6 key signs that indicate your business could improve efficiency and bid win rates by switching to a Bid Management Application.

Bids can be complex, requiring many question responses and involving numerous people crossing functional, corporate and geographical boundaries. The coordination of the bid team and all of the information required to create compelling responses can be a real challenge – especially when using IT tools not designed for the job.

Many bid teams are now switching from fragmented IT solutions using spreadsheets and shared drives to fully integrated Bid Management software applications. Interestingly, this may not be as expensive as you think – and any cost should be hugely outweighed by the increase in efficiency and corresponding reduction in bidding costs … not to mention the reduction in frustration by your bid team!

After working in the tendering industry for many years and receiving feedback from our clients, we recommend switching to a Bid Management application if you are experiencing any of the following:

1. Key information is not getting to the response authors

Response Authors are sometimes neglected and not given all of the information on which to base their responses.

As bid managers, we are often guilty of instructing authors to start on responses without providing contextual information about the tender, the client, competitors, win themes and capture strategies.

Inevitably this results is late, incomplete or even incorrect responses which require expensive rework at the last minute. Not a desirable position to be in!

2. Authors not answering the question correctly

This is a common problem. People tend to gravitate towards their comfort zone and write about subjects that they are confident in or have answered previously – rather than answer the exact question.

Authors often need guidance to set the question into context, to understand the strategic bid direction and the ‘bigger picture’. This should be done using Storyboards or Answer Plans.

A bid management application can help to semi automate this process – greatly increasing production efficiency and quality of the final responses.

3. Your bid team don’t have easy access to previous content

A classic problem. You have assembled a new bid team and they don’t know about or have access to previous bid content or even standard material such as CVs, training records, case studies, images and certificates. This can often mean that too much of a bid coordinator’s time is spent finding and distributing these documents. This can be particularly prevalent when bid teams are spread across multiple departments or Supply chain partners.

A well organised bid management application can easily store and sort your information for access and use by your bid team using filters and search fields.

4. Your team’s files are saved in multiple locations with no version control

A system of shared drives, multiple spreadsheets & individual user storage on desktops and laptops can result in chaos.

It can be very challenging to keep control of all your files, who is working on them, where they need to be uploaded and which is the latest version. This can result in mistakes, rework and frustration for the team if information is duplicated or lost – putting even more pressure on the team and increasing bid costs.

5. Lack of real time data and visibility of bid progress

The ability to make informed decisions depends on the quality of your data. Combining data from multiple spreadsheets is time-consuming, can contain errors and generally doesn’t contain any workflows to make the process easier. Spreadsheets are also tedious and time consuming to maintain, meaning they often reflect outdated information and don’t provide a real-time picture of progress.

Having visibility of bid progress is essential to ensure nothing is missed and deadlines are met. Knowing how your bids are progressing to schedule enables you to keep them on track and ensure your teams are focused on your strategies and win themes – rather than firefighting and correcting errors at the last minute.

6. Process Inconsistency

A consistent and efficient bid process is essential to building a winning bidding culture in any organisation. Over time, a consistent bid process with templates, a common language and workflows will help to build an efficient bidding machine. This is very difficult to do using a conventional shared drive / spreadsheet system.

A bid management application with efficient workflows and common templates will help to build this efficient bidding culture within your organisation, where everyone speaks a common language and does things in a consistent way.

Benefits of using a bid management application

By using a well-designed bid management application, built by experienced bidding professionals, you should be able to:

·     Increase your team’s efficiency and reduce bid costs.

·     Improve team communication and reduce frustration.

·     Reduce rework and have more time to produce compelling responses.

·     Score highly and increase your bid win rate.

Ready to make the switch?

After many years of working on bids and experiencing the challenges of unifying and organising bid teams, bid support consultancy The BidBase has recently launched a bid management application called Bidflo – a single tool to efficiently organise and manage your bid data, information and bidding activities – whilst integrating your bid teams across departmental, company and geographical boundaries.

Bidflo will help your sales, marketing and bid teams manage your work winning activities in a coordinated, consistent and efficient manner – maximising your probability of success whilst utilising your budgets efficiently.

For more information, please check out Bidflo here.