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The term Bid Development Unit (BDU) has evolved over the years out of my concern to cut out all posturing, “bull shit”, and cover up in the stressful world of selling . Ultimately most serious professional firms have only one objective and that is to increase the number and size of the bids they win and that satisfy their core ambitions. That is the bottom line. Everything else that loosely comes under “Marketing” should be judged on the extent to which it helps achieve this .

Most Professional firms operate within relatively tight margins of profitability. They have little spare cash. Any expenditure therefore of time, or of cash, that is not focused on this bottom line is especially threatening to their success. So “Events”, “Historical Books”, “PR”, “Data Base development”, “Brochures”, “CRM” all should be challenged in terms of

  • is this the best way we can spend our scarce time and cash to improving the bottom line?
  • can we set tangible targets to govern the event, etc. and to check its degree of success?
  • is the activity focused on sectors of the market where our strengths, track record and passions are most in synch?
  • are we concentrating/prioritising our investment on decision makers most likely to use us, appreciate us, and pay us handsomely for our expertise?
  • are we maximising the use of our specialists?

The BDU may be one person, it may over time grow considerably to keep pace with the overall growth in the business. A £10m turnover firm will probably have a team of 6 staff. Whatever its size, it should be staffed with the brightest people, dedicated to the success of the business and to learning, to sharpening and evolving its skills. Numbers of people are no replacement for brains and commitment.

The BDU should build up a special network of its own supporters, advisors, and consultants. In particular it should have on call its own panels of friends within the firm’s target markets to provide advice on Communications, PR, CRM, and Sector development.

The BDU’s first priorities are, in order of importance

  • coordinate and improve the quality of bids made
  • agree generic content and implement specific improvement features
  • process and learn from client feedback
  • coordinate support and oversee the marketing cascade
  • coordinate and support the sectoral focus of the firm
  • establish an e market awareness campaign
  • establish and implement a 3 year PR campaign
  • appoint and coordinate a BDU Advice Group
  • coordinate, support and oversee a sector based awareness machine.


Yours ever,