Eesha Mandra Kundu
What inspires you the most in your role as a Bid Manager?
The opportunity to work alongside the top management and learn directly from them. Bid management is infamous for being fast-paced that constantly challenges you to think fast, clear and be a step ahead of the competition. This adrenalin rush is of course what helps us be more agile while being at the helm of getting the entire organisation onto a common goal. But an aspect which we take for granted is the chance to understand the thought process of the leaders and the way they transform challenges into opportunities. For me, these learnings are of immense value as they not only helps me learn the technical dynamics of the industry but also broadens my perspective and approach to decision making. With every new RFP I had lead this far, there has always been some new learning I picked from the senior management; it’s always an eye-opener – always that exciting.
Did you always aspire to be a Bid Manager and Why? or Did you accidentally landed in this profession and How?
I landed in this profession accidently and Thank god for it! I was getting married and looking for a change in another city when this opportunity came along. The job description sounded exciting and with my previous experience in customer relation, I was able to bag the job. It’s kind of unfortunate to know that many people do not even know that a profile like this exists; had I known about this profile, I would have started preparing myself well in advance in this direction. That way my initial struggle would also have been minimised.
What tactics and strategies did you leverage in your role that ultimately led you to win this award?
This long-drawn bid (for over 9 months) needed working across time zones with multiple stakeholders while keeping the constantly changing goal posts at the forefront. To accomplish a smooth submission, I used the following three tactics –
- Leverage technology – The sheer volume of effort required the best of man and machine. I therefore took the opportunity to leverage our automated workflow tool (developed in-house) to ensure the bid is run in a streamlined and transparent manner. This proved highly successful as I was able to save time and enhance the quality of output (through review mechanisms and feedback management) – along with being 100% compliant despite multiple variations in requirements and in the larger bid team.
- Stakeholder management – We will agree, not everything in bid management can be automated and be process driven; there is a very crucial element of personal rapport that governs the pace of bid management. I leveraged my relations and good will to create consensus, irons out difference and most importantly, collaborate at crucial times. Rather than escalating, I preferred to walk up to the person and talk. Periodic meetings and open discussions were also arranged to ensure all bid members – including support team – are aware of every development and feel a part of the larger mission. Likewise, appreciation mails were sent out in public to acknowledge the efforts of the team members.
- Work-life integration – As a female, there is always a concern of balancing the responsibility of professional life with that of the personal life. Rather than demarcating strict work/ life hours, I made some lifestyle changes for work-life integration by prioritising my time, setting strict work hours and stick to them, plotting some personal time etc.
What advice would you want to give to the next-generation professionals or your peers?
Bid management is a serious role with high stakes. It demands a great sense of responsibilities. Ensure you own up what you start and take it to fruitful completion – no matter how many challenges. Do everything possible to live up to your commitment: make your process robust & streamlines, develop a collaborative approach, distil the requirements to gain clarity early on or simply work on your project management & stakeholder management skills – have a serious intent from the start to create that cutting edge proposal.
Please give us one tip for creating a Winning Proposal?
Focus on the clients not on your product. While it is always tempting to “sell” yourself, the only true way to succeed is when put the client’s needs on the forefront and position ourselves as an enabler to meet those requirements. List each elements of your solution and bring out loud the respective benefit it can provide to the clients. This way you are not only addressing the client’s hot buttons and motivators but also letting them know that you are well-versed with their explicit and implicit expectations. It’s a bit of a psychological play but once you have created an emotional bond through storytelling, you will sure have an edge.
What is something you wish others understood about the importance of Bid Management in today’s market?
That we are not mere co-ordinators. A bid manager is an integral part of the sales cycles who ensures that a large part of ideation & documentation process is streamlined so that the core solution team has enough bandwidth to concentrate on the final solution. We simplify the process, provide all intelligence to help leadership make an informed decision – all at the back of our varied experience and tailored approach that we take for every bid. Specially in the sales world where time is the most valuable currency, we bid managers have a direct role in enhancing the chances of winning a deal.
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