As National Bids and Presentations Manager for the UK over the past three years, our team has led on bids which go beyond the UK to support the international footprint of our clients. The opportunity to collaborate with bid professionals from around the world has become much more frequent. The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of tools for working closely with people across the world without the need for travel.
My employer, Crawford & Company®, truly is global. It is the world’s largest publicly listed, independent provider of claims management solutions, with 9,000 employees, $1 billion in annual turnover and clients in more than 70 countries.
Working together with other bid professionals from around the world is wonderfully rewarding. At the heart of that rewarding experience is an understanding that our leadership style is key if we are to create an environment which stimulates cohesion and confidence amongst all.
It is our duty to lead by example to ensure all can comfortably learn from each other and bid professionals on the same team can leverage the wider strengths and talents on offer.
Building trust is fundamental. As leaders of bid teams which include other bid professionals, we must see leadership as an activity that creates conditions where everyone involved in the bid can do their most courageous and inspired thinking – together.
Is less – more?
One difference I have seen is the confidence other markets (e.g. North America, Asia, Australia) have in communicating their RFI responses in a very high level, focussed and concise way. It seems we feel the need to write a lot more in the UK. Interestingly though, the feedback from colleagues in the USA is that they like the increased level of detail that appears to come with our UK RFI responses. Go figure!
Outside the UK there appears to be an acceptance (which I like) that the documents are being read by evaluators who are familiar with the capabilities and credibility of the bidder. The responses are viewed as a platform from which to base requirements for more detail at the face-to-face/dialogue elements of the process. However, my experience of working on global/international bids has shown the client-led, post-submission clarification process is much lengthier than we experience in the UK.
I’ve written in other articles/posts about my concern that overly worded bids demand too much of a decision evaluator’s time, despite how well our content is articulated. Adopting more from our international approach to RFI responses is a key area for me to progress here in the UK in 2022.
People, not places are at the heart of successful bidding
I spent time talking through the editor’s brief for this edition of BQ with my UK team and with colleagues in other parts of world. I’ve concluded approaches to bidding and pitching aren’t really that location dependent.
Evaluators are people and our bid teams are a collection of people, irrespective of their location around the world. While our international bidding experts bring with them varying personalities, strengths and talents, their commitment to bid capture, positively challenging members of the wider bid team, agreeing win strategies, owning the process and honing the response remains constant for us around the globe.
This article was written by Peter McPartland.
Peter is recognised for his strengths in bid team leadership, innovation and performance improvement. One of the first law firm employees to achieve the APMP Certified Professional qualification, Peter is also a winner of an APMP UK national award for Innovation.