Automated Bid Tracking SoftwareQuestion by: Shaun Ford
I’ve been keeping an eye out for some time, and am looking again at identifying whether there is any software on the market that can track the bid process, and provide reporting tools.
To put it into context – I haven’t implemented any sort of knowledge and bid production software, as we already have effective systems in place, and I have a very manual spreadsheet-based system for logging adverts/opportunities when they come in to the team, which is then manually updated as each stage of the process is completed (very time-consuming).
I use this to then look at performance and productivity metrics – such as volumes of different types of document (e.g. PQQ, ITT etc.) alongside conversions of each stage of the process (e.g. breaking down the overall win rate to look at success rate of individual team members, at individual stages of the bid process, by different parts of the business).
I would appreciate any guidance, advice or signposting anyone may have on any software out in the marketplace that would allow input of opportunities and tracking of each stage of the process, through to completion and final outcome/contract award. Of lesser concern is the actual document production side, but if the package came alongside this, then it would be something i’d look at.
I’m probably not the best placed expert to answer your question, as my expertise is in professional development rather than capability improvement. However I have used a number of systems over the years. All of these have been bespoke creations rather than ‘off the shelf’ solutions. The best was a customised version of salesforce.com. This took two years of development work to get right, but its main benefit was that it was linked to the broader business – especially the sales reporting and management tools (linking to sales pipeline and contract registers enabled forward resource planning for contract renewals and acquisition), so having one system with consistent reporting across the business was valuable.
I can direct you to the team capable of customising salesforce.com if you wish to go down this route.
It would be worth looking at the Qvidian and Qorus solutions for ‘knowledge centre’ bid libraries of pre-written content and template creation/population, and see what they offer for management tasks – either off-the-shelf or bespoke.
The most important thing, as you’ve already indicated, is HOW the data is used. It’s essential to know the metrics of what type, frequency and complexity of bids are coming through your team, to then be able to resource up properly and calculate win and capture rates. I’d be looking to spot trends, to assess whether your team has the right skills, bandwidths, experience and aptitudes. If you have one team member who’s performing better than others (higher win rate, better feedback, quicker working), do you know why? And then if the stats are indicating current or future issues, then what support (training and tools) are you giving the team so that they can continually adapt? Also, are you commissioning independent proposal quality audits (Strategic Proposals can provide these) to enable you to spot correlations between your data and the quality of what your customers get to see?
I hope this helps.