Whilst canvassing ideas for Issue 6, we were overwhelmed by the energy and passion our experts showed for a variety of different subjects. Rather than stifle this, we decided to remove the shackles and let our experts run free. The only request? Write about something you are truly passionate about right now in the bid and proposal profession.
Once again, we have a fantastic range of articles covering everything from becoming a doctor to Excel modelling. In our biggest issue yet, there is advice on effective knowledge sharing, writing proactive proposals, client focussed innovation, creating high scoring answers and even the odd rant about challenging procurement rules.
We have been truly humbled by all the positive feedback from the first five issues – but BQ will be changing soon. Moving forward, we will develop industry focus groups, provide opportunities to submit white papers, sponsor key industry and professional research whilst still providing honest, unbiased opinion on subjects that matter most to you.
If you have genuine bid or proposal expertise in a particular field or industry, or believe you have a unique approach to winning business, I’d love to hear from you – the panel and BQ wants you!
In this issue
All of my passions come down to simplicity and perhaps that’s because I am really good at ‘simple’. Please do not mistake this for lazy – I believe a lot of progress in the world has come from people that want to find an easier way.
“Nigel Hudson: BidHub professional development expert and Bidding Quarterly contributor.” Wow! Such status, respect and profile. It makes me feel great. But it’s not about me; it’s only ever about you.
I am increasingly frustrated with the complicated procurement processes faced by smaller companies. Government clients are currently pushing the local Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) requirement in bids. This is good news for the client and SME. The client removes fee-on-fee and demonstrates they are committed to sustainable construction. SMEs can work directly for the client and build their businesses, without relying on subcontracting to larger companies. Several thousand SMEs shout “Hurrah! We can take on the ‘Big Boys’!
“A stitch in time saves nine” they say. For me that holds especially true for bids and proposals. So much time in the bid process is taken up by administrative tasks in the beginning and should be given over to review towards the end, that the actual writing should be one of the easy parts. At least if you have a working bid content library.
Ben Hannon is Recruitment Director at Bid Solutions and has a track record of recruiting all levels of bid and proposal professionals. Having helped thousands of people progress in the bid and proposal profession, he knows what it takes to be successful.
I’m guessing we rather coined the phrase “passionate about proposals”. It’s been our corporate strapline for decades; it was the title of the book I published last year with my dear friend and colleague BJ Lownie. So, when I was asked “What are you passionate about right now in the bid and proposal world?” for this issue of BQ, my answer is fairly simple. “Proposals”.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are in the Public Sector and it is getting towards the end of a difficult week. You get back from lunch to find a note on your desk to ring the boss. She says “We have had an evaluator for one of our tender competitions go sick. We need you to take over the work. The evaluation for the remaining three questions has to be done before you go home today!”
It is very rare to work on a bid that doesn’t require you to respond to questions focussed on innovation. When approaching these, we mustn’t lose sight of the importance of thinking about innovation from the perspective of the organisation you are bidding to.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790). This statement is relevant in bidding for at least two reasons. 1 – We rely on knowledge sharing to realise all the dimensions of a proposal that convince procurement teams to say ‘yes’. 2 – Knowledge is power but only if the knowledge is shared for the benefit of all team members in the bid lifecycle, including to foster a sense of community in the workplace.
We all know the value of taking a proactive approach to sales and marketing strategy. But are you including proactive proposals in your thinking? A growing trend tells us sellers that use proposal skills earlier in their buyer interactions are reaping the rewards.
There is no more mesmerising example of teamwork than a track cycling team pursuit event; 4 riders in perfect harmony, travelling at 45mph centimetres from the rider in front, taking it in turns to hit the front, driving the group ever faster, then dropping to the back to recover before going again.
The biggest passion in my bid and proposal world right now is the Excel modelling of profitability within a bid-price. This is not just about calculating the selling price to generate revenue, but also the estimation (and subtraction) of whole-life costs of delivery to understand likely ‘end result’ gross and net margins. Once constructed, such models can ‘play tunes’ to calibrate the prices offered to a customer and the likely end results of profits for the supplier.