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With the evolution of bid management, recruiting the right bid leader for your business can be extremely challenging.  It is littered with risk and has the potential for missed opportunity if not planned for effectively. The direct and indirect cost of an ineffective hire in this role can be significant.

The right bid leaders will have the ability to:

  • Build and develop a winning bid management function and high performance culture
  • Drive profitable growth through the capture and winning of profitable contracts
  • Execute the desired company direction
  • Offer customers something overtly innovative and of exceptional value
  • Unify and align an organisation.

The bid professional who accelerates the growth of your business is a genuine asset, an intellectual peer and partner. They will be an effective collaborator and a member of your senior leadership team. It is crucial to recognise the significance of their role, as they can ultimately help or hinder the achievement of your business goals.

The role of the bid professional, their place in the sales cycle and stature within the wider business, can differ dramatically between organisations. This makes hiring a challenge for the business and a minefield for candidates. With intense competition in the market, we argue it pays to evaluate the calibre and type of bidding professional you need, and examine how to sustain a culture and overall environment which will ensure their enduring success. Determining the context in which they will need to achieve their objectives, is critical to understanding the type of individual and capabilities required.

It is crucial to be honest and clear about your priorities, expectations, and culture to avoid an expensive mistake.

Consider these two examples, both with unwanted outcomes:

Example 1

A mid-market IT company hired a Head of Bid Management from a large respected firm to lead and improve their bid function. The new employee had an impressive track-record of managing very efficient, high calibre winning teams which integrated seamlessly with the wider sales organisation. However, both the newly appointed leader and hiring executives underestimated the difference in culture, behaviours as well as the level of change required and resistance to it. It took time for the “penny to drop” that the internal stakeholders did not think highly of the value of the bid management function outside of a very narrow scope. The new recruit didn’t have the right brief, support, tools or capabilities to deliver within the context of the new role. This led to an unhappy ending for both the candidate and organisation.

Example 2

A B2B technology business hired a heavyweight Head of Bid Management to improve capability and help compete with tier one players. A thorough assessment of the inherited team was completed by the new hire. They found that significant skill gaps existed, inefficient processes were present, inadequate tools used and higher calibre individuals were required. To deliver their agreed targets and goals they wanted to hire key strategic bid professionals and develop those that had potential. Approval for the hires was granted. However, the salary bandings provided from historical recruitment and selected market data by HR were well below market rate for the type of individual required. The investment required to develop the rest of the team was also met with resistance. The out of date bureaucracy stopped the key hires being made. The subsequent delay and frustration led to the new hire leaving and the desired improvement in the bidding function not being realised.
To maximise chances of a successful hire and avoid costly mistakes, in our experience it’s essential to understand the following:

  1. The bidding landscape
  2. How bidding fits into and supports the wider business strategy
  3. How to evaluate your bidding results
  4. The effectiveness of your bidding team
  5. The bid leadership capability required
  6. How to optimise bid performance
  7. How to move forward

We’ve compiled a detailed assessment checklist, contact us here to receive your own copy.

Are you currently about to embark on recruiting senior bid professionals? If our blog has prompted you to realise that you could be more effective in the recruitment and development of your bidding professionals, please get in touch. We can help you choose the right person, the right shaped package, for your organisation, and help you avoid an expensive mistake. We can help you develop the bidding professional, their team and integration with the wider business to optimise results.

James Goff and Gill How are specialists in the recruitment and progression of high calibre, high impact bidding professionals that drive winning outcomes. James and Gill work together in collaboration to offer companies a seamless, end to end service.

To evolve our services and support you with critical insight, we plan to gain further intelligence through a dedicated research project.  If you have any questions or topics that you would like to see explored which impact your bid team and sales effectiveness, let us know.   Alternatively, click here to register your interest in participating in the survey.


Gill How is the founding director of Buonacorsi Consulting and has track-record of working with bid, sales and other professionals to help them accelerate the capability and leadership of their team as a route to winning results. She excels at working with teams provide an environment where they perform at and deliver their best.       07973 344609

James Goff is the founding director of Virtuo Executive a boutique executive search and recruitment services business with a focus on Finance, Bid and Commercial Management. James is passionate about helping businesses achieve a competitive edge through the recruitment and support of senior commercial and bid executives.        07515 948552


Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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