Kick-off meetings set the direction for a bid and allow the team to get together to share intelligence on the client and opportunity, while agreeing the strategy, timeframes and tasks. They are second only to the bid/no bid process for making sure your bid is a success. This post takes you through how to approach a kick-off meeting to make sure you get the most out of it.

Meeting outcomes

The outcomes that need to be secured from the kick-off meetings are to:

  • confirm the bid/no bid decision
  • share client intelligence, including project drivers and issues keeping the client up at night
  • agree your team’s USPs and how they can be developed into win themes – conversely how you can ‘ghost’ the opposition by neutralising their win themes (and not naming them, of course) 
  • agree the bid deliverables
  • agree the approach/methodology, articulating why this provides an enhanced offer
  • identify the experience that you will evidence in the bid
  • identify the proposed team, confirming requirements for experience, skills and availability
  • agree the bid programme
  • agree roles and responsibilities.

How to prepare for a kick-off meeting

It’s critical that everyone has read and understood the tender documents, so they come prepared to get into the detail of tender planning. Provide the tender documents and agenda well in advance and make your expectations clear.

Who to invite?

The key people involved in the bid need to be at this meeting:

  • senior sponsor and person responsible for signing the bid off
  • commercial lead
  • bid manager (they will probably be chairing)
  • technical experts responsible for developing the solution and providing the content
  • bid writer and bid coordinator (or however your bid team is structured)

Structure

Create a form that will capture the key points of the meeting. This form will outline the tender deliverables, so that you agree all of the actions, with timeframes. Don’t leave the room until you have all the answers you need! 

Bid action plan

When the bid kick-off form has been completed, it will form the action plan that will underpin the bid. This needs to be managed by the bid manager by regularly checking-in with contributors. 

How do you manage bid kick-off meetings? Do you have a formal process, or are things a bit less structured? What works best for you?