What is a Bid Manager
Bid Managers are very commercially focused individuals with an understanding of the operations which impact a business. They are capable of understanding in depth the requirements of a purchasing organisation while creating a team to deliver such projects. Bid Managers have excellent organisational capabilities, can lead teams, articulate proposals and understand business needs.
Nowadays, large public sector organisations and businesses frequently outsource major projects to external suppliers who can deliver using their expertise. The challenge for the external suppliers is being chosen to undertake this work and gain the lucrative income that comes with it. The tender process usually invites applications from the open market and, therefore, it is the role of the Bid Manager to prepare and submit a bid that has the potential to win the contract.
Types of Bid Manager Jobs Available
Bid Manager roles come in various guises however the principles are often the same. Commercial awareness and project management capabilities are integral.
Public sector organisations are traditionally likely to outsource much of their work. In the past, this was in areas such as construction and engineering; however, nowadays many more functions are outsourced. These might include areas such as health and social care, IT procurement and community activities. In the private sector, many companies see this type of work as profitable so demand for Bid Managers is increasing.
Construction jobs and jobs in engineering and infrastructure, however, remain the largest areas for bid submission and so these industries continue to require skilled managers.
As the nature of bid management changes, with more and smaller contracts being subjected to bidding processes, there is an increase in opportunities also for freelance Bid Managers as well as employed.
Bid Manager Job Description
The role of the Bid Manager is typically Monday through Friday from 9 to 5. A Bid Manager will usually work in an office environment spending much of their time undertaking research and identifying opportunities to submit tenders.
When preparing a bid time will be devoted to liaising with a team to deliver the proposal and determine the needs of the potential client. On the run up to a submission, the Bid Manager may work longer hours to ensure that the bid is complete and submitted on time.
A typical day as a Big Manager is:
- Starting with an email check
- Review of any current bids
- After assessing timeframes on bids, it may be that there is one to submit that day. The bid may then be made in writing through the post of via an online tendering portal which is more common
- During the day, meet with a construction team regarding a high-profile building project to assess whether or not the business has the capability to deliver a build large project
- After lunch, the Bid Manager may start to write the content for another bid project while liaising with designers via email for some brand logos for another project
Bid Manager Salary
According to the Association of Bid and Proposal Management Professionals Junior Bid Writers can expect salaries in the region of £22k per annum with heads of bid management earning in the region of £75k. An average Bid Manager salary would be in the region of £35k-£55k per annum.
Due to the tremendous growth in outsourced projects, there are many vacancies available for freelance Bid Managers. Freelancers have the freedom to choose which bids they take on when they write bids and where they work. Furthermore, freelancers can typically charge higher day rates for their work and even negotiate profitable bonuses for successful bids.
Of course in a permanent role the Bid Manager maintains the rights and security of an employee. If the bid landscape goes quiet, there will be other jobs to do in the office until more work comes in without any risk to income.
How to Get Into Bid Management?
There is no typical entry requirement to get into bid management, and no formal training is required however Bid Managers will usually be educated to degree level or have equivalent experience.
Bid Managers often come from project management backgrounds, and such is the nature of writing a bid. As bid writing is a various function of business the skills of a project manager such as time & budget management, overseeing and recruiting teams and working towards fixed goals lend themselves well to the bid writing process.
In the past bid writers have often come from construction and engineering backgrounds; however, these days sector specialisms are often required when dealing with specific bid requests.
Bid Manager Skills
Successful Bid Mangers are quick to react and very assertive. Here is a list of other skills needed:
- Commercial Awareness - A strong Bid Manager will need to be able to understand in great detail the needs and requirements of the purchaser. Bid documentation can often be very formal in its nature. Purchasing companies may often provide only a vague context around why they are outsourcing a particular project. A good project manager will be able to identify the motivations of the purchaser fully to their advantage.
- Organisation - Bids are usually requested in line with very clear deadlines. Bid Managers must ensure that all the information is ready before the bid is submitted. Liaising with various stakeholders, undertaking research, identifying budgets and other responsibilities all act as part of this process.
- Presentation - The successful bid writer must not only have excellent verbal presentation skills, should the request require this, but also the ability to present in writing a fluid business proposal. If the purchaser cannot understand the details of the bid, then they are less likely to proceed.
- Financial Awareness - Above all else, a proposal for a project must make commercial sense for the bidding company. The Bid Manager will need to be capable of understanding the pricing requirements of the purchaser while ensuring that the costs they require to manage a project are not too high to deliver profit.
- Communication - a good Bid Manager will be capable of communicating with a range of stakeholders to ensure that a successful bid comes together and is ready for submission.