Wondering How to Develop Value Propositions?
There’s very little clear guidance or tools available to help bid teams to develop value propositions. Bearing in mind that research suggests that only 14% of a seller’s unique benefits are actually seen as such by buyers, our partner Strategic Proposals decided to embark on some research to delve deeper in to value. Their aim was to try and help organisations to answer the ‘So What’ question better. This paper, written by Jon Williams and Graham Ablett is the result. It’s a fascinating read and explores all the different ways that a buyer looks at value and provides you with thoughts and ideas to help ensure you build these into your proposals and presentations.
Hiring can be a tricky business. Someone has either left your team and needs replacing, or you are in the positive situation of expanding the business. Hiring the right person for your team is critical and when you are looking for a new Bid Manager to join your team, there are a number of aspects you must consider.
This hiring guide will provide you with an overview of just some of the points to consider when selecting the next member of your team.
Know what you need from a Bid Manager
It’s important to have a clear understanding of what you need from the outset. Take the time to assess the skills of your existing team, think about what you have and what you need.
Do you need a Bid Manager or a Proposal Manager? What’s the difference? It’s one of the biggest questions in our industry and a common reason for new starters not working out – get it wrong and you’ve placed a square peg in a round hole. Here’s a guide to the difference between the two.
If you are expanding your bid team, think about what skills will complement the existing talent in your team. If you are replacing someone who has left, think about what was most important about their role, bearing in mind you probably won’t find a like-for-like replacement. Have a list of ‘must haves’ and ‘must not haves’ – this will help in your selection process. In addition to what you need now, be sure to think about what you will need in 12 months’ time – perhaps more commercial or technical skills? Use the opportunity to future-proof your team.
Take the time to create a job description
This is a critical but often overlooked element of the hiring process. Much like you would want to see a well-written CV, candidates will react well to a detailed job description. The more information they have will ensure they know what they are applying for. This will result in more relevant applications. If you don’t know where to start, our website has a selection of job descriptions for you to review. Take a look at common bid team job descriptions.
Quirky internal naming conventions are fine for people that are in-house but you could miss out on applications because job seekers won’t click on your advert, or you won’t be captured in their job board alert system. Keep it simple for external adverts. You can always reveal your internal job title at the interview stage.
Ensure your salary range is competitive compared to the market. Make sure it is sufficient to attract the best talent if that’s what you are seeking. Don’t judge this purely against what competing organisations are offering – they may be struggling to hire themselves! The Salary Benchmarking section on our website can help with this. Take a look at bid manager salary benchmarks (note that these are for UK teams).
If someone has left your team and secured a big pay rise in the process, consider that you may have been underpaying them. Be aware that you might not secure the same caliber of candidates with your offered salary – they left because they felt they were worth more.
Also, if you hired someone on £X in 2012, inflation and time dictate that you won’t find your desired candidate for the same money. You must either move with the times to remain competitive or adjust your expectations as to who you can hire.
The interview process
Map this out at the very start. Think about what you need to know from candidates in order to make a decision. Do you need someone that can write content? If so, it would be wise to incorporate a written assessment to judge their skills.
Be open about what you can offer. If you can’t offer your bid manager a career path with the role, don’t say you can. It will only result in you needing to look for another candidate in the near future once the truth is out. To combat this, let the candidates ask you some tough questions too. It’s an ‘inter’-view after all.
It is always useful to get a second opinion, so think about who else you can get involved to meet with candidates. This has to be someone whose opinion you trust, otherwise, there is no point. On the flip side, don’t involve the whole company as this will be overbearing for candidates – not to mention the logistical nightmare of coordinating diaries.
Know your decision criteria and process prior to arranging the first interview. Chopping and changing will lead to frustration and you may realise after 3 months of recruiting that you have already rejected the ideal candidate.
Don’t make the interview process overly long – you will miss out on candidates to companies that have a more efficient selection process. 3 stages should be enough to make a decision. Any more than this could cause unnecessary delays and put a drain on your resource. Time is money after all and too many cooks and opinions will often lead to stalemate.
You’ve made your decision and found your ideal candidate. You have offered them the position and they have accepted. This is great news but you’re not over the finish line just yet. A full reference check is vital and will give you peace of mind that you have made the right decision. You will need to obtain consent from your chosen candidate to contact their referees and you must only ask employment-related questions. More information on reference checking and a sample list of questions can be found here
First day and beyond
You’ve finally made it. Your new Bid Manager has walked through the door and is ready to get stuck in. Be sure to stay close to them during their first month. Ensure that they are settling in, developing the relationships they need and are enjoying their work. Provide feedback on their performance, so they know if there is anything they can improve or anything that will help them settle in. Be sure to get their feedback too – it’s important to know if you can be doing anything better too.
Development plans are often overlooked. In the 2015 Salary Survey, 48% of respondents had no personal development plan in place and only 25% had attended a training course in the previous year. You should be putting in place a development plan for your new employee from day one. This is not just about employee satisfaction but also about future-proofing your team with skills they might not have.
Hiring is not an exact science and gut feeling will come into it at some stage, particularly if you are going to be working with this person on a daily basis. You will need to strike a balance between skills and attitude. That being said, much like any bid, the better you plan at the outset, the better chance you have of reaching a successful conclusion.
Visit www.bidsolutions.wpengine.com to learn more about the services Ben and the team can offer.
Author: Ben Hannon
Last year Sixfold, one of our training partners, launched APMP Foundation level training in Manchester. These courses have been well attended and the feedback has been phenomenal. Based on this success, Sixfold has scheduled these bid writing courses quarterly for 2017 (the next is scheduled for March 7th).
All of the students elected to take the exam on the day and so left with a Foundation Level Certification from the APMP. This Certification will not only help raise their stature within their companies but it will also help their career prospects.
The day is about more than Certification. Sixfold weave into the syllabus a great deal of practical advice and guidance that will help attendees improve their job performance and their company’s internal processes. At least, that is the feedback Sixfold got from many of the delegates. Here are a couple of comments from the Mancunian students:
‘It was a great day all round and Peter, you were just a great instructor and I have taken so much away from the day, so much that I can hit my Directors with! They are very much looking forward to me sitting them down and going through the facts and figures of what we should be doing and why.
Thank you very much for a great day, so informative and I am very much looking forward to putting it into practice.’
Gill Tidmarsh. Bid Manager
‘Very much enjoyed the course last week and it was lovely to meet you at last. My boss is very keen to look at our BD and bid process in light of my new qualification’
Jean Isherwood, Senior Proposal Writer
More Bid Writing Courses
Sixfold are considering running courses in Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow if there is the demand, so please do let us know if you think that would be helpful to you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about bid writing courses, click here.