Many businesses rely on winning new contracts in order to expand their client-base and scale their organisation. The process of amalgamating case studies and applications to attain a new contract is called bid management. Whilst larger companies may employ an entire team for bid management, for SMEs bid management is largely managed by key stakeholders such as managers or directors (amongst their other roles and responsibilities), as and when new opportunities arise. Whilst the latter does come with its benefits– namely a reduced turnaround time (with fewer people involved in the process)– with no dedicated bid management team, SMEs typically lack a comprehensive bid management strategy. Enter the role of commercial management.
Commercial management is the process of implementing organisational strategy and policy across different areas of a business. The process is used to align market requirements with a business’ capabilities, ensuring that capabilities are utilised in the most effective way to realise organisational goals.
In the context of bid management, commercial management is the process of implementing a bid management strategy that focusses bid management towards achieving the organisation’s goals – usually growth – and often focussed within a particular area. For example, location-based growth or growth into new consumer markets.
Commercial management is particularly important for SMEs who typically have less time and human resources to throw at the bidding process.With a specified strategy, bid managers can submit bids more efficiently and improve the conversion of bids into contracts through higher quality submissions.
Aside from the obvious need to secure new clients, strategic bid management offers a number of benefits:
· Improved tender submissions – high quality bids can be submitted more efficiently.
· Showcasing abilities – a strategy helps to ensure bids are focussed on key organisational capabilities, ensuring that organisations are maximising their opportunity to win contracts.
· Growth consistency – as the turnover of successful bids increases, businesses will reach a more consistent and stable rate of growth. In turn, this can allow businesses to plan human resources and spend more efficiently.
· Time efficiency – as bids can be compiled and submitted more efficiently, this frees up additional time for stakeholders to dedicate towards other important activities such as ensuring existing contract obligations are being delivered.
Now that we’ve identified why a bid management strategy is important, what are the key considerations that businesses should be employing when developing bid management best practices? See below for our five-step guide:
1. Understand the key components of strategy development
Before beginning strategy development it’s important to have in mind what the organisation’s current bid process is, what the strategy is looking to achieve and how this will be measured.
Strategy developers also need to be realistic about what is achievable, for example, considering the time available for the relevant person / team to implement the devised strategy.
2. Tailoring capabilities to risks and opportunities
Ultimately bid management strategy should be geared towards an organisation’s overall growth.As part of this, macro factors should be considered (such as through a PESTEL analysis) and the information garnered should then be added to a SWOT analysis to identify the associated risks and opportunities. This may include opportunities to expand into new markets or risks imposed by focussing on single markets that are affected by macro factors.
3. Find balance between commercial need and operational ability
Sourcing appropriate opportunities and only submitting to those that your organisation can realistically deliver is essential to good bid management. Not fulfilling contracts can be very damaging to organisational reputation.
Part of a successful strategy should be understanding organisational capabilities to inform which opportunities should be pursued, and which request fall beyond the abilities of your organisation to deliver.
4. Maintenance and growth of capabilities
At this stage within the strategy development, organisations must ensure they put in place the infrastructure to support skilled workers in their continued growth and development, and to facilitate their skills through access to the necessary tools and supplies.
Ultimately, successful bidding is a time-consuming process and one which can often divert important time away from other activities – especially when submitting bids with short deadlines!
Our commercial management experts can help your business to understand what your true requirements are before you make any decisions. Our expertise allows us to assist you when it comes to utilising proper bid management practises that will deliver. We can guide you in reviewing your existing bid management processes and help you to design and implement a focussed strategy that’s aligned with your organisational goals.
For further advice or an initial consultation please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.