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Measuring Bid Team Success

Question by: Nicola Anderson-Edward

Hi Jon, as we set our objectives for 2018, I am pondering how best to measure bid team success over the course of the coming year, and I wondered whether you might have any thoughts on this? It’s all very well looking at win rates, however these can only be as good as the pre-preparation that goes into each bid (i.e. capture planning) and the bid/no-bid decisions made at executive level. Where capture planning is not entrenched as standard company procedure, and where bid opportunity qualification is not as rigorous as it could be in weeding out unwinnable opportunities, is it fair to measure a bid team’s effectiveness in terms of their win rates – and if not, what other measures are appropriate?

I’ve already had some interesting feedback from other industry experts but this is the first time I’m sharing my question here on the Bid Hub; look forward to hearing back!

Many thanks



Hi, Nicola, and thanks for a great question. “Why do we exist?” is a question that’s troubled many of the great philosophers over the centuries, and one that teases bid and proposal teams to this day.

Fundamentally, our role is to provide professional input to help our sales colleagues to retain and win business. Yet, as you say, the proposal is only part of the overall campaign, and part of the client’s decision-making process. Unfortunately, though, that can too often result in fairly basic (yet still important) measures about the volumes of deals supported, turnaround times and suchlike – and operational metrics like this can perpetuate the view of the proposal support function as glorified back-office admin.

My view is that proposal support functions need to be at the table early. Involved in the qualification debate. Developing proactive and renewal proposals, not just acting as an RFP response factory. Leading pre-proposal planning work. Helping to develop the winning strategy. Producing a brilliant proposal, that gives you competitive advantage, and then helping to turn that into a compelling, contemporary pitch. Handing over, once we’ve won.

And yes, there’s a whole lot we don’t do. I’ve seen deals go wrong due to poor client relationships. There’s only so much we can do if the solution or pricing is way out of kilter with the market. We’re not at the table in negotiations, by and large, or even involved in their careful planning and rehearsal. Yet if we’re not winning, we’re not adding the value the business expects.

So I’d start with win rate, always. But after that, I’d suggest three approaches to working out how you can improve, and what you might be measuring:

–          Benchmark your overall approach, using the Proposal Benchmarker tool that’s available free, here on Bid Soutions’ website.

–          Think about how you measure the competitive dimension, for the things you control. Do you carry out twice-yearly client audits looking at how your proposals compare to those submitted by your competitors, for example?

–          Score the quality of your proposal output, using a recognised model (or defining the criteria yourself as a team, and agreeing it with sales and the wider business – in itself, a useful debate).

Those should then throw up a whole set of ideas for metrics you can implement. Not just win rate, although that’s clearly a key part of the mix. But how well you engage with your wider organisation, whether you’re doing so at the right stages of the process, and how valuable your contribution is seen as being in creating competitive advantage.

Do shout if you want to chat more!