“Five-to-niners” – the unsung heroes of a successful bid effort

It takes more than just a mandate to get people to bring their best work to proposals.

What does it really take for a bid to be successful? A compelling offer? A sharp price? A great-looking proposal that is well written and interesting to read? Yes. All are important.

But each of these things is in itself highly dependent on the energy, enthusiasm and creativity our teams bring to the project. Without these, our proposal efforts can really struggle.

The other day, I was talking to Cameron, a program manager who works for one of my most successful clients. Cameron hit the nail on the head when he said, "Bids are not a nine-to-five job for me. They're a “five-to-nine” job."

Cameron isn’t complaining. In fact, he is very proud that his contribution helps his company to win work. But like many people who have an operational role and a lot of valuable knowledge, bids aren’t part of Cameron’s job description. They are something that gets done on top of everything else he needs to achieve in a day.

So spare a thought for the Camerons in your world. These are good people with a great work ethic, but their reserves of goodwill run dry eventually. When the next big thing comes up (after the last big thing) many are inwardly groaning. "Geez, another bid? I'd really like some time with my kids. I'd love to get to the gym. It’s been ages since my wife and I went out to dinner."

A simple way to maintain goodwill with your five-to-niners is to reward them for their hard work — no matter what the outcome— and always make sure there is a real celebration when you win.

And if your team could use some tactics to deliver bid-winning thinking, get in touch – I can help.