Shifali Mandhania

Shifali Mandhania

What inspires you the most in your role as a Bid Manager?
I feel a Bid Manager is an invaluable role in a presales function. To me one of the most inspiring things about working within bids is the fact that you are part of the team who is working towards generating new business and bringing revenue for the organization.
As a Bid Manager you not only have to manage the proposals, but you are also required to manage relationships with different stakeholders in many areas of the business, which builds your network.
The best and the most exciting part of this role is that as you get further into your career, your role can become more strategic and you will often be required to work alongside leadership to develop different bids strategies.

Did you always aspire to be a Bid Manager and Why? or Did you accidentally land in this profession and How?
I started my career in Business Development and gradually after shifting careers landed up being a Proposal Manager. To be honest it was by chance that I got into this role.

What tactics and strategies did you leverage in your role that ultimately lead you to win this award?
Strategies and tactics get defined on case to case basis. Never the less the key strategy that I adopt on any of the opportunities that I get engaged in, is to develop an effective partnership with all the stakeholders. I take personal accountability of all tasks and coordinate with all the members, and I believe that this is super critical to the overall pursuit management. I am also very process-oriented person which complements my role. Few personal traits like being disciplined and methodical does help in my work. Finally following the best practices of bid management is critical .
The tactic is to be able to demonstrate leadership qualities while working with cross-functional teams. This will keep the team cohesive and focused.

What advice would you want to give to the next-generation professionals or your peers?
My advice to anyone who wants to be an aspiring Bid Manager is that you should be highly motivated, innovative, customer focused and have a ‘can do’ attitude.
While I agree that the tight deadlines, huge workloads, and the pain of trying to get input from stakeholders and reviewers are among the biggest causes of stress and burnout, however, please note that these are often offset by the variety and flexibility that the job offers.

5. Please give us one tip for creating a Winning Proposal.
Writing high scoring answers to bids and proposals requires a structured approach, the correct use of storyboarding techniques, an in-depth understanding of the subject matter and a flair for creating simple but compelling proposal. Producing a Winning Proposal relies on people, tools, and processes working in harmony under extreme pressure. As a Bid manager make sure that everyone involved in producing the proposal, delivers what they are responsible for on time and at a high level of quality. You must have the clout to compel everyone to step up as required to get the winning proposal delivered on time. Tip to create a winning proposal is that the bid should always be thorough and accurate. Bid Manager should have a keen eye for detail, consistency, and accuracy.

6. What is something you wish others understood about the importance of Bid Management in today’s market?
Earlier this role was grossly downplayed and considered as an Admin or Support function. Of late this profession has gained in prominence with well-defined processes and sophisticated tools. Businesses are starting to understand the value this role brings, however we have a long way to go. Often it seen that the bid team is not engaged early in the pursuit leading to a potential disconnect between the Sales and the Bid team. The transfer of information from sales to bid team is one area where the process tends to breakdown. Some organizations are working towards decreasing this gap by engaging Capture Manager or engaging the Bid team early, however this process needs to be widely adopted. If Sales and Bid teamwork in partnership, it will lead to substantially higher success rates.

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