• BidCraft

the art of bidding at Christmas

From towards the end of November onwards, the bidding world is eagerly awaiting to see what’s coming around the corner. No, not Christmas parties, food, drink and time with family, but what tender is going to be published in mid-December with a submission date in the first week of January.

In some countries, procurement guidelines have called upon companies to steer away from this tradition. However, we don’t all have this, so here are some tips to think about if you find yourself with a Procurement Grinch.

1. Effective capture

For years now, the bidding profession has been championing our involvement in capture activities with our Business Development colleagues. With effective communication between BD and the customer, it should be easy to spot a possible Christmas tender, so influence them directly and indirectly to steer away from this.

2. Flow the risk/issue up

If an opportunity ‘pops out of nowhere’, which is a familiar occurrence, just before Christmas with a return the first/second day back in the new year, which would mean your team would have to work over the festive holiday, raise this as an issue with the senior members of the company. Ask who of them will be working on the bid during this time. This might be an awkward conversation to have, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid request – it’s not all about the bid managers and writers doing the work.

3. No Bid

The availability of resource to respond to a tender should always be part of a ‘bid/no bid’ decision, whatever the time of year. So, if the answer must be people working over weekends/bank holidays, the question should be ‘can we actually bid this effectively and win?’

4. Use the break to your advantage

I’ve led many a bid that falls over the Christmas period and used that to our advantage. How many times do we say, “let’s take a break from the bid and come back to it with fresh eyes”? Well, the holidays give you an opportunity to do that. Split your response schedule so people don’t need to work on the bid over the bank holidays or weekends, so they can go off and enjoy some quality time with their family and friends. The result will be that they will come back more refreshed than if they ‘just look at it for a couple of hours’ instead of watching a movie or going for a walk. Also, you can do all your preparation and get things set up before the break, so it’s all ready for when you return after the holidays. Then a quick refresh is only needed on the first working day to get everyone up to speed.

5. Resource plan

The bidding profession is not the only career where working over Christmas and new year might be needed – we are not special. So, if it really is a strong likelihood of happening, identify a bid team who might have more flexibility to work over the holidays. It’s not my position to say who this might be, but if you ask the question early enough, you might find people who can support the bid. Some people might like to have the excuse to work rather than forcing another mince pie down them!

6. Empathy is key

Pull out all your empathy skills and compromise as much as you need to. Part of this is boosting morale, so bring in tubs of chocolates, mince pies, etc. Show extra interest in what your team members have done over Christmas and Boxing Day. Relax your dress code, although be mindful of the fact that some people like to wear work attire to ‘get in the zone’. And make sure you hold a party (within Covid guidelines of course!) when you submit the proposal – don’t wait for the result to celebrate your team’s achievements.

Whatever your situation, whether you are bidding over Christmas or not, BidCraft wishes you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


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