Each role in the bid lifecycle has the ability to win or lose you the deal. Some roles require more experience, but never underestimate the importance of the specific skillsets required at key stages.
What is the difference between a Bid Manager and a Proposal Manager you might well ask? 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).
Many people are confused by their overlap at proposal stage - surely they get in each other’s way at certain points? Who is more senior? These, and 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 six of the roles outlined 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's could be a 20 page, £200,000 proposal, whilst in another business it could be a 10,000 page, £2 billion proposal.