At Winning Tenders, we take great pride in providing expert advice and services to those who are seeking professional bid writing and tender support and guidance.
Our team love what they do so we decided to delve into their individual worlds in our new series of team interviews, offering practical advice, tips, and insight as well as a flavour for who they are outside of their professional lives.
This month, we’ve interviewed Ed Hyland, Senior Bid Manager, green-fingered family man, and microbrewery owner.
Please tell us a little about your role and how you landed on it as a career path?
I am the Senior Bid Manager for Winning Tenders.*
I’m responsible for identifying the appropriate Writer, Reviewer, and Quality Assessor for each piece of work that we are invited to quote upon. Once the client has agreed the quote, I ensure that the work gets completed on time and to the highest possible standard. I work with the Writer, Reviewer, Assessor, client and our back office team to achieve this.
*I met Ian Smith (Founder of Winning Tenders) when I first moved back to Devon about 7 years ago. After a short gap when I was working on renovating our house, I started working for Winning Tenders as a freelancer. Then nearly three years ago Ian started to expand the business with a new website, sales director and more affiliates. Ian offered me the Senior Bid Manager role. It was an excellent opportunity for me but also gave me the security of a full-time role as my wife was expecting a baby.
I moved to Oxford from London (to be with my now wife) and without any specific qualifications I got a Customer Service role for an Employee Assistance provider. After a year, an Account Management role came up – which I didn’t get. However, they did offer me the Proposal Co-ordinator role which was seen as the first step between the Operations and Sales departments. As I knew how the operations ran, it was a good fit and I have been writing ever since. That was 13 years ago.
What industries do you specialise in?
When I first started working for Ian, we used to tackle tenders from any sector as the principles of tendering remain the same regardless of industry. However, since we now have sector experts, I tend to specialise in writing and reviewing Healthcare, Catering, Furniture, and Taxi tenders.
What’s your favourite part of the job and why?
From the writing perspective, I really enjoy understanding how an organisation works, regardless of sector, and how they deliver what their customers want. It teaches you how the world works.
I very much enjoy working with all of our team and matching their expertise to our clients. Developing the relationships with our Writers is important and is something I get a lot out of – and I hope that they enjoy working with us too.
Do you have any advice for those looking to do what you do?
You need to enjoy writing but do book yourself on a course. There is an art to writing compelling prose whilst answering a buyer’s question.
How would you identify an organisation’s USP?
You firstly need to read around the industry to understand what competitors are doing.
Then you need to really ‘interview’ your client. Some will know what their USP is, but you may need to work hard to find what they do that no-one else does.
Sometimes there may not be a USP – in which case you will need to focus on their Points of Differentiation instead – how they do what everyone else does – but better.
How do you wind down after a hard day’s work?
I have two very active boys and we have a 2-acre field to run around in and we rear pigs and chickens. There is an apple orchard, so we tend to spend a lot of time there too. We also have a tent up in the Summer for camping which is great fun.
Do you have any hobbies, or what do you like doing in your spare time?
I like brewing beer and I have just bought a microbrewery. I am trying to re-write a book, but it is slow progress as sometimes it feels like a busman’s holiday! I am a Trust Member at Exeter City FC and enjoy most sports. I am Chair of the local gardening club and try to get involved with the local village events. I have completed a LANTRA Dry Stone Walling course but sadly not done much with it.
What’s your top tip for creating work/life harmony?
Work out when you are at your most productive and try and work accordingly. I am better at 8am, 10am, 6pm and 10pm. We are deadline-driven so sometimes it is not always possible to work to these times. I am lucky in that I am given the opportunity to work around family time so I can do the school run and bedtime and then work when the kids are asleep.
What’s your top tip in your field?
Take time to understand your client, follow the instructions and make sure you answer the question with reference to the buyer’s specification. Focus on ‘Features and Benefits’ and use the ‘so what’ approach – you need to explain what benefit your previous statement offers the buyer. You are trying to create a document which the evaluator can take to their decision makers and make it easy for them to select your client. Removing risk to the buyer of transferring from an incumbent to your client is vital.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
We are always looking for new Writers. Winning Tenders is a great place to work – and I would be pleased to talk to anyone who is interested in learning more about us.