Leading Advisers 2016

Sharon Pink, founder and director of Bid Dynamics, has been a leader in the industry for over 20 years, starting her proposal management career with the global IT services corporation Unisys. She was instrumental in introducing Unisys proposal centre operations into the UK and Europe and developing wide-ranging bid content and quality improvement standards.

Sharon founded Bid Dynamics in 1999 and has built an international team of proposal specialists delivering proposal management, writing, reviewing and training services across UK public and private sector clients, particularly in defence, aerospace, healthcare, transportation, IT, recruitment, construction and facilities management. The team covers all aspects of bid strategy, development, production and review, with training, coaching and mentoring programmes for bid managers and all bid team contributors.

Supporting companies and investors moving into the UK Core to the Bid Dynamics value proposition is the team’s knowledge and expertise of the challenges and opportunities facing companies that are on the move or expanding – whether through acquisition or relocation.

Sharon Pink explains: One of the greatest challenges for any organisation is keeping bid and proposal development running steadily while the company goes through a merger, acquisition or major relocation. Whether you are staying as a self-contained division within the new company or undergoing a full integration of people and processes, with or without the complications of a physical move, your bid deadlines don’t care what’s going on around you…and the potential for disruption is huge throughout! We have supported bid teams and proposal centres through probably every permutation of this challenge… and we know how important it is for business owners that their people feel supported throughout while making sure the bid gets the right level of attention – and gets in on time!

With change management and communications professionals in the Bid Dynamics team, we can help our clients make sure that every aspect of the merger or integration is fully planned and covered so nothing is missed. This takes into account all their current and upcoming bids so that these are resourced effectively and will maintain core quality and delivery standards throughout. We can provide skilled and experienced resources to cover every role in the bid or integration team – this is a key differentiator.

Our HR and organisational development (OD) experts help clients assess their bid support capability, organisation and teams to prepare for a merger or integration, identifying and putting in place the optimum organisation for the new company and operating environment. We help assess skills and competencies to identify skills gaps and training needs to bring people up to the levels required. Our targeted integration services include coaching and mentoring in live bids to bring the new teams together. This is particularly valuable when companies are bidding in consortium or setting up joint venture operations that may include special
purpose vehicles for the particular bid. With strong expertise in commercial management and dealmaking, the Bid Dynamics team supports clients across the full range of pre- and post-sales activity.

Staying ahead of bidding trends and developments 

As the Bid Dynamics team is working across the UK and international bid worlds, we monitor and track the key trends in procurement, for private and public sectors and for all aspects of Government tendering.

This means we can help our clients to be proactive in upgrading and upskilling their bid capability.

Major trends in recent years include:

Online portals squeezing the life out of your proposals
Advances in technology make it much easier these days for procurement teams to collect and compare online submissions from bidders. While technology helps you to respond more easily to clients globally, so you can expand faster into new markets, the
downside on bids is that portal submissions often just homogenise the responses. Your challenge then is make your business stand out from the competition – so that the personality of your business and your differentiators come through your answers.

The burden of proof is upon you
In all bids you need to substantiate whatever you claim. Advertising ‘puff’ is all very well – in adverts! To get the high scores, you need a strong evidence base. That means product/service outcomes, case studies, certificates and accreditations, KPI achievement reports and client endorsements. And yes this does mean eliminating a feature of bid writing that evaluators find really annoying: unless you can PROVE that your product or service is ‘unrivalled’, ‘unequalled’, second to none’ or ‘peerless’, don’t say it! By all means if your CLIENTS say any of that about your services, include it in large font! Otherwise, the delete button is your friend here…

Another key trend is: Show us the people!
No longer are client evaluators content to see only your account managers or business development team. Increasingly they will ask for presentations to include the services people from your organisation who will be delivering your solution. They want to see more field staff and on-site technical people. While those people may not be used to client presentations, it’s a great opportunity to showcase the breadth and depth of experience you have to offer across your company – and the Bid Dynamics coaching teams will make sure all your presenters are fully prepared and rehearsed!

Lastly, another technology theme coming to the fore: check if social media is helping (or derailing) your bids.
Evaluators WILL look at how you and your people present yourselves in networking sites such as LinkedIn. So check your profiles first! Make sure they are as well written and presented as your bids and that they give the right impression of your business. And yes, evaluators will check what is said about you and by you on other online media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Tweeting ‘in a personal capacity’ may be a good disclaimer but if anyone’s talking about your business, make sure you’ve seen it first and know what’s out there.

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Copyright Acquisition Intl. 2016