Bid & New Business Manager

Experience level: Advanced
Term: Permanent
Working hours: Full-time
Team: BD & Marketing
Location: Flexible, anticipated to be Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Nottingham, Southampton.
The firm

A leading UK law firm with a network of offices from the South Coast to Scotland, working together as one national team. An innovative practice and the first top 100 law firm to achieve “Gold Standard” Investors in People, our values and culture are not just words on our website but are the heartbeat of the firm. The lack of barriers between departments, a real lack of hierarchy, zero tolerance for arrogance and pomposity makes Shoosmiths a fantastic place to work. The firm is growing and ambitious and has a strong brand proposition around the client experience and working more closely with clients to help them deliver their business needs.

Shoosmiths is National Law Firm of the Year, Legal Business Awards 2018.

The team

Shoosmiths’ Business Development team has a strong focus on client development and working with clients to ensure we provide the best possible service, in line with their business goals and aims. Our Bid and New Business team is part of our wider Relationship function as we recognise that taking a relationship-focused approach to winning new work is essential. We are not a team who responds to RFPs and ITTs, going through the motions with standard text and a generic approach. We apply a very creative, tailored approach to winning new work, whether this is for an existing client or a target relationship.

The role is closely aligned with the client relationship management (CRM) and wider BD function at Shoosmiths, enabling the role to have ready access to, and a first-hand understanding of, client needs, best practice and innovations in the business. Client listening is central to the BD team and the Relationship Managers (Bids and CRM) regularly meet with clients to glean feedback, whether that is relevant to a bid, a specific project or the overall client relationship. We use this information to ensure we have the best examples to use in Bids, identify areas we can improve and look for where we should be innovating.

You will lead on new business opportunities, ranging from formal tenders to informal opportunities, working with the Bid and Client Partners leading the opportunity, as well as other Partners and key stakeholders . You will be expected to generate ideas and creative flair that will set our bid apart from other law firms, drawing on intel about the client and key knowledge about the firm and the clients we work with. You will report into the Senior Bid Manager but will work closely with the wider Relationship team. We are a non-hierarchical team and encourage as much cross-team ideas development as possible – tapping into the collective team is crucial to ensure we are making the most compelling proposition we can.

If you feel constrained in your current role or too far away from the client interface to make your bids and proposals as compelling as they could be, this could be the role for you.

Main responsibilities
  • Jointly with relevant senior Partners, evaluate the commercial viability of formal Bid opportunities and make justified recommendations whether to pursue or not in relation to return on investment. We have a “Bidding to Win” process which means the key stakeholders are involved in these evaluation opportunities to ensure we have senior support and input for these decisions.
  • Advise partners on the recommended route to responding to formal and informal Bid opportunities (including coaching on recommended DIY routes).
  • Where a Bid is BD supported, offer a full project management support to Bid Partners including scoping meetings with the client, working closely with the client service team to develop a winning proposition, reviewing research and client intelligence to help shape ideas tailored to the clients’ business/goals, assuming a lead role on drafting BD questions, taking responsibility for portal upload and submission and managing internal and external deadlines.
  • On existing client re-tenders, manage the bid process working closely with the client relationship manager, to ensure the bid reflects the latest specific information of relevance to that client.
  • Construct creative win strategies in conjunction with the Bid Partner and wider BD, to convince a client to use Shoosmiths, including new approaches and innovations from latest best practice. Always using examples from clients to evidence the work we do and to bring the bid to life.
  • Draft convincing copy to a very high standard – each bid is written from a bespoke perspective, rather than ‘copy and paste’.
  • Conduct debriefs on Bids that are successful and unsuccessful and translate ‘lessons learned’ into practical guidance for the wider partnership to grow the Bid win rate. These learnings are shared on a bi-monthly basis with the firms’ Client Forum (made up of the CEO, Chairman, Divisional Heads, Directors and key members of BD).
  • Working with Relationship team colleagues, provide support and coaching to Partners on successful Bids ensuring the right approach is taken to on-boarding following a bid win and that the Bid proposition and promises are delivered post Bid.
  • Work with others in BD to coach Partners to help promote the client-centric focus for growth.
  • Work with BD colleagues to ensure case studies are grouped and banked.
  • Identify target relationships that can be tracked to lead to a bidding opportunity.
  • Conduct non-lawyer client listening with the firm’s clients and contacts to deepen commercial insights into what clients want, and their un-met needs. This may include ad hoc client listening or more specific buying group listening projects.
  • Take initiative to develop new and innovative tools/pricing approaches (working with Finance function) to improve and evolve the Shoosmiths client experience.
  • Maintain Bid Record with qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Proactively suggest and obtain new information for the ‘self service’ bid portal and identify precedent type material.
  • Organise and chair presentation run-throughs, providing critical challenge to the presentation team
  • Assist with project work as required, which may include support on divisional strategies, sector development and firm-wide development initiatives.

Attend selected external seminars relevant to this role and report back to the wider team with findings.

Skills and qualifications
  • Relevant degree or CIM qualification preferred.
  • A track record of success in managing and delivering effective and winning Bids within a professional services environment.
  • Some CRM experience would be ideal to demonstrate wider understanding of the client development approach.
  • Commercial nous and an ability to see things from the client’s point of view.
  • High level of written communication with experience of producing Bids and proposals.
  • Collaborative worker, keen to work with others in the team and to take a collective approach.
  • Self-starter who creates confidence amongst colleagues and builds co-operative and inclusive working arrangements.
  • Tenacity and patience to move relationships forward over a longer time scale.
  • Personal credibility and confidence to be able to convince partners of the best course of action.
  • An excellent communicator who is able to lead and direct team meetings and influence others.

The ability to deliver on promises, meet deadlines, prioritise workloads and manage multiple projects.

Equal opportunities

Shoosmiths is a committed Equal Opportunities employer promoting equality of opportunity. This means that everyone who either applies to or works for the firm is treated equally, whatever their gender, age, ethnic origin, nationality, marital status, disability, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.