‘There is no I’ in Bid Team! 

Of course, there is! But we are not talking about the spelling, but the people involved in sourcing and submitting high-value government or commercial proposals or tenders. And that certainly isn’t down to just one individual!

It takes a team of dedicated, hard-working people to generate a winning bid. It’s made even more challenging when working across multiple teams, divisions, geographies and time zones.

So, how do you successfully engage and motivate such a diverse group of people to achieve a common goal– that of delivering a high-quality winning bid?

Learning from Elite Sport

‘There is no I in Team’ is often cited with reference to sports victories and achievements being delivered not by an individual but by a whole coordinated team.

So, let’s consider the striking parallels between elite sports and bid management teams. Both environments are highly competitive, demanding focus, dedication, and perseverance from a diverse array of individuals and experts. These individuals must seamlessly collaborate to consistently secure convincing victories, whether in a football game, a swim meet, a cycling race or bidding for a contract.

In the following, we consider the most common challenges teams face within bid management and how elite sports techniques can help foster team cohesion and a winning mentality!

PRE-BID (Pre-Game Planning)

With huge financial investment and even bigger rewards, it is no wonder that so much activity is undertaken in preparing elite sports teams to be match-ready and optimum best for when it counts.

Whatever the type of team, developing the right environment and culture is paramount. It requires robust leadership, defined goals, and a wide scope of expertise and tools to build team unity and deliver results.

“You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.” Michael Phelps

Leadership & Culture

Culture change is a complex process that involves reshaping values, behaviors, and norms to align with new goals and objectives. Culture change starts at the top. Leaders must fully support and model the desired cultural shift. They should be visible champions of change and consistently communicate its importance to the organization.

By breaking down silos and encouraging cross-functional collaboration, teams will be better able to harness diverse skills and perspectives. This will lead to the organization delivering better quality, comprehensive and compelling tender submissions.

Values and behaviors to encourage include:

  • Open communication and feedback
  • Cross-functional learning and working
  • Creative ideas and innovation
  • Positive review and improvement.

The following strategies and initiatives will help foster the desired culture change.

Strategic Goals

Setting bid strategies and goals is critical in providing individuals and teams with a clear direction and a sense of purpose in their tendering efforts.

This is especially important in the initial stages of the process – the sourcing and qualifying of tender opportunities. Sales and Bid Teams may be tempted to pursue poorly matched opportunities to meet lead gen and sales targets.

Such opportunities can prove harder to generate convincing, compelling responses that secure high evaluation scores. Plus, it could potentially damage brand reputation while increasing financial risks.

Furthermore, time and resources could be better spent focused on best-fit tenders with higher win probabilities.

Additionally, regular review and adjustment of these objectives will help ensure the organization remains agile and responsive to evolving market dynamics, enhancing its capacity to secure tenders and grow its market presence.


Fostering individual and collective accountability is a crucial component of a winning team. In sports, this is not just the ‘players’ but the coaches, physiotherapists, nutritionists, administrators, etc.

Within a bid environment, the Sales and Bid Teams are supported by Subject Matter Experts, Approvers, Directors and Senior Management Teams.

However, much of the support team will have their own work responsibilities and priorities outside of the bid process. This can lead to requested tender tasks being delayed or rushed, negatively impacting the quality of final submissions.

It is, therefore, vital to ensure all team members are fully conversant with the bid process and the importance of their specific roles and responsibilities. This can be achieved through:

  • Amending job descriptions and targets
  • Sharing of documented bid strategies, plans and workflows
  • Establishing milestones, deadlines, and project timelines
  • Regular check-ins and progress reports.

By instilling accountability, businesses can optimize their collective potential and increase their chances of winning contracts.


Maintaining team focus throughout a sports season is a huge challenge. For every team member to consistently perform to the best of their ability for every event requires phenomenal commitment, motivation and mental strength.

In the same way, competing for multiple consecutive bids each year requires stamina and motivation from everybody within the project team.

Activities to cultivate good teamwork and motivation may include:

  • Securing early engagement and buy-in into the bid process
  • Maintaining effective communication throughout projects
  • Recognition, incentives and rewards
  • Taking positive learning from losses.

Ensuring motivation and morale remain high will be particularly important after a tender loss or string of losses or for those only partially involved in the process, such as your Subject Matter Experts and Approvers.


During any elite sports event, the coaches and support teams will be constantly monitoring player’s performance, identifying challenges and making rapid strategic decisions to optimize team performance. It is a great observation in agile project management in play.

This is certainly the way that your Bid Manager and Bid Team need to be operating daily. Juggling numerous tasks, people and content, all within tight deadlines and to set submission dates.

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael Jordan

Team Engagement

Coordinating and keeping team members engaged throughout the bid process is essential. This will require regular communication and relationship building, especially between the Bid Team and Subject Matter Experts in compiling high-quality, compelling tender responses.

Activities to encourage better collaboration will include:

  • Early project mobilization and notification
  • Project kick-off briefing and regular progress meetings or calls
  • Setting clear tasks with timelines and reminders
  • Early identification, discussion and resolution of roadblocks.

Ensuring easy access to essential tender information and documentation is also critical in keeping team members engaged. Difficulties and time wasted hunting for information can easily turn into frustration and complacency.

Content creators will need to be fully conversant with Procurement Agency requirements and scoring mechanism to empower them to deliver more in-depth responses and address any nuances in questions.

Approvers will need full access to project information to assess better risk factors, competitor differentiation, submission accuracy and overall quality.

Support Tools

Equipment and clothing are another essential factor in elite sports, whether that’s swimming gear, football boots, or Formula 1 cars! Any competitive edge achieved through these elements is employed to enhance team performance.

The same goes for business. An organization still using generic or disparate business tools (such as spreadsheets, email and ‘z’ drives) to pursue tender opportunities is at a distinct disadvantage against competitors operating with a dedicated bid management solution.

Working inefficiencies and frustrations can significantly impact team morale and commitment. Project delays and undertaking duplicated activities can waste valuable time, which could be better spent finessing tender responses and securing higher evaluation scores.

Powerful team dynamics can be created through a solution and tools that offer:

  • Seamless handover of projects between teams and stages
  • Easy access to all project information and documentation
  • Structured working models and streamlined workflows
  • Rapid project mobilization and team assignment
  • Automated notifications, tasks and reminders
  • All-in-one communication channel with feedback loops
  • Visible and easy tracking of project progress and task completion.

POST BID (Post-Game Review)

Performance analysis within elite sports has evolved significantly since the early 2000s, with considerable investment in technology and data analytics.

The in-depth insight into tactical and technical performance, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the team and their competitors, is critical in shaping team success. This analysis is undertaken during training and competitive events for later assessment and formulation of ongoing improvement strategies.

This is certainly a discipline that can be more powerfully used within the bid management process to foster future team wins!

“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” Billie Jean King

Review & Feedback

Certainly, once bids have been submitted and decisions received, time must be allocated to reviewing the process, team performance and results. This applies to both won and lost bids.

This vital activity can often be overlooked or sidelined, especially when dealing with multiple or subsequent bids and tight deadlines. Making review and feedback an integral stage of your adopted project implementation model will help ensure it is undertaken.

Activities may include a formal performance review meeting with representatives from all teams, plus feedback loops and surveys for everybody to communicate and share their experiences and thoughts.

Project and results data should be analyzed and shared for discussion and review. Useful insight may include the identification of:

  • Inconsistent or poor pursuit decisions
  • Process and task inefficiencies and delays
  • Resource or expertise shortfalls
  • Tender response and content with low evaluation scores
  • Weak competitor differentiation and positioning
  • Low win probabilities, win rates or market share.
Learning & Improvement

This insight is crucial to making changes and continual improvement. Even in winning scenarios, sports teams will never rest on their laurels or replicate the exact same plays against new competitors. The status quo is constantly challenged, and questions are asked!

Certainly, this learning is an essential part of bid management improvement and becomes crucial when dealing with a tender loss or ongoing losing streak. This is a time when team morale can plummet so taking affirmative action can help alleviate the disappointment of the loss.

Key questions to ask may include: Can we:

  • refine search and qualification criteria to prioritize better-fit opportunities?
  • streamline bid processes and workflows?
  • automate repetitive manual tasks and activities?
  • improve content through better management and updating regimes?
  • increase collaboration through team building, training and knowledge sharing?

Much can be learned from both wins and losses. Any roadblocks or gaps in strategy, process, resources or knowledge can be identified, discussed and improved.

Furthermore, a culture that values learning and development empowers teams to stay updated with industry best practices and emerging trends This ensures that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in this business-critical discipline.

And Last but Not Least – Celebrate the Wins!

We have all witnessed many sports wins and celebrations. Whether it’s raising a trophy, spraying a bottle of champagne or taking a victory lap – it’s usually high-spirited and joyful.  This show of elation by a team is important after all the demanding work undertaken to achieve the common goal.

While it’s probably not appropriate to be so exuberant in the workplace, it is important to recognize and celebrate the wins.

Acknowledging and rewarding both individual and team contributions and achievements in the tendering process will help reinforce a culture of collaboration, motivation and excellence.

Making your team even stronger and ready to win even more contracts!

“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.” Pelé



About the Author

TenderEyes Software is a leading supplier of Enterprise Bid Management Software.

Providing powerful intuitive tools, workflow automation and in-built best practice within one dedicated solution. And empowering global Bid Teams in their pursuit of world-class tender wins!

To learn more about achieving world-class Bid Management best practice visit, www.tendereyessoftware.com

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