Bids, tenders and proposals. Whatever shape or form, they’re a tough demand with unforgiving deadlines where winning is everything.
If you’re under excessive stress, don’t risk your team’s energy and sanity – reclaim your calm! Here are 5 tips to help you stay sane during a major bid to get you and your team moving from meltdown to machine.
- Have clear roles and responsibilities: Matching roles with skills is a key requirement for establishing a bid team. While one team member may not be the best writer and another can’t cope under extreme stress, they may be perfect for updating procedures and the content library. Sitting left field may also be a natural coordinator, editor or strategic thinker. Matching your team to roles and tasks that bring out their best will create greater satisfaction and team coherence.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel every time: Use the 80/20 rule and prepare and update your CVs, service and product profiles, case studies and organisational information regularly. This will free you up to focus the 20 percent on key win themes and strategic messaging – the parts that need to be tailored specifically each time.
- Develop a project management plan: Preparing a project management plan with defined roles and responsibilities, key milestones and deliverables – and sharing this with the entire team – will keep lines of communication open and people accountable.
- Prepare a content framework: Once you have your RFP/RFT, develop a template and gather the key contributors and decision makers on a room (often called a ‘kick off’ meeting). Develop key messaging as a team – it’s amazing how knowledge, client insight and new ideas flow when the team collaborate with a common goal. The framework becomes a useful guide to keep the team of writers and contributors on track with punchy, salient points which persuade rather than waffle.
- Celebrate the downtime – constant deadline stress and the physical and emotional demands that come from preparing tenders and bids under pressure can take its toll. Recruitment and retention of bid team members can be difficult if they are burnt out or under-appreciated. Set up extended shifts and bring in after hours support to provide stretch capacity, give your team members a change of pace or a different task that taps into their transferable skills. When it’s all over given them some well-deserved time off to recharge.
Joining a tender or bid team isn’t for everyone, but those who love it seem to have several traits in common – they thrive on pressure, love a challenge, are completer-finishers and often, take the win in their stride and the loss very personally.
So look after them and they will show you much loyalty – and bring you many successes along the way.
What are some “calming” strategies that have worked for you? If you find Nyree’s advice useful, please feel free to share with others on your preferred social network. Thank you!