Ask the Expert

How do different roles work together?

Question by: David Easthope

In your opinion, what is the key difference between a Bid Manager and a Proposal Manager?

Hi David. Thanks for your question.

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 of course 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 corporate 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.