Responding to a tender or proposal – what’s the worst that can happen?

If you’re a company that has to tender to win new business, you’ll know that someone has to take the lead. There’s the deadline to be met, all the attachments to be prepared and checked, plus all those questions to be answered.

It can be a thankless task. If you’re looking for volunteers, don’t expect to be overwhelmed. But someone has to do it. Which is why having your management team appoint a bid or tender manager is essential.

Having a single person appointed by management with authority for the tender, proposal or bid means that all decisions and content go through that person. In theory, the process will run more successfully – less dramas, less burning the midnight oil and a better quality tender response.

Yet, it’s common for companies to appoint a bid leader but to not give that person sufficient authority for decision making or for taking action when contributors (such as subject matter experts) fail to deliver their contributions on time.

Unless the bid leader has authority from management to run the bid, their tender leadership will crumble quickly in light of other team members thinking they know best.

And when that happens, the tender can go badly awry very quickly.

When other managers choose to get involved, but don’t actually do any of the leg work, the tender ends up with too many chiefs. Too many people involved delays decision making and undermines the authority of the bid leader.

For example, whilst the tender team under the lead of the tender manager may have set the response strategy on Day One, too many chiefs will see the strategy being debated and revised to the extent that it becomes diluted – a wishy washy mix of messages with no strong overarching theme.

Too much time talking and not enough doing puts at risk the compilation and writing of the tender response. It also jeopardises achieving the deadline.

When you’re up against a tender deadline, it’s best is to have a tender manager or bid leader with authority from management to truly take the lead. That means someone who is empowered to make final decisions, strong-arm recalcitrant contributors and get the job done. Thankless it may be, but when the role of the bid leader is publicly acknowledged and supported by management, the tender, proposal or bid will be in much firmer hands.

Proof Communications manages and writes tenders a year. For help with yours, call us on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216.

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