Head of Bids

London (Central), London (Greater)
14 May 2018
21 May 2018
Role Classification
Other Professional
Contract Type
Experience Level
Head of Department

About Ashurst

Ashurst is a leading global law firm with a history spanning almost 200 years, and a clear strategy for future growth. Our in-depth understanding of our clients and commitment to providing exceptional standards of service have seen us become a trusted adviser to local and global corporates, financial institutions and governments in all areas of commercial law. To find out more, please click here.

In order to comply with regulatory and client requirements, Ashurst undertakes appropriate vetting of staff. When applicants accept a job offer, Ashurst, alongside a specialist provider, undertakes professional verification and background checks. These checks are undertaken only with the individual's consent, and in accordance with our legal and regulatory obligations.

Business area Business Development 

Role Head of Bids

Location London

Reporting to Global Director of Business Development & Marketing

Hours of work Monday to Friday, 9:30am - 5:30pm, may be required to work such hours as are
necessary to carry out your duties

Department/role overview

Ashurst is actively seeking to enhance its global bid capability, with the aim of winning a higher proportion of strategic opportunities more effectively and efficiently. The incoming Head of Bids will play a pivotal role in developing the firm's pitch processes, behaviours and resources in order to meet this objective.

As Head of Bids, you will lead Ashurst's global bid function and be responsible for the firm's pitch and proposal activity across its 25 offices. The Head of Bids will have scope to recruit, embed and develop a new Global Bid Team: a central team located across EMEA and APAC that will lead on or support the firm's most significant tenders (including panel tenders and high-value transactional/project bids). The Global Bid Team will form an integral part of Ashurst's wider global business development function and will be the centre of excellence for bidding.

On an ongoing basis, the Head of Bids role will involve strategic leadership and team management as well as the provision of expert "hands-on" support on the firm's most important bids, working directly with partners and practice/sector/office-business development managers at written proposal and pitch presentation phases to produce distinctive, compelling and client-focused bids.

As a senior member of the global business development & marketing function, the Head of Bids will report into the Global Director of Business Development & Marketing.

Main responsibilities

  • Build, develop and manage the Global Bid Team, which will be based across EMEA (including London and Glasgow) and APAC, and dedicated to leading and supporting on the firm's key tenders, such as global and multi-jurisdictional panel bids and other complex/high-value transactional/project tenders. Oversee workflow and operational efficiency of this team and deployment of individual team members to ensure bids are adequately resourced and effectively and efficiently managed end-to-end
  • Champion and embed bid best practice throughout the firm by owning, refining and enforcing Ashurst's pitch process and pitch methodology
  • Provide leadership and hands-on support on many of the firm's most important tenders, from RfP to presentation stage. This will involve: enforcing bid Go/No-Go discipline, assembling teams (client facing team and bid delivery team), chairing kick-off meetings, driving bid strategy, engaging with prospective clients at discovery meetings/calls, providing constructive challenge to partner and BD teams, contributing to pricing strategy, reviewing and editing proposals at draft stage, authoring aspects of proposals (such as the executive summary), and making best use of the firm's resources and relationships to ultimately achieve the strongest possible bid proposition
  • Provide regular coaching to partner and fee-earner teams and individuals in preparation for pitch presentation meetings and interviews. Chair run-throughs and facilitate Q&A practice sessions
  • Provide regular on-the-job training, learning opportunities and constructive guidance to junior Global Bid Team and business development team members to drive adherence to best practice and foster a culture of continuous improvement
  • Act as counsel to the wider business development team on tenders run by practice/sector/office teams, providing ideas, guidance and direct support where appropriate
  • Undertake post-pitch feedback interviews with clients and internal pitch debriefs with partners. Disseminate lessons learnt and identify and implement improvement actions
  • Deliver targeted pitch training to upskill partner, fee-earner and BD teams in bid best practice, in areas such as proposal writing, pitch presentation meetings and pitch process management
  • Oversee management of the firm's bid library to ensure base content is comprehensive, up-to-date and easily accessible for use by business development, fee-earner and support teams
  • Provide regular win rate and pitch activity reporting to senior management. Identify performance trends and present recommendations on actionable improvements
  • Proactively identify and exploit opportunities to cross-sell the firm's capabilities, including by identifying which distinctive aspects of the firm's offering should be included in any proposal
  • Identify ways to improve Ashurst's pre-bid pursuit activities, including through opportunity pipeline management and engagement with the firm's Client Relationship Managers (CRMs) and Client Relationship Partners (CRPs), who own key client accounts. Proactively provide pre-proposal advice to client teams to improve Ashurst's positioning ahead of formal tender windows
  • Use intelligence from the external environment and competitor activity to ensure Ashurst keeps pace with or outpaces the market in its pitching
  • Build and maintain effective relationships across the wider business development & marketing function, including at industry, practice and office level, as well as with partners, practice- and industry-heads and other business support teams (e.g. Innovation/Ashurst Advance, Finance, Compliance, Knowledge/Expertise, HR, IT/Information Security and Operations), so to have an effective network to call upon to contribute to bid efforts as needed

Risk and control: ensure all activities and duties are carried out in full compliance with our regulatory requirements and internal policies

Essential skills and experience

  • Considerable experience in a business development role, with substantial pitch leadership
    experience, including the successful end-to-end management of large-scale, multi-service line and multi-geography tenders (RfP to presentation)
  • Strong leadership capability and experience of line managing a centralised pitch/business
    development team
  • Deep expertise in customer-centric bidding and consultative selling techniques
  • Expert presentation coaching skills. Able to deliver upward feedback and constructive challenge to C-suite/partner-level stakeholders so as to increase team performance at client pitch meetings
  • Excellent organisational abilities. Experience of leading multiple large and complex tenders
    concurrently and managing team workflow to deliver quality proposals within rapid timeframes
  • Strong team player, with the ability to motivate team members to perform to a high standard, develop their skills and behave in accordance with the Ashurst values
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills. Able to successfully influence, challenge and persuade senior stakeholders, comfortable balancing differing opinions and able to adapt personal style and approach so as to successfully drive teams toward consensus
  • Substantial experience of procurement-led tender processes, including to government and other public sector clients (in the UK as well as internationally). Able to grasp complex RfPs quickly
  • Excellent writing and editorial skills, able to write persuasive, targeted and concise proposals that successfully articulate benefits, differentiators and win themes
  • Strategic thinker and commercially-minded. Strong understanding of price to win vs. profitability considerations and experience of contributing to price strategy and bid tactics
  • A demonstrable desire to innovate, improve and "raise the bar" with a track record of having successfully implemented change in bidding culture and having materially improved results
  • Keen eye for detail and design, able to improve visual impact and aesthetic of proposal materials
  • Qualified to degree level or equivalent

Desirable skills and experience

  • An understanding of legal practices, products and the legal competitive landscape, gained from previous experience within the legal sector
  • Experience of having worked in the professional services sector, a partnership or other complex, global environment
  • B2B or B2C sales experience, with evidence of succeeding in a revenue- and target-driven role
  • An understanding of different bid cultures and customers, with bid experience across geographies and to a variety of customer types (e.g. government, financial services, banks, funds, corporates)
  • Experience of building or developing a successful centralised support team from the ground up
  • Experience of managing geographically dispersed and/or virtual teams
  • APMP or PRINCE2-qualified, or holder of other relevant bid/business development/coaching
    qualifications or certifications (such as CIM, Miller Heiman, Shipley Solution Selling)

Our culture is shaped by our core values of Collaboration, Excellence, Innovation, Integrity and Accountability. They guide how we relate with each other, our clients, our behaviour

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