Q4 is around the corner and most proposal teams are beginning to feel the fatigue set in.
The fact is, proposal teams work hard. In many businesses, they carry large amounts of responsibility, such as supporting large sales teams, which can be a taxing experience for a small bid team.
If you’re wondering how to be a good bid manager and help your team power through the last quarter of this year, we have a set of tips to help you do just that.
But before we get into the tips, it’s worth touching on a few key principals of team engagement and driving performance.
- Focus on building long-term relationships. In our 2017/18 Bid and Proposal Management Survey Report, we found that 47% of businesses have team members who remain beyond 5 years in their roles. This means that most bid teams experience low churn rates. To keep low staff attrition levels in your team, focus on having a long-term perspective of the relationships you’re building with team members, as doing this will help you to create a stronger team that will be more committed, especially in tough times.
2017/18 Bid and Proposal Management Survey Report –
Employee churn rate is low in most bid teams across the globe
- Be genuine. Human beings have an innate ability to spot insincerity. As a rule of thumb when considering how to be a good bid manager, only perform acts that you sincerely believe in or care about.
- Empathy matters. Like sincerity, empathy is also easy to perceive, but can be hard to come by in the workplace. And at the end of a busy year, it’s not uncommon for staff to feel stressed out and possibly more susceptible to misreading feedback as negative criticism. So, be sure to exercise your judgement and lead with empathy in appropriate situations.
5 tips on how to be a good bid manager
With these principles in mind, let’s look at how you can set the right tone for your team and empower them to be their best.
- Encourage personal growth. Our 2016/17 Bid & Proposal Survey Report showed that to the majority of bid team members did not have proposal management related education, and that while they somehow found their way into their roles, they are not sure how to develop their careers.
Bid managers need to take the lead by helping staff create career paths and there are many great programs for employees who want to grow, such as APMP’s certification courses which start out at the foundation level and progress through to professional level.
- Involve them in strategy. Many staff members often feel lost and undervalued because they don’t see how their efforts add value to the organization. According to research from Gallup, 53% of employees are not engaged. This absence of engagement is partly due to a lack of line of sight, which can be corrected by involving staff in planning and strategy.
This level of engagement boosts employee morale and can also be highly beneficial to the business as more minds pool together and offer insight based on their daily work experience, insight that would otherwise be lost.
- Show them how well they’ve performed. Bid and proposal teams typically handle more work each year and looking back at their success rate is valuable. It gives teams a sense of accomplishment and helps them set standards for performance which they will do anything to not fall below.
- Give them gifts. Often, long weeks and overtime are rewarded with relaxing weekends. And for admin-intense roles, it’s great to make those even more special by sharing them with family.
- Take them out. There’s nothing more rewarding than being treated to a day out of the office. It’s a change of scenery and for busy bid teams usually stuck behind desks and computer screens, getting out of the office can be very relaxing and therapeutic. If you cannot sacrifice an entire day, make your treat a company-sponsored lunch which would work well as a surprise.
One way to treat your staff and show them that you appreciate their work and the sacrifices they make is to reward them with vouchers that can be enjoyed with their families. Gifts like this show a more personal side of the business and your commitment to being there for your team.
Bid and proposal teams are critical to business growth and carry a lot of responsibility and workload. For bid managers to help their teams maintain high levels of productivity and team morale, they must create empowering environments. This can be achieved by showing appreciation for team efforts in different ways, such as treating them to outings, encouraging personal growth and mapping career paths, involving them in strategy development, and rewarding them with small ‘thank you’ gifts.