How To Become A Winning Bid Manager

Joanna Bid Writing, Sales

What Is A Bid?

A bid is a formal proposal made by one company to another with the specific aim of winning a new contract or business opportunity. This key business process can be found in almost every sector including, but not limited to:

  • Construction | Architects, builders, designers, surveyors and planners are just some of the key elements of a construction project who will bid for projects.
  • IT | From an initial IT infrastructure setup to an entire office block overhaul, successfully bidding for new IT contracts is paramount to growth and ongoing profits.

  • Finance | Accountants, insurers, investors and lenders can all take advantage of the bidding process by seeking to manage the financial elements of new projects.

  • Recruitment and Outsourcing | More and more businesses are outsourcing key business processes such as recruitment, HR and web management. These businesses use bids to win these outsourced contracts.

What Does A Bid Manager Do?

Looking at just the four examples above, it’s easy to see why a winning bid manager can be so important for a business, but what exactly does the role entail?

As a bid manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing the entire bidding process, from creating and budgeting the initial tender through to securing and finalising the end deal. Due to the importance of the role, you’ll typically be reporting to Director and C-Level management to help ensure that any decisions you make are approved from the top down.

As a bid manager, you’ll be the central liaison connecting everyone involved in the bidding process. You’ll need to create a formal proposal based on your potential customer’s requirements which takes your own company’s capacity and budget into strong consideration.

Once the proposal has been accepted and completed, your involvement in the project will usually end, leaving you to focus your attention on the next new business acquisition rather than managing any further part of the project itself.

Why Consider Becoming A Bid Manager?

The continued expansion of any business relies heavily on its ability to win bids. This essential mechanism for growth means that more and more industries are looking to employ winning bid managers meaning that there are opportunities aplenty.

Due to the face to face, human interaction that’s pivotal to this position, prospects are future proofed against the ever growing trend of using AI technology to replace core business tasks.

No two bids are ever likely to be the same. You’ll deal with a wide variety of different people on every project, helping to ensure that they’ll be plenty of variance in your day to day tasks.

As well as being a highly rewarding role for those motivated by competition, the financial rewards can be fantastic too. Take a look at our career progression example and salary indicator at the end of this guide for more information.

What You Need To Succeed

Even at SME level bids can extend well into the millions of pounds, so you’ll need to be able to display an excellent aptitude for financial and budget management.

However, it’s essential to understand that bid management isn’t all about money. In fact, many companies will often accept higher priced bids as long as they can see the value in the proposal. Being able to effectively sell your business in terms of its reputation, quality of products, services and staff is absolutely key, and therefore a winning bid manager will need to have an outstanding talent for sales.

You’ll also be very much at the forefront of the direct negotiations between you and the potential customer, further highlighting the importance of a strong sales background. Strong interpersonal, communication, organisational and negotiating skills are the most effective attributes needed when pursuing a successful career in this field.

Studying In Order To Have A Successful Career As A Bid Manager

Whilst there are no formal university or college qualifications that are directly targeted at educating future bid managers, there are plenty of things that you can do to boost your chances of success.

A background in sales and negotiation is highly desirable. Having a proven track record in a business to business sales environment will help you to quickly master these skills. It’s also integral that you have a deep understanding of the industry in which you’re working as this knowledge could be the difference between winning and losing a bid.

In spite of there being no specific degrees or diplomas that can facilitate a career in bid management, there are plenty of beneficial e-learning and classroom based courses on offer.

One key course is writing. You may be invited to present at a later stage but you have to get past the written stage first. These vary from introductory sales and marketing sessions through to more complex financial budgeting and business strategy qualifications, all of which can help you to become a winning bid manager.

You’ll also be working very closely with high level business executives including CEOs, CFOs and CIOs. Being able to prepare and present your bids in an engaging and effective way will be key, so taking personal development courses that can assist with communication, organisation and presentation can be a huge advantage. As they say, people buy people!

Career Progression and Salaries

The roadmap to becoming a bid manager varies considerably depending on the industry and your own career experiences, however below you can find an example as to how an individual might find themselves reaching this position. The salaries are based on the UK national average across the IT industry and exclude commission:

Sales Representative £15,000 – £40,000

Sales Manager £22,000 – £70,000

Bid Writer £25,000 – £70,000

What next?

Working as a winning bid manager requires a great deal of commitment and industry know how, but is a completely achievable career path for most people who can present a strong sales argument coupled with tight organisational skills. Take a look at what Bid Writer courses at Courses Dojo today and begin your own journey to an exciting new career.

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