Bid or Proposal?

Engage the right people 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 proposal (RFP) 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 organisations approach to winning new business and deal complexity. The industry and geography you work within also significantly impact the answer.

For example, in a large global corporation that has a highly evolved strategic sales function you may find all 6 of the roles outlined below happily co-habiting together, all with clearly defined responsibilities. However, in a small local business, one person may be wearing 6 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 never underestimate the importance of each role.

So why is this important that you appreciate the subtle differences? Quite simply, if you don’t understand these differences as a client you may well engage the wrong resource at the wrong time – something that could prove very costly.

As a bid or proposal professional you could be limiting 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 6 job descriptions that we believe make up the core of our industry.

You may find you have a different title in your current role but we are certain you will recognise the responsibilities. You may even perform a hybrid role that blends elements from all the job descriptions?

There is no universal agreement on titles, roles, and responsibilities. Ours is one opinion amongst many, which will undoubtedly evolve as rapidly as our profession has over the past 10 years.