Bids. Pitches. Tenders. Proposals.
We often hear from candidates that bids, pitches, tenders and proposals are dreaded words in the BD world. However, what you may not realise is that by taking on these roles – especially at the beginning of your career – you can set yourself up for long-term success.
Here are five reasons why.
1. Commercial Acumen
You gain a better understanding of the business you are in. A bids role means you gain access across the business and work with multiple sectors and practices. As a result, you gain knowledge of how the business operates, why certain clients are important and why it is critical to develop capabilities in specific areas. At the early stages of your career, understanding how businesses operate will give you solid foundations for a career in business development. And, in the words of one of our clients, “You need to know how to pitch to be a great BD person”. Why is this important? It comes down to commerciality; do you know how to win work? Can you identify opportunities? Are you able to pinpoint what is important to our clients? These skills are developed and/or finely tuned in a bids role.
2. Build Your Influence
As you develop in your career, you will gain more access to senior stakeholders in the business. When you are in a bids role, this is fast tracked. You will have direct access to partners and directors where you are able to build your reputation internally across the business. Partners know bids are important and when we (at Seldon Rosser) speak with partners, it’s usually the time a business development person helped them win a tender that they recount to us. Why? You helped them win work and directly contributed to the profit of the business.
3. Desirable Skills
A common question we get asked is “Will I be pigeonholing my career?” Our answer is always “no”.
Most specialist roles tend to keep you on a narrow path but a bids role does the opposite (if you want it to). Working on bids will hone your project management skills, ability to meet deadlines and develop your ability to work under pressure – these are transitional skills critical in professional services and something employers are always looking for in all marketing and business development roles.
4. Build Your Knowledge
As mentioned above, bids give you exposure across multiple sectors in a business, which in turn, means you gain knowledge across different industries. If you are looking to move into a role supporting a particular group, more likely than not, you will have been exposed to work in that space before. Also, if you are looking to transition into a client focussed career, more firms are allowing bids people in front of clients for debriefs and feedback sessions which builds experience in a client facing capacity.
5. Job Opportunities
This is a great time to be a bids professional. There is so much investment and growth happening in this space. Automation, streamlining of processes, additional support and resources – all to support the removal of the admin side of bids in order to allow you to be proactive and operate strategically in your approach to bids. Bidding infrastructure is changing and this means you can focus on creating a value proposition for your client that differentiates your firm from competitors.
That being said, many firms are still learning about how they can become more strategic with their bids, giving a senior bids person the opportunity to influence and implement best practice. You could have the opportunity to help a firm go through the journey of improving their bid function and add lasting value to the business.
We are regularly briefed on new bids opportunities and, at any given time, are working on 2-4 bids roles at various levels across the Asia Pacific region. This is a skill set in high demand and a growth area globally so if you are looking to take your career internationally, a bids role can take you there.
Talk to us about how we can help you into your first, or next bids role, and build a successful career.
- Listen to our A Legal High podcast The Art & Science of Winning Work where Graham Seldon interviews Sara Miller, Pitch & Pursuits Excellence – Senior Manager, Asia Pacific Leader at Baker McKenzie (27 mins)