Thursday 15 September 2016, Bristol

Sibby Smith is a Senior Consultant at AECOM, a Fortune 500 multi-national engineering business that prides itself on ‘doing procurement differently’.

The attendees heard how, as part of AECOM’s Procurement Advisory Service (PAS), they teamed with colleagues and a number of partner organisations to bid on the Goods and Equipment Procurement Service for the Department for International Development. Sibby recounted how they set a strategy to win, the importance of collaboration during the bid, why early engagement is more important than tendering, common mistakes and how to avoid them, and how to follow through after a bid is won.

Themes for the session were:

  1. Getting the firm on board and using your multi-disciplinary team to your advantage, including Early Stakeholder Engagement and how to identify your best supporters:
  • Responsible
    The individuals who actually complete the task, the “worker bees”
    These people are responsible for action or implementation
  • Accountable
    The individual who is ultimately responsible for the task, including veto power
  • Consulted
    The individuals to be consulted prior to a final decision or action
    This incorporates two-way communication
  • Informed
    The individuals who need to be informed after a decision or action is taken
    This incorporates one-way communication

Prescriptive bid guidelines mean that you have to…

  • LOOK at each question thoroughly
  • UNDERSTAND what you need to do to win the points
  • EVEN if it means cutting the bits you like
  • BOTTOM LINE: it doesn’t matter what you like, what matters is what your client likes so…


  1. Top 5 tips for submitting a winning bid
  2. Common Mistakes and how to avoid them – including avoiding “bingo words” and not irritating your client by padding out your bid with irrelevant “bunce” that can easily be found elsewhere
  3. Critical Elements of the Tender Document – summarising with keeping focus on the client
  1. Give your Client a Consistent Voice…Your Voice
  2. Speak the Language of your Customer… Anyone ever heard the word “inculcate”…?
  3. Speak your language too… And that of the market
  4. Give a little EXTRA… Use visuals to help understanding of complex processes
  5. Use plain English… Make your sentences short.

Sibby gave us some useful reminders and insights into how to approach each bid with a fresh style and clearly demonstrate what makes our firm different to the benefit of our clients.  

Claire Fowler
Head of Communications (& Partnerships), The BD Consultancy
Regional Director, PM Forum South West