Bid Kick Off meetings are fundamental to a successful bid. Once you have made the decision to bid the next step is to focus on the Bid Kick Off as it brings the team together, focuses them on what needs to be delivered and gets everything moving in the right direction.
The main objective of the meeting is for everyone to:
- agree the win themes and customer value propositions
- develop the solution i.e. the bid is in response to a client problem or need
- agree roles, responsibilities and timelines
The time invested in getting the right people at the Bid Kick Off meeting will provide the foundations on which to build a successful bid.
Who should attend?
Bid Manager – The Bid Manager is the glue that will bind the bid team together, acting as the key point of contact for both the bid team and the client throughout the bid process. An effective Bid Manager will also facilitate an effective Bid Kick Off meeting by ensuring those attending have the necessary information and clarity around expectations for the meeting.
Project Sponsor – Having the senior decision maker present at the outset helps to reinforce the importance of the bid. This person will also make an effective contribution, including helping to get executive approval for both the solution and the commercials.
Business Development / Sales lead – Hopefully this is a bid where there is some existing client relationship or intelligence. The BD lead should also know something about the external market and your competitor offerings.
Technical Specialists / Subject Matter Experts – These are the people who will dissect the client specification and then explain how you have the product or service that meets the needs.
Operations lead – Since this person will lead on the delivery of the successful bid, their early involvement is key around the deliverability of the solution. They will bring experience to the table of what works, what doesn’t and the art of the possible.
Commercial / Finance lead – It is important that the pricing is not done in a vacuum or silo. Effective pricing comes from a thorough understanding of the opportunity as well as the reasons why the bid is strategically important.
Bid team – In larger organisations this would also include the core team who will be working on the opportunity, Bid or Proposal writer, Bid Executives and Bid Support staff.
External bid specialist – There can be clear benefits to bringing in an external bid specialist to facilitate the Bid Kick Off meeting. This can also work well in consortium bidding situations. If you choose to use one, they can provide input, make sure things are on the right track, fill any knowledge gaps and raise things that might be missed.
For large or complex bids, some other disciplines may also need to be represented e.g. Legal, HR (especially if there are significant TUPE implications) and Marketing (where support may be required around graphics, images and bid production).
For smaller companies, it may be that one person performs several of the roles mentioned earlier. The important thing is that these disciplines are all part of the Kick Off stage.
A successful Bid Kick Off meeting, with all those involved, should be the catalyst for a shared sense of ownership and a strong belief that the bid can be won if everyone works together as a team.