With the announcement of scientists creating the first ‘living robots’ this past week it seems topical to ask, what does this mean for bid-writers?
Whilst we’ve still got several decades before we start to see Sophia, the humanoid robot, at most major high street retailers, bid writing software tools are becoming more common. Pioneering development is bid library/content library-based software tools that automatically assign boilerplate content to respond to questions. In their current infant state, they’re not incredibly useful. Like all software-based writing solutions, ‘automated’ libraries still require a large element of manual input. But, given time, they’ll become competent and self-learning so that the role of the bid writer will be redundant! Or will it?
Whilst automated bid writing tools might sound appealing, in truth, their utility will forever remain capped. An automated library is only as good as the content it’s given. In time, software will be able to improve the basics (e.g. sentence structure) and pull data from sources for examples and evidence (e.g. KPI reports/case studies) on a writers’ behalf, but where automated libraries fall down is in tailoring to the nuances of the client requirement. Automated software may enter a level of sophistication where it’ll be able to identify and pull key terminology and requirements from the specification, but it’ll never be able to weave in relationship/ win themes and a tailored response strategy based on pre-engagement knowledge. And as we all know, tailoring your response based on pre-engagement is a crucial step to ensure you stand the best chance of winning work. This is sales 101.
So, whilst the ‘automated bid response’ trend may appear appealing, it completely fails to understand the bottom-half of the iceberg. In trading quality output for efficiency, bid managers will inherently sacrifice win rates, which will lead to knock-on effects, such as reputational damages. Efficiency is often treated as always a good thing when in truth efficiency should only be treated as a means for improved output. Chasing efficiency for the sake of it, without considering the importance of the existing inputs to the bid process, will be corrosive to what you’re trying to achieve. This is the risk in choosing a heavily automated software approach to bid writing, and why the bid writer will live in harmony alongside our looming robotic overlords.