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Clare Abbott – BWL Group’s Senior Bid Writer

Clare Abbott – BWL Group’s Senior Bid Writer

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Meet Clare Abbott, a Senior Bid Writer at BWL Group since August 2021. Working remotely from Tamworth, she balances complex projects with home life, indulging in choral singing, cosplay, and cooking.

By Clare Abbott, Senior Bid Writer at BWL Group

How long have you worked at BWL Group?

I started working at BWL Group in August 2021.

Can you describe your role within the Professional Bid Services team at BWL Group?

As a Senior Bid Writer, I work collaboratively with clients to prepare high quality tender submissions. This involves working with the client’s SMEs to gather the information required to score the highest possible marks and ensuring the responses are reflective not just of the client, but of the buying organisation. I also support our Commercial Business Director with sales enquiries by reviewing and preparing quotes and contacting potential new clients with contract notices.

I have been working as a Bid Manager for one of our clients for over six months, overseeing bids for their Landscape Construction team to cover maternity leave. As well as managing multiple bids simultaneously, I have managed an apprentice training to become a Bid Coordinator and I also delegate workloads to individuals across the client’s organisation.

Where do you work from for the majority of the working week?

I work from home in Tamworth, but I meet up with my nearby colleagues every other month or so for lunch and a catch up. I have worked at my parents’ home in Leicester before for a change of scene and to spend some time with their dogs!

How do you start your day, and how does it set the tone for what follows?

I have been looking after my parents’ dogs since the New Year, so I start off my day by taking them for a walk, followed by some stretch exercises for my back. These help to establish a good mindset for the day, especially when I have a particularly busy day ahead.

When I’ve logged onto my laptop, I check my diary for any meetings and then block out time in my calendar for specific tasks (such as storyboarding and writing responses, following up sales enquiries). This ensures I manage my time effectively, especially when working to tight deadlines. I also like to read LinkedIn’s Daily Rundown before starting work, to understand the main news and hot topics.

What is on your agenda for today?

I will be leading the weekly bid management call for the Landscape Construction team this morning, which will involve reviewing new bids and conducting the company’s qualification process. The call will also present the opportunity to review existing bids, prioritise workloads, and clearly manage expectations with the Landscape Construction team and Director of Bid Management. Following this call, I will arrange kick off calls for bids which are qualified in, withdraw interest on tender portals for no bids, and delegate responses where required.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job, and how do you navigate them?

Whilst time management is one of my strengths, it can be challenging when it comes to complex bids where a lot of SMEs are involved. I find it important to agree timelines with clients whilst enabling flexibility where possible. Arranging regular catch up/progress calls is also important for monitoring time management across a team.

What tools or processes/approaches do you rely on most in your day-to-day work?

I create bid plans for all projects, regardless of size and value, to ensure all tender return requirements are logged and allocated. The bid plans enable me to keep track of all stages, including storyboarding, SME calls, drafting, reviewing, and finalising responses for submission. I also rely on collaborative and partnership working with my colleagues and clients on a daily basis, which facilitates the smooth running of projects.

How do you best collaborate with other team members?

With being a remote employee, I keep in contact with my colleagues via Microsoft Teams. We have team catch ups on Monday and Fridays which presents the opportunity for us to raise any queries/issues and share any lessons learnt from working on bids.

How do you best collaborate with clients?

Working flexibly is the best way to collaborate with clients, whilst clearly setting and communicating expectations. I primarily use Microsoft Teams to communicate with clients, but I will use whichever form of communication suits them best. I also consider myself to be empathetic, which clients value as we are all juggling the pressures of work and life.

How do you balance work with home life?

Having a separate office space at home and pursuing my interests outside of work, such as singing and cooking, really helps with work/life balance. I also find sticking to my morning routine helps to distinguish between work and home life, especially with working from home full-time.

Can you share a recent success story or a project you’re particularly proud of?

I have been working closely with one of our FM contractors since October 2022 to support their ambitious growth strategy. I was particularly proud when our client, an SME based in Rochester, won a £5m school cleaning contract for eight schools across Kent. It’s the largest contract they have won to date.

What do you find most rewarding about working in bidding?

I find it very rewarding when we receive positive feedback from our clients and when they return to us for support with future bids. It is satisfying to build relationships and support clients in their bidding journeys.

How do you balance the pressures of tight deadlines against the need for high-quality work?

Organisation is definitely a key skill in bidding. I keep track of all deadlines in my calendar and allocate time to complete responses to a high-quality standard. I also clearly communicate timescales for completing work to clients.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in bidding?

Working in bidding requires the ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines, therefore having the capabilities to maintain composure and manage stress is very important. You also need to be willing to work flexibly, as deadlines can change and clarifications from buyers can impact ongoing bids.

You also need a passion for writing and research. One of my favourite things about working for a bid consultancy is having the opportunity to complete a variety of bids. Research plays a huge role in understanding the challenges and nuances of different industries and applying this to your bid writing.

If you could skip back 10 years in your career, what advice would you give to yourself?

I was still at university 10 years ago however, I wish I knew about bidding earlier! I hadn’t come across bidding as a career whilst in education and I only found out about it by chance when I applied for a graduate bid writing role in April 2018. Moving into bidding is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career, but I certainly don’t regret the experience I gained in my previous roles in copywriting and PR.

What is your favourite thing to do outside of work?

My favourite hobby outside of work is choral singing, which I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. I sing with a local choir and I’m a member of the choir’s committee, leading the fundraising group to raise money by arranging events and requesting sponsorship from local businesses. Fundraising events have included a car boot sale, running a tombola at a local fair, and a quiz night. I also manage the choir rehearsal and concert raffles, asking for donations from choir members, friends, and businesses.

I’m a big fan of Japanese anime and manga; before you ask, I prefer to watch anime in Japanese with English subtitles. I also enjoy cosplaying at conventions (i.e., dressing up as my favourite characters) and buying plenty of merchandise!


You can read more about Clare’s professional experience on our website here.

If you’d like to know more about our services our team offers, please contact us, and we’ll be in touch. Alternatively, email us at enquires@bwlgroup.co.uk.

 

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