The Mystery Of Bidding

The Mystery Of Bidding 1024 1024 Contracts Advance

An occupation responsible for creating significant revenues in addition to sharing copious similarities with academic writing practices is never discussed in further education, why?

I’ve studied business in the UK obtaining both BA (Hons) and MSc qualifications. As part of this journey, I studied abroad at a business academy, specialising in sales and marketing for 6 months in Aarhus, as well as experiencing a brief stint in Villingen Schwenningen. The purpose of this introduction to my background is to demonstrate what I consider, a rounded further education in business.

Like many of my peers, I graduated from University having learned a lot, albeit mostly theoretical knowledge – as is often the nature of education. Whilst I did not specifically ‘major’ in sales, I did encounter sales-based modules, principles, and teachings. These modules, however, contained nothing about the wonderful world of bidding.

From my experience, as far as academia is concerned, ‘sales’ has two core strands; B2B and B2C. The theoretical approaches to selling change depending on industry, relationship, product/service, strategy, culture, and a host of other factors.

Would I consider myself the next ‘wolf’ of Wallstreet? No. Rather, the point of my digression is to demonstrate my familiarity with selling in a B2B and B2C environment. And yet, on graduation, I knew nothing of bidding. Why bidding remains a mystery in education is itself a mystery, and it’s at this point I welcome academics, business schools, and Universities to respond to why this remains the case.

Bidding is remarkably simple in practice. A specification is published inviting competitors to respond to how they would fulfill a requested service and at what price. The written responses are reviewed, scored, and the successful bidder(s) announced. Sure, there are nuances to bidding to increase your chance of winning. Often the response will differ depending on the industry, relationship, product/service, strategy, culture and a host of other factors. Given bidding sits under the umbrella of B2B, the nuances of the sales game still apply. Where bidding differs is that, normally, persuasion takes place on the page in limited/restricted word counts rather than over the phone, F2F, or through any other medium. Do you need to be the next Charles Dickens to be successful? No. But bid writing does require a specific, and disciplined writing skillset. You need to be able to convince and build confidence using a restricted number of words. You need to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of a question/specification requirement and provide clear solutions. You need to respond with the benefits of your service with examples that provide rationale, grounded, compelling evidence.

When I’m asked by my peers who’ve gone to University, “could you elaborate on what you do?”, the easiest elevator-pitch description I’ve found is; “You write how you’ll deliver a service, under similar conditions to a University business assignment, to win work”.

It seems strange that an occupation responsible for creating significant revenues in addition to sharing copious similarities with academic writing practices is never discussed in further education. To academics, business schools, Universities, I again ask, why?

Sam Darragh
Assistant Consultant

January 2020

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