Senior Proposals Manager
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy is a leading international legal practice with a truly global presence. The firm operates at the forefront of the legal industry. Our deals and cases often make headline business news. With many of our partners acknowledged as leaders in their field, and with all our people demonstrating the highest levels of professionalism, we have a reputation for delivering excellence in all that we do.
We have developed a culture in which difference is positively valued, and our people are free to be themselves. We are in every sense one global team; supportive and collaborative, but also ambitious and driven. Our capacity to combine these qualities and provide a setting in which our people can thrive is what makes us different.
This role is part of the Marketing function’s central support team and contributes best practice insight and skills for the benefit of the firm’s network of offices.
The objective of this role is to improve Allen & Overy’s approach to pitching and as a result to increase the proposal success rate. We are looking for an experienced proposals professional to advance the firm’s approach to competitive pitching by:
o leading and advising on the most strategic and high-profile proposals
o being a source of best practice for the firm and, through coaching and training, improving the global BD team’s skills in this area
o continuously reviewing and improving the way we pitch and
o working with the Marketing technology team to ensure the successful use of technology to streamline the proposals process.
This is not a ‘start-up’ role; Allen & Overy has an agreed proposals process, comprehensive best practice resources available online, document templates, a soon-to-be-launched ‘proposals builder’ technology platform, a global experience database and brand guidelines. There are strong research and analysis resources, product and sector BD specialists, a CRM team, an in-house design and production team, an intranet team, a Systems team and pricing experts in Finance. However, we also want to take the opportunity of hiring a proposals manager to review and rethink the way we pitch.
– Director of Marketing, BD and Communications
– Global Heads of BD for practices and members of the Marketing function’s Coordination Group
– BD Sector heads
– BD teams within offices globally
– Partners and associates within offices with whom you are working on proposals
– Members of the Learning & Develop team
– The Marketing IT Systems team
– The Pricing team within the Finance function
Role and responsibilities
– To take responsibility for strategic and high-value proposals – driving the process, shaping the team, facilitating meetings, bringing best practice, agreeing strategy and messaging, drafting and reviewing content from a sales perspective and coaching pitch teams.
– To conduct win/loss reviews for major proposals, identify themes from win/loss reviews conducted across the firm and take action appropriately.
– To support partners and members of the BD team in their pitch activity by reviewing text and helping to shape messages – ie, acting as an internal consultant.
– To continue to use existing channels to share success stories and best practice across the marketing and BD team – eg, training, the intranet, etc.
– To work with the Finance team to provide guidance to help pitch teams make effective pricing decisions.
– To build relationships with procurement professionals and other external experts and bodies to keep on top of industry best practice.
– To link with training and development teams to ensure that current best practice in winning business and pitching is shared through our internal training programmes.
– To work closely with the Marketing Technology team to ensure the successful use of existing or new technology to streamline our processes.
– The successful candidate will need to:
– demonstrate credibility and first-rate influencing skills so that they are able to enthuse partners/fee earners and shape their approach to pitches (due to the breadth of this role and the size of the firm, the role-holder may not know the partners involved in the proposal and will have to build credibility from a ‘standing start’)
– be effective at managing virtual teams, involving and drawing on the resources and expertise of local BD teams
– network externally, for example by staying close to how our competitors and advanced organisations are approaching proposals so that our best practice remains at the forefront of the market and the firm continues to innovate
– show strong project-management skills so that they can lead the firm’s most important cross-team pitches successfully
– have good commercial understanding of the markets in which the firm operates and be prepared to get up-to-speed on relevant products or sectors quickly
– show sensitivity to local nuances in terms of proposals best practice, and be effective at building rapport with partners and BD professionals based across A&O’s network
– prioritise their time effectively and manage competing demands for support and advice
– enjoy working relatively autonomously and be comfortable with being a ‘swat team of one’, obviously linking in with local BD teams (for whom pitching is a large part of their roles) and drawing on other central resources.
Who we are looking for
– Five years plus experience of business development in a professional services environment, including a credible track-record of leading, advising on and winning pitches.
– Thrives on deadlines with an ability to flex agreed processes appropriately to meet tight timeframes.
– Strong commercial knowledge – will invest time in understanding buying rationale, the benefits of A&O’s capabilities and A&O’s competitive positioning.
– First-rate interpersonal skills and presence – can connect with, drive, challenge and coach partners and lead virtual teams.
– Superb drafting skills – can write persuasive text that is ‘on brand’.
– Creativity – is able to think of and deliver new ways to differentiate the firm during the proposals process.
– People-management experience is desirable.
– Enthusiasm and drive in an often pressured environment.
– Strong project-management skills – communicating actions, progress and concerns promptly and regularly.
– Excellent attention to detail.
This role will suit someone who enjoys (1) the thrill of winning work in competitive situations, working closely with partners and other BD professionals and (2) driving change through a global business and seeing the overall quality of the firm’s pitching improve.