After two decades of delivering countless bids and tenders – and more importantly, achieving an extraordinary success rate of 98.5% – we’ve developed a proven framework for winning bids and a tried-and-tested bid management system of processes, templates and checklists. At the heart of it all is ensuring you have the right skills in your bid team.
Of course, you need your own pursuit team of technical and commercial experts who understand the client, their objectives and your solution, but in this instance we’re talking about the team of tendering experts. Every bid team needs the following 5 fundamental skills to complement your pursuit team to ensure you can deliver a winning bid.
The strategy skill set helps your team to find and articulate their competitive edge. Team members with this skill are essential to ‘shake the tree’ and challenge the team to develop genuine differentiators and to create unique value. These team members are the ones that develop ‘the pitch’ that will cut through the noise and engage with the client so that you can win their hearts and minds through the bid process. These people typically have a strong analytical mind, a deep understanding of the psychology of selling, and are persuasive enough that they could sell ice to eskimos.
The project management skill set is imperative for any bid or tender to run smoothly and maximise its potential to win. These team members drive the discipline of bid management, to ensure the right people are involved at the right time, that the very best solution is developed, and that the most compelling and persuasive submission is delivered on time. And importantly, these team members prevent bid pandemonium or deadline catastrophes. With the right people at the helm, supported by a tried-and-tested bid management system, you can say goodbye to all-nighters, document tsunamis, last minute rewrites, panicked sign-offs and rushed submissions.
The content skill set is front and centre on any bid, but even then it is usually underestimated. Most teams know they need ‘bid writers’ or ‘technical writers’, but they tend to think of these team members as editors and proof readers. In our view, the more valuable skill set is in content development. In our teams, our bid writers are next-level content creators, working hand-in-hand with subject matter experts to analyse the client requirements, shape the most compelling solution and then develop a comprehensive and persuasive submission. They work as peers to the subject matter experts, take the lead in developing the deliverables, and drive the content through a 3-draft iterative process including collaborative workshop reviews.
In our experience, the production skill set is the most underrated and hardest to find. These team members ensure that the final submission is professional and polished. Many people think of this as ‘prettying up the documents’ but it is so much more; these team members ensure every deliverable is optimised for impact, readability, comprehension and evaluation. Importantly, in our view, tender documents should almost always be done in Word and only very rarely in InDesign (but this debate is for another time…) so these team members need to be guru-level users in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Adobe PDF.
And finally, the design skill set brings flair and finesse to your submission. These team members are the graphic designers who develop bid branding, document layouts, diagrams and infographics. Notably, they need adaptable design skills to be able to hit the mark with each specific client on different tenders and they need the niche capability to design for corporate documentation which is more specialised than graphic design in general.
Does your team have the skills you need?
Does this framework reveal any gaps in your tender team? Depending on the size of your tender and the capability of your team, we can help you with a holistic team solution, a multi-skilled tender expert, or a specialist to fill a particular gap.
Get in touch
Aurora Marketing specialises in helping companies win their tenders and position themselves for success.