Bid or Proposal?

Engage the right skills at the right time

What is the difference between a Bid Manager and a Proposal Manager? This is possibly our most frequently asked question. The answer is as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. At Bid Solutions, we prefer to keep things simple…

Generally, it is best answered as follows…the proposal (i.e. the written submission) is just one important milestone to winning new business. There are many other activities that must be managed to ensure the award of new business – some happen long before the Request for Proposal arrives, some a considerable time after. These activities collectively form what we call the bid lifecycle.

Hence, the Bid Manager is focused on a much broader range of activities (of which the proposal is one), whereas the Proposal Manager is almost entirely focussed on the Proposal (or rather the response to the RFP).

What about the overlap at proposal stage? Surely they get in each other’s way at certain points? Who is more senior? These, and endless other similar questions really depend on your organisation’s approach to winning new business and deal complexity. The industry and geography you work within also significantly impacts the answer.

For example, in a large global corporation that has a highly evolved strategic sales function you may find all six of our core roles happily co-habiting together, all with clearly defined responsibilities. However, in a small local business, one person may be wearing six different hats depending on the day of the week. Similarly, a complex proposal in one organisation could be a 20 page, £200,000 proposal, whilst in another business it could be a 10,000 page, £2 billion proposal.

No one role is more or less important than the other – they all have the ability to win or lose you the deal. Some require more experience but each one is vital.

Why is it important to understand the subtle role differences? As a client, you may engage the wrong resource at the wrong time – something that could prove very costly.

As a bid or proposal professional, you may limit your career and earnings potential. Worse still, you could be taking an assignment that has the ‘right’ title but doesn’t match your core skillset.

Take time now to review the six core job descriptions in our industry.

There is no universal agreement on titles, roles, and responsibilities; our approach is one of many. Your current title may be different from those described here but we are certain you will recognise the responsibilities. You may even perform a hybrid role that blends elements from all the job descriptions!

Job roles will continue to evolve as quickly as our profession has over the last 10 years. We will evolve as well and will always be at the forefront of recruitment, connecting winners.