The bids and tenders industry is currently experiencing dramatic growth and development as more businesses realise the benefits that bid professionals can bring to their work-winning efforts. The career path of a bidding professional is gaining popularity as more university graduates are now being exposed to this due to its high demand and need.
In this article, we explore some aspects of a bidding career, particularly for those just starting or looking to pursue this career path. We share some insights provided to us by ‘Generation Z’ bid professionals, Kenneth Barrozo and Douglas Bryden, who have recently celebrated their first year with AM Bid.
How does one get into bidding?
Unlike other professions, there isn’t a single, defined path to becoming a bid professional. In fact, there are many paths that lead to a bidding career, and quite often, people stumble into these opportunities by chance.
Some people will have previously worked in a completely different industry (e.g. construction, housing, motor trade, energy etc.). These people might have gained exposure to bidding when their former organisations participated in tenders in the hopes of winning lucrative contracts e.g. within the public sector. This is quite common as all public sector tenders are required to have a defined and transparent process of procuring contracts for services and products. This provides opportunities for numerous businesses – whether small or large – to bid on a level playing field.
On the other hand, some are exposed to this industry due to the high number of career opportunities. Businesses are always looking to have stable sources of revenue, which is why they are often looking to win work within the public sector where there is stability, safety, and consistency. Currently, there is a high demand for bid professionals who understand the procurement process and have the ability to write compelling bids that have a high chance of winning contracted work to help these businesses grow.
However, there are only a few that have experience with successful tenders. Businesses such as AM Bid help address this problem. AM Bid is a specialist bidding consultancy firm that focus solely on bidding and tendering. It helps nurture talent by recruiting and training new (as well as experienced) bid professionals, equipping them with the knowledge and experience required to write compelling bids and succeed in the world of bids and proposals.
In general, bid professionals often come from very different backgrounds. The undefined path to bidding means that most actually come across bidding by chance. This will likely change as the demand for bid professionals continues to grow.
What is most enjoyable about bidding?
There are numerous reasons why a career in bidding is enjoyable, especially within a bidding and tender specialist business such as AM Bid.
This profession offers a tremendous learning opportunity, not just about bid writing and management, but also about how different companies, sectors and industries operate as a whole. Bid professionals at AM Bid are always working with different clients in different industries, making it an exciting opportunity to work closely with various business owners and management teams to learn and understand more about their business operations.
There is also the challenge of writing, designing, and managing bid responses. Bid professionals must be able to adapt to the unique requirements of each bid, answering discrete tender questions, structuring and designing the responses to interest the evaluation team who is reading and marking the bid. This requires a tremendous amount of co-ordination and collaboration between the bid team and the subject matter experts, which is often underestimated and overlooked.
However, the end product is very satisfying – a well-written, well-designed bid with clear and concise writing that expresses a compelling offer to the buying organisation. Submitting these types of bids always gives a sense of achievement to the bid professionals involved, especially when receiving the news that the bid has been successful in retaining existing work or securing new revenue for the bidder.
Challenges faced by bidding professionals
Whilst bidding can be very enjoyable and rewarding, bidding professionals experience their fair share of challenges.
First and foremost, there is quite a steep learning curve. Many are unfamiliar with the procurement process, especially within the public sector. Bidding professionals are required to understand various aspects of tenders, including but not limited to:
- the type of tender procedure (whether open-procedure or restricted procedure)
- the overall timeline
- the procurement process
- unique procurement portals
- bespoke tender questions and submission requirements
Once the basics of bidding are understood, the next challenge is to work effectively within a team consisting of the bid personnel, subject matter experts, and senior management, who all have different contributions to make the bid. This can be quite difficult when tender requirements are complex and have different moving parts, especially when members of the team have limited time to offer to the development of the bid responses. Thus, bid professionals will need to manage their stakeholders, deadlines, and expectations, navigating through a fast and dynamic environment until the bid is completed and submitted.
Another significant challenge, particularly for those just starting their bidding career, involves the actual writing of the bid responses. Unlike sales and marketing pitches, bid responses need to be clear, concise and objective, with supplementary evidence and documents. Bid responses must be customer-focused, showing a true understanding of the buyer’s stated and unstated needs. This style of writing can often take time to adopt, which can only be improved through experience and continuous training.
Bid professionals, Kenneth and Douglas, share that these are all challenges that they have faced during their first year at AM Bid. However, they have overcome these obstacles with the help of the Bid and Tender Writing Training Course | UK | Ultimate Tender Coach programme and a very supportive team at AM Bid, giving them the guidance and advice they need to ensure their bids are always as good as they can be.
Developing a career in bidding
Whilst a career in bidding isn’t always the most popular choice for young people, it is certainly a fantastic opportunity to learn, grow and experience working with different people, clients and industries.
A lot of skills are required to become a successful bidding professional, which can include time management, communication, persuasive writing, creative designing, and problem-solving. Pursuing a career in bidding will help individuals gain and improve these skills, allowing them to progress in their own professional development.
For those who are looking to pursue a career in bid writing and management, a good start would be to look into Home – APMP and its Body of Knowledge. APMP is the professional membership and certification body for bids and proposals people. It is an international body that serves a community of bid professionals throughout the world, providing useful insights into industry best practice as well as mentoring, networking and events. APMP also hosts a range of events and seminars specifically aimed at bid professionals and those interested in entering the profession.
It is very important to seize all training opportunities available. There are different ways to receive training. This can be through either on-the-job experience or bespoke training programmes such as AM Bid’s Ultimate Tender Coach programme. These training programmes can really accelerate the learning and development of bid professionals, explaining the basics but also helping them become better in writing, managing and structuring their bid responses.
Generation Z – what makes them tick?
Young people from ‘Generation Z’ have begun entering the workforce, and it is important that the entire professional world understands what really makes them tick.
‘Generation Z’ bid professionals, Kenneth and Douglas, have emphasised the importance of being understood by their employer as each person has different motivations and goals in life. They explain that what really motivates and attracts them to their work is when their employer truly understands them as a person and not just as an employee. Generation Z is looking for employers who can commit to investing in them, allowing them to grow and progress in their own professional careers and goals in life.
Employers should also understand that salary is not the only factor to consider. A healthy and happy workplace environment is just as important! The young people from ‘Generation Z’ want to feel that they are part of the team, on the journey to achieving the vision of the business. Thus, the senior management should also engage with their employees, providing them with opportunities to be heard and listened to. Their suggestions and feedback should be considered and taken on board when making business decisions.
Generation Z is the first fully digital generation having grown up with technology. Employers should consider offering flexible working hours, and the ability to work from home (or hybrid working) whenever possible. It is important that employers understand the demand for this so that they can continue to attract talent and cultivate a happy workplace environment that supports the lifestyles of everyone.
With thanks to Kenneth Barrozo and Douglas Bryden, Bid Professionals – AM Bid