We are very pleased to announce Vodafone as winners of the UK APMP People Development Award 2015. The award was sponsored by Bid Solutions and presented by Martin Smith to Nigel Hudson and Sarah Green who lead the Vodafone bid team.
Vodafone has designed and delivered in –house training courses and along with help from external trainers have achieved 100% success rate in APMP certifications.
Nigel Hudson explains how the team won the APMP People Development Award
As you may know, the global bid team within Vodafone Group Enterprise was established in Newbury UK in 2007 with just two bid managers and two proposal writers. I was part of this team.
The rapid growth of Vodafone’s multinational business meant that the team grew quickly, in numbers of people and breadth of responsibility.
By July 2014 the team included 220 bid and contract managers in 11 regional teams across Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, and America.
Rather uniquely, Global Bid Managers within Vodafone are responsible for the end-to-end sales capture, bidding, presenting, negotiating and contracting of deals. Alongside the Global Client Director, they are the most senior person assigned to an opportunity. But unlike their Sales counterpart, they are accountable for all internal resources, risk management and governance for the opportunity – from qualification to contract signature.
This high growth and high-pressure environment – and rapid recruitment from a broad range of backgrounds (only 21 of the recruits had previously received any APMP training) – meant that individuals were challenged from the start to bid for and negotiate the world’s largest multinational telecoms opportunities.
As one of the original team of bid managers and the person most looked to for advice, I volunteered to share my experience and knowledge of bidding best practice with my peers. My goals were to up-skill and empower the teams so to increase the win rate and reduce the time it took to close deals. Raising motivation and increasing employees’ bandwidth would also enable Vodafone to submit more bids.
I piloted the programme within the Northern Europe bid team (24 people based in the UK) and then, after three months, took up the challenge of delivering the programme globally: designing and delivering training workshops, writing handbooks and recording training videos – all of which were shared with the regional bid teams. The advanced modules of negotiation and deal architecture were co-authored by, and delivered with, Nelson Dias of the Pricing Team. This enabled the courses to be relevant to teams broader than the bid team, and so the courses gained wide appeal. Nelson and I were supported by 9 regional training managers and 23 train-the-trainers, all of whom volunteered their help to deliver the Academy on top of their day jobs. Specific acknowledgment is given to Amy Zapettis and Margaret I’ons in the UK; David Turner in the US; Solomon Ghebreab, Oliver Kitschke and Holger Spieker in Germany; Zoltan Harsanyi in Budapest; Seon Lee in Hong Kong and Ben Ng in Singapore.
I named the training function ‘The Vodafone Bid Training Academy’ and formally launched it in July 2014. It has APMP Accreditation at its core, with APMP training and coaching delivered by Strategic Proposals (my go-to counsel for proposal-related consultancy and my strategic trainer of choice for the past 11 years). During the past 12 months, 83 people have achieved APMP Foundation, three have achieved Practitioner and one has achieved Professional. This is in addition to 357 people successfully completing the Academy’s internal programmes.
The Academy has now grown further within the ‘Sales & Commercial Operations Excellence’ function of Vodafone Group Enterprise, driving performance enhancement and best practice across all commercial and operations teams within Vodafone Group Enterprise. It now enables the professional skills development of 750 people worldwide.
To put this into context, this year my team and I will deliver 75 training workshops to over 1,000 attendees in four continents. Our activity is supported by over sixty training videos covering our core courses, and more than thirty PDF and printed handbooks, reference guides, and ‘how to’ checklists. Next year it will evolve further, utilising mobile technology to deliver app-based eLearning and on-demand podcasts and videos. The Academy will become more like an internal media channel – with me as its good looking news anchor 😉
Vanity aside, the impact of the training has been amazing: Vodafone’s enterprise win rate has increased by 13%, deal closure time has reduced by 15%, and we’re now submitting over 4,500 bids per year – that’s 29% more than last year.
Feedback from attendees is also impressive, with 100% positive feedback and 95% of them scoring the Academy “Excellent” (the remainder merely scored it “Good”). It’s a testament to two years of continual evolution of the Academy’s courses – were we often tailor them in real-time to the needs of the audience – and the benefit of having experienced coaches from within the business. It’s their dedication that makes all this possible.
On a personal note, the main benefit I’ve seen is how the courses motivate our people and give them greater confidence and empowerment. That’s where the Academy scores most: it’s a way of saying to our teams: “You’re great, and we’re going to help you to be truly brilliant.