaders in our Profession

Strategic Proposals’ ‘Rising Stars’ Award Programme

Calling the next generation of leaders in the UK bid and proposal management profession! This year, Strategic Proposals’ is celebrating their 30th anniversary with a range of celebratory events worldwide. The first of these is their ‘Rising Stars’ award programme, with free training and activities for a group of up to twenty of the brightest and best young professionals working in bidding, proposals and work winning.

You will get three days of free courses (London on 5th April, and Stratford-upon-Avon on 12th and 13th September). With a range of industry-leading speakers, they will pool views on best practice, helping you to improve your own efficiency and effectiveness – and to win more business for your companies as a result.
You will get free coaching from one of Strategic Proposals’ senior team and there will be a chance to work on a short project with your fellow participants, looking at the future direction of our profession. (All they ask your company to do is to cover your travel costs).

It’s easy to apply (by email, no later than 17th February): full details can be found on Strategic Proposals’ website:

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.

Career planning for bid professionals – top tips from Bid Solutions

What is your Proposal Writer or Bid Manager Career Path?

It’s that time of year when a lot of people decide they want a change. This can mean a variety of different things to any one person but for a large number it means new employment. It is crucial, however, that you make the right move for your career, rather than change for the sake of change itself. To help, Ben Hannon and the team from Bid Solutions have shared a selection of things to consider when planning your career.

1. List your goals
Understanding what you want to achieve in the long term will help you decide what you need to do in the short term. This list does not need to be set in stone, it will more than likely change several times as you react to the environment around you, both personally and professionally.

2. Think about your likes and dislikes
What type of environment allows you to flourish? What are your strong points? Do you even like your strong points?

Being happy at work is crucial to being successful and will provide you with the motivation to carry on when the going gets tough. For bid professionals, there are a variety of skills that are all crucial when pulling together a submission, so pinpoint where you fit in. If you aren’t sure what the bid lifecycle looks like, you can read more here:

3. Look into professional development
There are a number of bid writing courses available to improve your skills and further your career. Off-the-shelf courses that promote bid best practice are useful for all bid professionals and will give you a solid base upon which to build. Further to that, you can look more specifically at the roles you wish to undertake. Perhaps you need to develop your writing skills for executive summaries, or maybe you need to use a creative software package to enhance the look and feel of your submissions? There is no limit to what you can learn, so be sure to explore all available opportunities.

You can find more information about bid training on the Bid Solutions website.

In addition to training courses, there are a number of networking events you can attend to share ideas and understand how other organisations / industries approach bidding. The more you know, the better chance you have of success.

4. Keep your CV updated
Sometimes you can find yourself in the situation of unexpectedly having to find a new job. Having a CV ready to go will help you save time with your job search. It is recommended to have a base CV that provides an overview of your career and key bids that you have been involved with. Depending on the position you are applying for, be sure to tailor your CV so that your relevant skills are unmissable e.g. if you are applying for a bid writer role, make it obvious that you have written bids before.

5. Review your progress
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be aware that achieving your goals will take time. Set time aside to review where you are in your overall plan. Are you on track? If not, what can you do to get yourself back on track? Professional development could be the answer, as mentioned previously. For bid professionals in permanent employment, it is recommended to review your progress on an annual basis. For interim bid professionals, review your progress either once every 6 months or at the end of each major contract. Most importantly on this point, don’t forget to celebrate how far you have come!

It is important to remember that career planning is not an exact science and these are just a number of points to consider. There will be many bumps in the road along the way and you will have to react to whatever life throws at you. However, the better prepared you are, the better chance you have of success.

As we say in our office, hope is not a strategy.

Here’s what other bid professionals had to say about their careers

Download our report on the state of bid management to find out what your peers around the world think of their careers. Download the report

Author: Ben Hannon

If a Competitor Makes an Accidental Mistake, You Can Stop it Being Corrected!

Why A Late Bid Submission Could Help Your Chances

We have all been there! The computer system has collapsed in the final hours of the bid submission or a document has not been uploaded in time on the portal. Or, as happened to us once, the numbers should have been in dollars and not sterling (saving almost 40% of the cost). When it is discovered after the deadline, the sales lead panics and the pragmatic Bid Manager picks up the phone to the client and explains the problem, pleading for understanding and some mercy.

When this has happened in the past, on many occasions the client’s procurement team have relented and allowed us to recover the situation. Not anymore!

In recent months, we have seen procurement teams taking an increasingly harder line when unforeseen problems have occurred. We have seen bids being refused which were only a few seconds late and the problem was the portal and not the bid teams. However, a landmark court case in Scotland last month, showed a court would only allow the submission of missing information after tender submission deadlines in the most exceptional cases. These exceptional circumstances would not include slip-ups made by the tenderer, however simple and easily rectified.

In this case the tenderer was bidding for a framework contract lot. It inadvertently omitted percentage figures for overheads and profits in two lots and submitted a blank financial template for the third. When the Council’s procurement team pointed this out, the tenderer realised its mistake and immediately provided the missing information which it had to hand. After several days, the procurement team told the tenderer its bid was not going to be considered.

Legal action taken

The tenderer immediately launched legal proceedings and argued that as its omissions were obvious and easily corrected, it should have been allowed to correct its mistakes.

The Court found that there was no duty on the Council to give a tenderer the opportunity to correct errors discovered after the tender deadline. The tender documents only allowed the procurement team to “clarify” information in a bid, but not to permit late submission of information which should have been supplied before the deadline.

The Court considered that the fundamental principle of equal treatment should take priority when handling tender errors, in accordance with PCR 2015. The Court also observed that the tenderer left itself no margin of error and only submitted its tender on the day of the deadline.

The lessons for us are clear:
• If you suspect a competitor is introducing new information into its bid after the deadline you should object immediately to the procurement team
• Upload a complete version of your bid (even if it is still in the final authorisation and tuning stages) on to a portal the day before the portal closes. You can always choose to update your bid later, but you will not be able to submit if you are late
• Find a detail-obsessed individual who has had no part in compiling the bid to independently verify its compliance. Instruct them that they are only checking for adherence to the process and accidental omissions. Make sure you have time to respond to their findings before the deadline expires.

If you do find yourselves in a situation like this and want to get some quick advice on what your options may be, do give Sixfold a call on 01227 860375.

They would be delighted to give you some feedback and thoughts with no obligation on your part.

If you would like to read more about our bid support services, which includes quality checking, please follow this link.

Places remaining on Sixfold’s APMP Foundation Workshop

Pass the Examination and Become APMP Accredited

The next APMP Foundation Workshop and (Optional) Examination with Sixfold is taking place on Thursday 2nd February 2017

The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) is the professional association for people working in any sales environment where formal bidding and tendering takes place. APMP certification is the global standard for developing and demonstrating proposal management competency. As an Authorised Training Organisation, Sixfold can help you prepare for and take the Foundation level examination.

The APMP accredits its members at three levels of increasing competence; Foundation, Practitioner and Professional. Once certified, recent salary surveys have shown that these members earn an average of 15% more than their peers.

The survey results are very compelling. For specific levels of accreditation, progressing from Foundation to Practitioner level typically attracts a 14% pay rise, whilst advancing to Professional level leads to a further 30% increase.

To start you down this road, Sixfold will guide you through the Foundation level syllabus and the examination itself, maximising your chances of passing the first time. Should you wish, you can choose to attend the course and then take the APMP Foundation level examination online, at a later date.
Suitable for: Sales professionals who wish to enhance their ability to succeed at winning formal bids and tenders, including public sector bids.

For more information about all their courses please contact please contact Sixfold directly at or call them on 01227 860375.

For more information about bid writing courses, follow this link.

Amanda Nuttall Appointed New Chief Executive Officer for 2017

Amanda Nuttall Appointed APMP UK New Chief Executive Officer for 2017

The APMP UK has announced the election of Amanda Nuttall as its new Chief Executive Officer for 2017, following Richard Bannon’s completion of his second term.

As a Director of Strategic Proposals, Amanda advises and works with sales, marketing and bid teams across a wide range of sectors supporting on live deals as well as driving systemic improvements to their proposal processes. A member of the APMP since 2006, Amanda achieved her APMP Professional Certification in 2013 and has previously held the positions of both Apprenticeship Director and COO. As Apprenticeship Director, Amanda was responsible for the creation of the first ever bid and proposals apprenticeship programme in the world, where work continues with the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills to deliver a new set of standards designed specifically for the bid and proposals industry.

The full article can be viewed on the APMP website

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.